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Steve Guttenberg compares subjective and objective reviews

confucius_zero

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#1

I found his points interesting. However, I understand objective measurements tend to apply to more use cases than subjective (one setup). What are your thoughts?
 

amirm

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#2
My thought is that he needs to study the science a bit :). Dr. Sean Olive tested reviewers among other classes of listeners to see how good their acuity is to speaker frequency response impairments. This is how poorly they did:
Audio Reviewers.PNG


Audio sales people did better than them for heaven's sake!

He should download Harman's How To Listen software, see how poorly he does now, and keep running it until he gets trained.

His point about objective speaker measurements is nonsense of course. Correctly measured speaker data (combination of direct and indirect sound) is highly predictive of listener preference. Correlation is close to 90% from what I recall.

All of this has been studied and published for decades now. How audio reviewers in this day and age are not aware of this research is beyond me. Have him read Dr. Toole's book for heaven's sake instead of making daily videos spreading myths about sound reproduction.
 

amirm

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#3
The other myth here is that we all have different preferences (hence his comment on who to listen to). That is just not so when we test speakers blind. Here again is Harman's research and preference for four speakers among different groups of listeners:

Harman Preferences.png


Note that the relative scoring of each speaker remains the same no matter which group is selected.

HARman trained listeners are more picky but have the same order preference that reviewers and academics had as I have highlighted.
 

RayDunzl

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#4

RayDunzl

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#6
That's a given.

Now, get back to work on the ENOG2 review (whatever that is)
 
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#7
My understanding is that he was also an audio salesperson. I will have to read up on how a person gets trained.
 

amirm

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#8
My understanding is that he was also an audio salesperson. I will have to read up on how a person gets trained.
I attended a session of the same test with Dr. Olive at Harman together with a bunch of other audio dealers. The test starts with low difficulty and keeps going up. The dealers could not go past level 2 or 3. I went up to level 6 or 7 and then gave up. Dr. Olive kept going as if there was no difficulty. He said minimum required for their trained listeners was level 12 I think.

Here is the software and article by the way: http://harmanhowtolisten.blogspot.com/
 

BurritoJustice

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#10
That's a given.

Now, get back to work on the ENOG2 review (whatever that is)
I really hope it measures well considering the absolute flood of buyers from ZeosPantera's review. He unequivocally recommended it and even got a $20 discount code for his patrons.

I can't see the appeal over the SU-8 personally, it has to be substantially better performing to make up for the clunky connector placement (front to back, really?) and the lack of a remote or USB.
 

cjfrbw

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#13
This is very encouraging, because at the lowest level of hearing competence, I am a shoo in for speaker reviewing! And I thought I had no potential.
 

solderdude

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#14
My thought is that he needs to study the science a bit :). Dr. Sean Olive tested reviewers among other classes of listeners to see how good their acuity is to speaker frequency response impairments. This is how poorly they did:
View attachment 19865

Audio sales people did better than them for heaven's sake!
Where are the audiophiles in this graph (the ones that trust their ears) ?
I suppose they would see themselves as 'better than trained'.
Noticing that most regurgitate what reviewers say chances are they are closer to the reviewers ?
 

Cosmik

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#15
Ironically, by not understanding that the listener separates the sound of the speaker from that of the room, he undermines his own reviewing capabilities. He mistakenly says "the room affects the sound of the speaker", and suspects that because his reviews are limited to a certain room and speaker placement this limits their applicability. I think he is being overly pessimistic about that.

What is more pertinent is that a compact two-way, ported passive speaker can only ever achieve a certain level of fidelity, and this asymptote is approached when the speaker is designed competently. The reviewer's most important task is merely to suggest whether such a speaker is competently designed or not.

What will never happen is that such a speaker will approach the sound of a competently designed large three-way speaker. Or one that incorporates DSP and active amplification. The 'legacy' two-way speaker cannot hit some hitherto unknown singularity in the passive, ported two-way permutation space that suddenly transforms it into the perfect high fidelity transducer, so reviewers shouldn't use language that suggests it does.

The speaker's design is what tells you most about how it will sound, and there is no point in approaching a 'legacy' configuration as a blank sheet of paper where 'anything could happen'. It can't; it can only be asymptotic to a certain level of performance.

Oh, and reviewers should never resort to saying that a speaker is 'fun' as a euphemism for crap. Just say it's crap.
 

Dialectic

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#16
Why do audio reviewers always seem to have atrocious, either super-reflective (look at the listening rooms of the folks who review for 6moons) or super-cramped rooms (Fremer, Guttenberg et al.) in which either the speaker or listener's back is next to a wall? My room is bad, but it's not as bad as those rooms.

Perhaps some of us on ASR can start producing videos to push back against this misinformation.
 
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Dialectic

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#18

Dialectic

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#20
Really? Is there any specific reason for that?
Yes. Some have said it's because MLs were not designed for mono listening in the dead-ish spinorama environment, which allegedly favors box speakers with more uniform off-axis response.
 
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