Speaker Shootout - Two of the Most Accurate and Well Reviewed Speakers Ever Made

Feb 8, 2011
18,730
0
36
Vancouver Island, B.C. Canada
#1
Start here, or go to page 4

The thread is only less than four pages long (just over hundred posts: 106 @ this moment), and it's enough to be rewarding. Some of the posters need no introduction.
Anyway, I know that all the highly calibrated high end audio members here will benefit from it, or I wouldn't even bother.

Have fun reading; it's reaffirming, just in line with who we are.
_____

Post #99
Post #100
 
Last edited:

wisnon

Active Member
Dec 12, 2011
2,483
6
38
#3
Start here, or go to page 4

The thread is only less than four pages long (just over hundred posts: 106 @ this moment), and it's enough to be rewarding. Some of the posters need no introduction.
Anyway, I know that all the highly calibrated high end audio members here will benefit from it, or I wouldn't even bother.

Have fun reading; it's reaffirming, just in line with who we are.
_____

Post #99
Post #100
Neither of these bowled me over at shows when I heard 'em.
 

wisnon

Active Member
Dec 12, 2011
2,483
6
38
#6
You need to install them in your own salon (living room) within your own walls to appreciate their accuracy. Shows are just for showing. :b
Why would I do that for these as opposed to others which have bowled me over at shows?
 
Feb 8, 2011
18,730
0
36
Vancouver Island, B.C. Canada
#7
Why would I do that for these as opposed to others which have bowled me over at shows?
I wasn't 100% serious. Maybe some speakers are better @ shows, maybe the ones that sound less than ideal perform better in private homes, maybe the ones that are attractively "sound" @ shows excel even better @ home, maybe the two speakers in question here are questionable in their overall performance, maybe the results don't reflect reality, maybe there are better and more affordable speakers, maybe the more elaborate speakers with years of scientific research are much much better, and cost much more too, or less, maybe life is non-stop playing music.
 

wisnon

Active Member
Dec 12, 2011
2,483
6
38
#8
I wasn't 100% serious. Maybe some speakers are better @ shows, maybe the ones that sound less than ideal perform better in private homes, maybe the ones that are attractively "sound" @ shows excel even better @ home, maybe the two speakers in question here are questionable in their overall performance, maybe the results don't reflect reality, maybe there are better and more affordable speakers, maybe the more elaborate speakers with years of scientific research are much much better, and cost much more too, or less, maybe life is non-stop playing music.
Lotta maybes there. My point is if it does no impress at a show, it highly unlikely that I or most people would take things further unless there are other compelling reasons to do so.
 
May 30, 2010
13,957
31
48
Portugal
#9
(...) Anyway, I know that all the highly calibrated high end audio members here will benefit from it, or I wouldn't even bother. (...)
Sorry Bob, but IMHO it is essentially a remake of the classical blind versus sighted listening thread, with all the well worn-out arguments. It deals with preference established in conditions that are not used and not agreed by most audiophiles. Probably interesting for many people, but not my cup of tea.
 

es347

VIP/Donor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
1,565
1
38
Midwest fly over state..
#11
..THE two most accurate speakers? Uh, ok..
 
#12
Sorry Bob, but IMHO it is essentially a remake of the classical blind versus sighted listening thread, with all the well worn-out arguments. It deals with preference established in conditions that are not used and not agreed by most audiophiles. Probably interesting for many people, but not my cup of tea.
I never said anything to dispel any methodology in the archipelago of audio revisions, Francisco.

It's a circle of friends, music lovers, audio reviewers agreeing with each other on aspects of mutual understanding and listening; just like here with another circle of friends (some common ones from both circles), music lovers, audiophiles, high end experienced audio aficionados and some very high heeled ones.

Everything is relatively important...up to the minutiae details. There is no sex, no orgasm, no political manoeuvre, no religious faith, no violent outside influence.
The tools are our ears and brain. I just posted a short thread from another forum with other members known and less unknown; the title says it clearly well and no one, I mean no one has to object or agree with any of it, but we're all free to comment and take our side. And yes it's all deja vu over again, but what is not in this hobby, unless a miracle in a new technology about improvement on music recordings analogue and digitally created, ...some' like that. ...Say the exceptional performance of the artists playing and the magic of recording them. It is even mentioned in part in that link I provided, for anyone to read.

I certainly agree with you that personal preference in music listening has no absolute reference. I like smooth and roll off @ the extreme end. I like control of the music instruments by the master players, I like melodies that have a strong physical touch with my soul, I like chords that vibrate my Blues emotions from the blood pumping through my veins and down to my feet.
I pick the speakers that can do that irregardless of their tonal characteristics and measured harmonics. ...On and off axis of my collar bone skeleton structure and biological composition of my central nervous system.

:b It's just music moving, even silent music like a silent car (Tesla).
 
#13

Mark Seaton

WBF Technical Expert (Speaker & Acoustics)
May 21, 2010
319
2
18
42
Chicago, IL
www.seatonsound.net
#14
..THE two most accurate speakers? Uh, ok..
When you invest a ton of time into sorting out a metric to quantify the results you are after, it would only make sense that speakers produced from the company following the definition of the metric might align rather well with it. Of course the little JBL LSR 305 is rather accurate by that measure as well. Realize the host also is a big proponent and seller of the Revel and JBL Synthesis products, and has gotten into more than his share of the kool-aid.

To be fair, the metrics they defined make for a very good indicator with regards to frequency response, power response, and overall directivity (on vs off axis performance). Speakers without huge irregularities in the 3+ plots of their overall behavior will be much easier to set up in real listening spaces. If anyone followed the link to the later pages of the thread, Floyd Toole also added that elimination of resonances is of top priority, and reducing distortion is the goal, but simple numeric reduction of THD doesn't always correlate to sonic improvement. His acknowledgement of distortion came in this statement in the linked thread: "the only meaningful number is zero. The closer to zero the better, but the number itself is not a reliable indicator of audibility." I would argue we know a lot more about what is and is not audible than he is acknowledging. Wolfgang Klippel has moved forward our understanding and quantification of driver non-linearity as much as Harman's loudspeaker metric has for complete speaker, spectral balance preference.

As a speaker designer I see the "spin-o-rama" and overall metric as only one part of many important qualities in a speaker. Remember Floyd Toole and his team are first researchers, not product designers. They are searching for what they can prove statistically. Anyone with a solid background in professional acoustics should find none of their results to be startling nor revolutionary. The hi-fi world does have a long history of only caring about the forward 30-60 degree cone of sound, often to its own detriment. Their research provides very good affirmation of why the full sphere of sound should be considered in a speaker's design. I'll be the first to get into a heated debate with the absurd concept that you need a million dollar anechoic chamber to be able to design a speaker that performs well in these regards. You do need to understand core acoustic concepts along with finer details of acoustic measurement techniques.

IMO, the more interesting bit will be to hear listener feedback on the subjective differences of two speakers that have significantly different directivity, where the wide horn of the M2 greatly reduces the energy sprayed 90 deg from the speaker's axis and especially in the rear hemisphere. I've set up a few home theaters with M2's, and they are a very capable speaker. They might not fit everyone's preferences, but they are very well designed and executed.
 

DaveC

[Industry Expert]
Nov 16, 2014
2,178
0
36
#15
When you invest a ton of time into sorting out a metric to quantify the results you are after, it would only make sense that speakers produced from the company following the definition of the metric might align rather well with it. Of course the little JBL LSR 305 is rather accurate by that measure as well. Realize the host also is a big proponent and seller of the Revel and JBL Synthesis products, and has gotten into more than his share of the kool-aid.

To be fair, the metrics they defined make for a very good indicator with regards to frequency response, power response, and overall directivity (on vs off axis performance). Speakers without huge irregularities in the 3+ plots of their overall behavior will be much easier to set up in real listening spaces. If anyone followed the link to the later pages of the thread, Floyd Toole also added that elimination of resonances is of top priority, and reducing distortion is the goal, but simple numeric reduction of THD doesn't always correlate to sonic improvement. His acknowledgement of distortion came in this statement in the linked thread: "the only meaningful number is zero. The closer to zero the better, but the number itself is not a reliable indicator of audibility." I would argue we know a lot more about what is and is not audible than he is acknowledging. Wolfgang Klippel has moved forward our understanding and quantification of driver non-linearity as much as Harman's loudspeaker metric has for complete speaker, spectral balance preference.

As a speaker designer I see the "spin-o-rama" and overall metric as only one part of many important qualities in a speaker. Remember Floyd Toole and his team are first researchers, not product designers. They are searching for what they can prove statistically. Anyone with a solid background in professional acoustics should find none of their results to be startling nor revolutionary. The hi-fi world does have a long history of only caring about the forward 30-60 degree cone of sound, often to its own detriment. Their research provides very good affirmation of why the full sphere of sound should be considered in a speaker's design. I'll be the first to get into a heated debate with the absurd concept that you need a million dollar anechoic chamber to be able to design a speaker that performs well in these regards. You do need to understand core acoustic concepts along with finer details of acoustic measurement techniques.

IMO, the more interesting bit will be to hear listener feedback on the subjective differences of two speakers that have significantly different directivity, where the wide horn of the M2 greatly reduces the energy sprayed 90 deg from the speaker's axis and especially in the rear hemisphere. I've set up a few home theaters with M2's, and they are a very capable speaker. They might not fit everyone's preferences, but they are very well designed and executed.
I'd agree with this.

As much as I value Floyd and Harman's contributions I see them as basic design parameters we should pay attention to, but I disagree with some of their testing methods/design and thus results as I don't feel like they take enough into account. Examples are testing ML speakers in the same space and with the same amps as other speakers, they are a significantly different design that needs different acoustic space and amplification to optimize their performance. And I don't feel like listener acclimation is sufficiently accounted for in preference testing of dispersion either, the stated result of a preference for significant 1st reflections is a result of confounding by listener acclimation. If this was taken into account the improved sense of immersion provided by eliminating 1st reflections is what would have been preferred. But this assumes a system capable of reproducing spatial cues in the recording and TBH this is actually impossible to achieve properly using some of the equipment they use for testing, another confounding variable.

One thing I appreciate is the forthright discussion on subjects like phase and cabinet resonances that seem to have taken over HiFi marketing literature lately and is mostly complete BS.
 

cjfrbw

Active Member
Apr 20, 2010
2,145
1
38
Pleasanton, CA
#17
I always thought that traditional mastering suites wanted speakers that were TOO revealing i.e. had a bit of a raspish midrange and upper midrange bump i.e. the Yamaha NS10 types. The thought was, if you could make your music sound good on these through mastering manipulation, they would sound good on ANY speaker in any general situation.
 

JackD201

[WBF Founding Member]
Apr 21, 2010
10,989
8
38
Manila, Philippines
#18
I always thought that traditional mastering suites wanted speakers that were TOO revealing i.e. had a bit of a raspish midrange and upper midrange bump i.e. the Yamaha NS10 types. The thought was, if you could make your music sound good on these through mastering manipulation, they would sound good on ANY speaker in any general situation.
For recording monitoring and mixing, not so much for mastering. Mastering is more the last step for final adjustments and of course preparation for mass production.
 

rblnr

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
May 3, 2010
1,878
1
38
NYC/NJ
#19
Haven't read the whole thread so apologies if I'm off point. Probably the most disappointing purchase I ever made was the Waveform Mach Solo , a speaker designed for flat frequency response both on and off axis -- much of the work done in the anechoic chamber in Canada. Low distortion and low resonance as well. Lots of stellar measurables (and critical accolades) but the sound didn't come alive and engage. As an aside, the active Waveform Mach 17s were a different story.

While I don't doubt that a speaker that measures poorly will sound bad, I've become skeptical of speaker measurements telling the story since that point.
 
Apr 23, 2010
105
0
16
#20
I will read this whole thread as my buddy, who I scanargled his Wilson's from just got a mint set of Ultima Salon's first versions and we are currently playing with them to get them singing their best ! Having Talked with Kevin Voeks at Axpona and getting the skinny on the Salon 2 and liking what I heard I am more curious now !
 

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