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In Reply to: RE: Those not well done measurements ! posted by RGA on June 25, 2017 at 04:01:46
Measurements tell you SOMETHING about a speaker, but they do not tell you how the speaker will sound. Designing / building a speaker would be pretty hopeless if you couldn't make some measurements and use them to refine your design. But, in the end, a speaker can measure pretty well and still not sound 'right.' Then, too, there is personal taste. And how the speaker will interact with various amplifiers- speakers - especially multi-way designs- have complex impedances and this will cause some interaction with any amplifier, but especially with tube amplifiers and super-especially with tube amps with low / no negative feedback.
The Stereophile tests are a good thing, they help a prospective buyer evaluate the engineering of the product. But only listening tells you if you like the speaker or not, because a lot of the speaker's acoustic behavior is not measured by those Stereophile tests. For example, they don't do any distortion tests. Harmonic and non-harmonic distortions are prevalent in speakers and impact the sound. Also, there's a lot of time-domain testing that can be done such as tone-burst tests, group delay and so on- all of which tell you something about the sound.
But even if all of this additional data were presented, you would have to have very broad experience and deep knowledge to synthesize all these different, subtle factors to form an understanding of how a given speaker sounds, and even then your understanding would be incomplete until you actually listened to the thing.
The tests Stereophile publishes give you clues about some of the speaker's characteristics, but they don't tell you much about the sound and they certainly don't tell you if you will like or dislike the sound.
By analyzing the tests, you can sometimes infer what the designers were shooting for, what they thought was sonically important, etc. That can be useful.
Yes, the measurements may not make the final choice, but the speakers that seem to me to measure very well also sound very good to me, at least the ones I have heard.
On the other hand, the speakers that measure badly will sound bad on some of the music I listen to. Sounds good with big bands does not necessarily sound good with orchestra, voice, chorus, piano, and so on. But there is, of course, a middle ground of speakers whose flaws don't show up in some kinds of music, but do with other kinds of music.
"A fool and his money are soon parted." --- Thomas Tusser
Thanks for your input. I guess it's worse than I thought, with consumer magazines.
But let's not forget why they're there: make the (dominant) idea look as good as they can. If a cone-speaker was decided by insiders to be The Big Thing -then most promoting, show reports, class-A rated products, will be this type. Skip the waveguide and horn (2 distinct types). But if you review one, don't measure it right.
That said, a tester can't cover-up everything. Look at the phase and electrical impedance of many cones -TERRIBLE. Then deviations from linearity, if you can find a chart, will show serious deviations at 95db, as volume increases.
It's revelations like these that guided me to the horn. Along with their performance, of course.
I agree with this. Thanks.
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