I go back to that you have to compare equipment using audio that you know well. When I was 15 years
old, I didn't know any "acoustic" music very well, I'm a Gen-Xer! I did know the Beatles very well
since I had already been listening to them 5+ years, starting on a crappy old 1960s kids'
"phonograph." I knew how they sounded in stereo because I head been passed down an old Tandy early
70s receiver with a headphone jack and had been given decent Pioneer headphones for my 10th
Nowadays, I would probably take a couple of jazz and classical recordings I know well, but I still
don't want any speakers that don't make the Beatles sound as I expect them to sound!
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Paul Stamler" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Sunday, February 10, 2013 2:06 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Testing speakers- was Audibility of 44/16 ?
> On 2/9/2013 5:32 PM, Steven Smolian wrote:
>> Testing speakers. Using anything but acoustic instruments has the inherent
>> problem of what an electronically processed signal really is. A piano, well
>> recorded (in the auditor's opinion) runs the frequency spectrum and dynamic
>> range based on sound that begins life pushing air. That takes
>> somesubjectivity out of the experience. How a Beatles or Stones record
>> sounds on such speakers (in the mix used on that iteration of the sound
>> source) is totally subjective. A pleasing listening experience therefrom
>> may not give an acceptable sound for a string quartet (pace Eleanor Rigby).
>> Using a pre-distorted signal, no matter how nice, simply adds inaccurate
>> noise to mask what a system may be doing otherwise and gives the seller an
>> excuse to sell bad stuff, no matter how well reviewed.
> But certain things can be determined even from a highly-processed pop/rock record. You can compare
> the sounds of the bass; does one speaker make the note sound clear, while the other fuzzes it out
> with distortion? Does one let the pitch of the bass be heard, while the other gives a vague boom?
> Does one speaker reproduce sibilants cleanly, while the other makes them harsh and "spitty"?
> If you play a record over ten speakers, and they all have spitty sibilants, it's likely that the
> record is the problem (or the player or maybe the amplifier), but if you compare speakers and one
> doesn't have certain problems while the other does, the issue is probably with the speakers.
> Even without absolute references, pop records can help sort sheep from goats. And for identifying
> good transient performance in the woofer, a well-recorded kickdrum is hard to beat. Even a
> badly-recorded one can tell you things.