The Official $2,500 Speaker Evaluation / Home Audition Event - Page 91 - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #901 of 1075 Old 11-19-13, 02:59 PM
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Re: The Official $2,500 Speaker Evaluation / Home Audition Event

As Joe was the only person at this event that was not at the prior event, and as such we don't have his detailed impressions of the Arx A5, I wonder if we could ask him to post his thoughts about his experience with them. Care to share, Joe? Thanks.
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post #902 of 1075 Old 11-19-13, 03:42 PM
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Re: The Official $2,500 Speaker Evaluation / Home Audition Event

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bkeeler10 wrote: View Post
As Joe was the only person at this event that was not at the prior event, and as such we don't have his detailed impressions of the Arx A5, I wonder if we could ask him to post his thoughts about his experience with them. Care to share, Joe? Thanks.
Sure Bryan - I can give just a short description as we just did about 5-10 minutes each on them. I was quite pleased by their imaging capability - honestly, the depth of the soundstage and the separation of instruments into different areas of the soundstage was on par with the Dynaudios and Paradigms. As far as low end, they had what I will call "just enough" - not noteworthy, but not so loose that they distracted.

Vocally, they handled dynamic shifts really well with no signs of compression, but they did not have the open, airy sound I personally crave. Overall, I thought it did a lot of things well - and for the price, I would definitely recommend it as it outperformed a couple speakers in a higher price range IMO.
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post #903 of 1075 Old 11-19-13, 06:17 PM
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Re: The Official $2,500 Speaker Evaluation / Home Audition Event

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The problem I would have with this telling me anything useful would be the listening position in relation to the speaker placement.
If you mean asymmetrical placement, then they didn't try that. They did try commonly used symmetrical placements: one speaker directly in front of the listener, two speakers spread out in front of the listener, 5 speakers around the listener using ITU specs. Preference scores remainded consistent across all three configurations.

However, listeners arrived at their preference quickest (least number of trials) with a single speaker, took them longer to arrive at the same conclusion with 2 speakers, took them much longer with 5 speakers. Speaker rankings remained so consistent that they have since stopped using 2-speaker and 5-speaker layouts.
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Just because they were able to determine trends based on what people preferred, does not mean that is the sound they would prefer over a properly placed speaker and a proper listening position in a given room.
Prior tests pointed to those results and subsequent tests validated those results. I'm not telling you that you have to believe Floyd Toole and Sean Olive, just pointing out that they are two data points in a large amount of research into listener preference that supports the notion that speakers voiced away from flat on-axis response tend not to be preferred. But that doesn't mean you don't have to believe all that research.

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post #904 of 1075 Old 11-19-13, 06:26 PM
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Re: The Official $2,500 Speaker Evaluation / Home Audition Event

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A study is set up with a set of assumptions and goals - has to be or it would be infinitely unmanageable - and when it is done, a set of conclusions is presented, usually (if done with integrity) relative to those assumptions (but not always - funny how scientists with salaries & sponsors & mortgages can end up with agendas, too).
I don't see why it would be "infinitely unmanageable". Suppose you expanded the listening test you just participated in so that it encompassed 50 loudspeakers and 300 listeners over the period of a couple years. At the end of it, you found that certain speakers consistently scored high with most listeners while other speakers repeatedly scored low with most listeners. Without naming brands and model numbers, you publish which qualities were consistently preferred and which were not. What was the "set of assumptions"?

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post #905 of 1075 Old 11-19-13, 07:04 PM Thread Starter
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Re: The Official $2,500 Speaker Evaluation / Home Audition Event

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If you mean asymmetrical placement, then they didn't try that. They did try commonly used symmetrical placements: one speaker directly in front of the listener, two speakers spread out in front of the listener, 5 speakers around the listener using ITU specs. Preference scores remainded consistent across all three configurations.

However, listeners arrived at their preference quickest (least number of trials) with a single speaker, took them longer to arrive at the same conclusion with 2 speakers, took them much longer with 5 speakers. Speaker rankings remained so consistent that they have since stopped using 2-speaker and 5-speaker layouts. Prior tests pointed to those results and subsequent tests validated those results. I'm not telling you that you have to believe Floyd Toole and Sean Olive, just pointing out that they are two data points in a large amount of research into listener preference that supports the notion that speakers voiced away from flat on-axis response tend not to be preferred. But that doesn't mean you don't have to believe all that research.
With those responses, I think you totally missed what I was saying. I do not doubt their test or the results, but that kind of testing is not going to tell me the best speaker for me. It might tell me which speaker I prefer for that test, but then when I get them in my room, with my setup and with my equipment, and in their best placement, which may be completely different than what they used for testing, my choice could be completely different. I need to test speakers in my own environment under my own conditions. Plus, I cannot even begin to tell how well a speaker will image or what kind of soundstage width or depth it will have based on listening to one speaker... there are too many other variables that go into two speakers being right for those characteristics of a speaker to be determined.

Bottom line... the test serves no purpose for me... whether it be accurate, true or neither.

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post #906 of 1075 Old 11-19-13, 07:59 PM
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Re: The Official $2,500 Speaker Evaluation / Home Audition Event

The purpose of those tests was not to determine which is the best speaker for any one person in any particular placement. It was to determine what most people perceive to be preferable in terms of speaker response. That research provided a very useful baseline for the design of many different products, yet they do not all sound the same. They may share some characteristics, but there are many more variables than were studied in their research.

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post #907 of 1075 Old 11-19-13, 08:08 PM
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Re: The Official $2,500 Speaker Evaluation / Home Audition Event

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I don't see why it would be "infinitely unmanageable". Suppose you expanded the listening test you just participated in so that it encompassed 50 loudspeakers and 300 listeners over the period of a couple years. At the end of it, you found that certain speakers consistently scored high with most listeners while other speakers repeatedly scored low with most listeners. Without naming brands and model numbers, you publish which qualities were consistently preferred and which were not. What was the "set of assumptions"?
All research has underlying assumptions. No study can isolate every variable. Our assumptions were many. First and foremost is that positioning for soundstage and imaging is more important than positioning for frequency response. This colors any results and may make them less meaningful to any particular individual. Learning about trends from research has nothing to do with what is preferable to any one individual. That does not make research invalid. On the contrary. Enough research on many variables under many different assumptions is how we expand knowledge and understanding.

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post #908 of 1075 Old 11-19-13, 08:15 PM
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Re: The Official $2,500 Speaker Evaluation / Home Audition Event

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I do not doubt their test or the results, but that kind of testing is not going to tell me the best speaker for me.
It's not intended to. Think of it like Top 40 radio. They can tell you what the most popular songs are, but they can't tell you whether you will like any of those songs. However, finding out what's trending in music can tell you some things, like the fact that Broadway show tunes aren't popular enough to show up on a preference-based list. Which was my point about speakers voiced to deviate from flat not scoring high on preference tests.
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It might tell me which speaker I prefer for that test, but then when I get them in my room, with my setup and with my equipment, and in their best placement, which may be completely different than what they used for testing, my choice could be completely different.

Bottom line... the test serves no purpose for me... whether it be accurate, true or neither.
Sure, but the point of those tests was not to choose a speaker for you but to find out what qualities were generally preferred (e.g., flat vs voiced). Otherwise, why would anyone do speaker comparisons at all? I guess we'll have to agree to disagree about the value of tests done in rooms other than our own. You just finished conducting a speaker evaluation in a room that I will never use, but that doesn't mean that your test "serves no purpose" for me. Quite the contrary.

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post #909 of 1075 Old 11-19-13, 08:32 PM
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Re: The Official $2,500 Speaker Evaluation / Home Audition Event

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ericzim wrote: View Post
Any idea when the Martin Logan ElectroMotion ESL review will be compiled? My wife and I are very interested in these speakers characteristics for home theater and 2 channel music and just how much space do these need to get optimal performance from them. She says if they are up to her standards (she has very high standards by the way) than she will see if we can work them into the budget along with a new AVR. I love my wife!
The ESL's get here Thursday, I probably won't even get them opened up for a week or so...

Who am I kidding, I am already starting to peak out the front window every time a delivery truck goes by. Assuming no problems or damage, will get right on it. Want to try different things in different rooms. By mid December is my goal, but no promises, maybe sooner. Then there is the long-term follow-up listening to make sure nothing important was missed. That could go on for years. Gotta be thorough.
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post #910 of 1075 Old 11-19-13, 08:36 PM Thread Starter
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Re: The Official $2,500 Speaker Evaluation / Home Audition Event

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It's not intended to. Think of it like Top 40 radio. They can tell you what the most popular songs are, but they can't tell you whether you will like any of those songs. However, finding out what's trending in music can tell you some things, like the fact that Broadway show tunes aren't popular enough to show up on a preference-based list. Which was my point about speakers voiced to deviate from flat not scoring high on preference tests. Sure, but the point of those tests was not to choose a speaker for you but to find out what qualities were generally preferred (e.g., flat vs voiced). Otherwise, why would anyone do speaker comparisons at all? I guess we'll have to agree to disagree about the value of tests done in rooms other than our own. You just finished conducting a speaker evaluation in a room that I will never use, but that doesn't mean that your test "serves no purpose" for me. Quite the contrary.
I suppose it depends on what you are looking to help you choose a speaker... not sure why else you would look at speaker testing... other than maybe entertainment. Knowing that 90% of people preferred flat over voiced doesn't help me learn anything... other that 90% of people preferred flat over voiced. I want real world variables for what would be typical. It is not typical for a person to sit in front of one speaker. If it were an evaluation like we did... it might be useful for me. As it is and as it was done, it serves no purpose for me. I can't get any closer to determining what speaker I would buy based on that testing.

If the test is to determine preferred qualities, they missed quite a few that would be what I would prefer. The reason I do speaker comparisons is to determine what speakers sound the best to me. We share that info with our readers, but it won't tell them what is best for them, although it might tell them that certain qualities are easier to obtain with speaker x over speaker y. That is why it is more useful.

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