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I also want to take a minute out to say a big thanks to Wayne - the amount of work and effort he puts into these really makes it all happen. I applaud you sir! :clap:
Same here! These sessions and reviews are much more the work of Wayne and Sonnie than Joe and I. It is a team effort, but Wayne does far more of the work, the thinking, the writing, and the testing. We just support what he does and get to listen and comment. Pretty good deal for Joe and me. :)
 

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I don't know what you mean by "quasi-anechoic on/off- axix data" nor how that would tell us anything about whether a speaker is adding or removing something from the music. There are many assumptions implicit in that kind of determination and an infinite number of variables in collecting and interpreting such response. I don't see where there is much to be gained beyond the measurements that we already have published, on both the speakers and the room.

I appreciate constructive criticism, but I really do not understand why you think we could gain anything like this.

There really are no assumptions implicit or explicit. It simply is what it is. Quasi-anechoic would give you the speaker response itself, removed of any room effect. In all things electronic, distortion is described by anything that alters the signal. think of it as simply "signal in = signal out". In a real world, this isn't possible. But, that's the ultimate goal of a true reference system; to not alter the source media. The best way for us hobbyists to determine this is a simple quasi-anechoic measurement. You are able to then capture what the speaker itself is doing to the signal source. The on & off-axis measurements would go further to show you how well the polar response of said speaker behaves. ie; is there a lobing issue at the crossover between the mid and tweeter? this would be apparenty in any axis. Providing this data would tell us what the speaker is doing. Without the effect of the room in a single space. This is important if you want to determine what the speaker is contributing and just how it contributes to what you hear. In other words, what shows up in one axis may not show up in another. Multiple measurements are needed.

If mesuring the speaker quasi-anechoically via a gated impulse response isn't possible (though, it shouldn't be impossible) then another option is to measure the respons with the mic placed in various locations and then average them. ie; spatial averaging. What you guys have presented, I can only assume by the lack of mention and by the lack of multiple data indicating otherwise in your REW screenshots, is a single-point response at the seated position. This really tells us nothing more than what you hear if you head is in a vice. It doesn't capture the culmination of sound over a listening area which is essentially now the standard in measurement technique for evaluating a speaker in a given room (ie; John Atkinson of Stereophile, Earl Geddes, Linkwitz, et al). A good spatial average will provide more information as to the power response of a speaker which also is a means of getting to the root of what the speaker is doing. The reason why a single point axis measurement doesn't work is pretty simple: loudspeakers radiate different depending on their design. Some artifacts may be heard differently than others depending on the placement of your head/mic (even as much as one inch can alter what you hear and/or measure above 6khz thanks to combing).

IF you have that data, then the discussion of "well, the Salk speaker sounded sibiliant" would be much easier to nail down because you'd have a measurement of what the speaker itself does over a broad range of listening space or axes. You can directly compare an average or look at it's polar response vs another speaker to see why it may sound sibilant (or why another speaker doesn't). You see a bump around 6-8khz? Probably explains it. You think the soundstage presentedby speaker A is better than the rest? A set of polars showing lobing between the mid/tweeter is present by an off-axis drop in response in the 2-3khz range would likely explain this. A single response measurement isn't going to do that for you. There are a whole lot of objective reasons for why speaker A performs "better" than speaker B. You just need the data to show it.

It may seem like I'm being nitpicky and I am not. Nor am I trying to stir anything up. Simply put, I'm posting what is really widely known in most audio circles and has been adopted by hundreds of companies/magazines/reviewers/etc. I'm just relaying the info so you guys can consider doing this next time. I believe I mentioned/asked for this information before you guys kicked off the testing. Just so you don't think I'm making this stuff up, here's a good link that summarizes most testing methods and explains the importance if you'd like some better info:
http://www.soundandvision.com/content/speaker-measurements-101

I'm not at all trying to diminish your efforts. I'm just trying to help you guys. Maybe in a future test I can join you fellas. I do appreciate all that was done here. Really and truly am just trying to help.

- Erin
 

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There really are no assumptions implicit or explicit. - Erin
To say there are no assumptions is simply not correct, nor possible, in any set of measurements or evaluations. This, however, is a subject for another thread. This one is for discussion of this group of evaluations, and since we did not use this technique for measuring the speakers we should stick to discussing what we did measure and what we reported. Please start another thread where we can discuss this in detail and not distract from the reviews as conducted.
 

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Earplugs. Even our beloved Zoo bar gets loud enough you need 'em. I catch a fair amount of live music in the Lincoln/Omaha area, and these are my choice. Yeah, they seem to make the music sound dull at first, but after a couple of songs of adjustment time for your ears, you will forget they are there. When the show is over - no ringing ears!
That brings up some questions, in what condition is the collective hearing of the testers?
Can they hear to 15,000Hz?
Are both ears of each tester equally sensitive?
Do the testers have any tinnitus?
Do they wear a baseball cap backwards? LOL

As my own hearing has declined in quality and perception over time, I can't judge speaker quality accurately enough to be a judge anymore. I'm limited to 8000Hz or less, left ear less sensitive than my right.
Some years ago I thought my own DIY speakers had a sibilance problem. No one else could hear it though. It turned out my tinnitus was reacting to certain frequencies at higher listening volume producing a sibilant type inner ear noise. I had to have an auditory ENT specialist identify my problem. Welcome to old age.
 

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True Pete - I have heard quite a few different Salk speakers, and this was the first I recall having difficulty with sibilance. Now, do note that the volume was at -4 at the time and when it was turned back to -10, it was better. To me, the Salk speaker is one that I never personally thought of as a speaker you crank up to loud volumes - it is one you want to sit, relax, look at that stunning finish :), and just listen to some soothing tunes. That is the picture in my head when we start talking Salk speakers. :)
But just to be clear to potential Salk owners, if you wish , the soundscape 8'S can be cranked. 25 hz and up means fun. Certainly outside the price range/ discussion here.
 

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What? No classical music among the test tracks? For me this invalidates are subjective results.
I’m a big classical music fan as I play in an orchestra but the last thing I want is a guy that does not listen to classical music telling me which speakers sounds better for classical music. I want someone that has been to many symphony concerts and has heard things beyond movie soundtracks. Granted if I was a part of this I would add a few classical tracks and add a disclaimer about the rock stuff as I have never been to a rock concert.

I think want these guys are doing is great. Back to back listening to great speakers… wow My hat is off to you. :clap:
 

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To say there are no assumptions is simply not correct, nor possible, in any set of measurements or evaluations.
The data itself would be objective, which was what I was talking about regarding the no implied assumptinos. You perform it in X manner and you post it as such.

This, however, is a subject for another thread. This one is for discussion of this group of evaluations, and since we did not use this technique for measuring the speakers we should stick to discussing what we did measure and what we reported. Please start another thread where we can discuss this in detail and not distract from the reviews as conducted.
Understood and agreed. You asked a question and I replied. I didn't intend to make this a full convo... just a point worth making. I've said what I felt was worthwhile on the matter. If you'd like to start another thread that's fine, but I don't see any reason to do so myself as I've said my piece; no sense in rehashing it for the sake of it. ;)

I just ask that you guys consider my comments in the future tests. Maybe we can discuss it further before then.

- Erin
 

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. We all We report our experiences with music that we are familiar with and listen to. Certainly there are much better reference recordings than many of our test tracks. We try to select music that reveals something about the speaker and is fun for us to listen to. You are welcome to suggest some tracks for the next round of evaluations, if there is one. We will consider it.
Excellent!!!! If a person doesn't enjoy classical and it's not his or her reference, how can they rightly review a speaker by listening to classical? Listen to the music you enjoy when you review a speaker, because you know what you are listening for (and you guys do plenty of measurement test)! keep on truckin'!!!!

Sent from my iPad using HTShack
 

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The data itself would be objective, which was what I was talking about regarding the no implied assumptinos. You perform it in X manner and you post it as such.



Understood and agreed. You asked a question and I replied. I didn't intend to make this a full convo... just a point worth making. I've said what I felt was worthwhile on the matter. If you'd like to start another thread that's fine, but I don't see any reason to do so myself as I've said my piece; no sense in rehashing it for the sake of it. ;)

I just ask that you guys consider my comments in the future tests. Maybe we can discuss it further before then.

- Erin
Please start a thread to discuss this further. There is merit in more extensive measurement, but I am not convinced that the gain is worth the cost, in terms of time and effort. Getting all the listening in is tough as it is.

How we interpret data, however, is always subject to assumptions. The data is the data as you say, but making it meaningful and informative requires much more. Interpretaion of what data means in terms of what we experience has many leaps that are not objective. What a speaker adds or fails to reveal is not just a matter of response, but other factors as well, such as distortion.

Again, I would love to discuss these ideas, so please do start a thread.
 

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Kudos to Wayne, Leonard and Joe for their hard work on this review. :clap:

For example, the Supercharged SongTowers use Seas Excel W15's, a 5" woofer with magnesium cones. Magnesium is lighter and stiffer than paper. So these drivers can start and stop faster than a typical paper, kevlar or poly coned driver. The result is more detail and accuracy in the midrange.
I own a pair of Seas Excel W12's and I agree with your comments about its excellent midrange. :)
 

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Excellent questions. I felt that the smooth high end and low distortion of the SongTower SC did a pretty good job of not accentuating sibilance. I would not say that they cut it or controlled it, just did not make it worse. Joe is our "sibilance authority," with Leonard a close second, I am sure they will have something to say.
Some songs are worse than others, no doubt, and we certainly don't want it accentuated. It's a great item to mention as it is an annoying issue to some of us. :wave:

Earplugs. Even our beloved Zoo bar gets loud enough you need 'em. I catch a fair amount of live music in the Lincoln/Omaha area, and these are my choice. Yeah, they seem to make the music sound dull at first, but after a couple of songs of adjustment time for your ears, you will forget they are there. When the show is over - no ringing ears!
Unfortunately, my time at the Zoo was in the early to mid-80's. Matt "guitar" Murphy was one of my favorites, though Brave Combo (nuclear polka) was fun too. Played in the marching band so my ears got toasted on a regular basis when I was young and slightly more stupid than I am now. I do wear earplugs to concerts that get loud (Garbage in the Pearl at the Palm was 103 dB), but these Etymotic earplugs are worthy of consideration. I may get some to try for my next 'loud' show. I didn't need any when listening to the St. Petersburg Philharmonic (and a 305 yr old Stradivarius :gulp:) a the Smith Center for the Performing Arts Saturday night.

I decided to include some thoughts on sibilance as there were a couple instances where it really stood out to a point where I considered leaving the room. Since some people are more sensitive to it than others, I thought it would be good to mention it.
I agree it can be annoying as which is why I got on my soapbox about engineers who need to better understand their trade (or use more revealing speakers in the studio). :rant: Good stuff!

Again, awesome work so far.

Nice to see a vendor drop in for a visit. Mr. Salk, thanks for your input. I've unfortunately never had the pleasure of listening to or seeing your speakers in person. Without reviews like these, I'd never even have a) known about your speakers and b) considered them (speakers are my next big upgrade). Thanks for participating.
 

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Discussion Starter #134
If you guys had some quasi-anechoic on/off-axis data for the speakers tested, that would resolve the concern over whether the speaker is adding or removing something from the music. In that sense, the speaker performed as it should have (ie; it contributed in some way to the response by removing or adding something to what should be a flat anechoic respons).

You may even be able to extract this information to some degree by evaluating the IR and gating the response. I'd imagine the best you could achieve is a reflection free response above 400hz or so, but that would at least tell you what's occurring in the speaker itself (not caused by the reflections that aren't able to easily be identified without in depth analysis).

Just some positive "criticism" for future testing.
We are already discussing ways to potentially up our game with additional measurements. It is no easy task determining what will get us more bang from our precious buck of available time.

What? No classical music among the test tracks? For me this invalidates are subjective results.
The Also Sprach Zarathustra / Star Trek sequence is orchestral. We have many tracks with simple recordings of natural instruments. There is no way to cover every corner of every genre. We are confident that our tracks provide broad coverage of genres, instruments, and recording techniques. Yet there is no way to satisfy everyone. There will always be those who choose to negate our results for some reason rather than see value in what we have accomplished. So be it.

That brings up some questions, in what condition is the collective hearing of the testers?
Can they hear to 15,000Hz?
Are both ears of each tester equally sensitive?
Do the testers have any tinnitus?
Do they wear a baseball cap backwards? LOL

As my own hearing has declined in quality and perception over time, I can't judge speaker quality accurately enough to be a judge anymore. I'm limited to 8000Hz or less, left ear less sensitive than my right.
Some years ago I thought my own DIY speakers had a sibilance problem. No one else could hear it though. It turned out my tinnitus was reacting to certain frequencies at higher listening volume producing a sibilant type inner ear noise. I had to have an auditory ENT specialist identify my problem. Welcome to old age.
Can't speak for the others. My ears are both good to 14,000 Hz. I have measured them both and know their characteristics. And I protect them carefully while enjoying what they can do. And I do not wear hats.:bigsmile:
 

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Discussion Starter #135
First off, thanks to Sonnie for putting this project together and to Wayne, Leonard and Joe for their time and dedication in reviewing the various models. We at Salk Sound were honored to have been able to participate and provide our Supercharged SongTowers for this evaluation.

...............

Again, thanks for taking the time to evaluate our Supercharged SongTowers. Great job and much appreciated!

- Jim
Jim, thank you so much for allowing us to evaluate the SongTower SC. We realize it can be a little intimidating for a speaker designer/manufacturer to send his children off to a strange land to be "measured up" for publication to the masses. The pleasure was ours.

Thank you for dropping by to comment. We appreciate your insights.
 

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Discussion Starter #136
What you guys have presented, I can only assume by the lack of mention and by the lack of multiple data indicating otherwise in your REW screenshots, is a single-point response at the seated position.
That is correct.

This really tells us nothing more than what you hear if you head is in a vice.
Which is precisely the way we listen.

It doesn't capture the culmination of sound over a listening area which is essentially now the standard in measurement technique for evaluating a speaker in a given room (ie; John Atkinson of Stereophile, Earl Geddes, Linkwitz, et al). A good spatial average will provide more information as to the power response of a speaker which also is a means of getting to the root of what the speaker is doing. The reason why a single point axis measurement doesn't work is pretty simple: loudspeakers radiate different depending on their design. Some artifacts may be heard differently than others depending on the placement of your head/mic (even as much as one inch can alter what you hear and/or measure above 6khz thanks to combing).
We are well aware of what is possible and preferable given oodles of resource and time.

IF you have that data,
We do not. We may have more next time.

I'm just relaying the info so you guys can consider doing this next time. I believe I mentioned/asked for this information before you guys kicked off the testing. Just so you don't think I'm making this stuff up, here's a good link that summarizes most testing methods and explains the importance if you'd like some better info:
http://www.soundandvision.com/content/speaker-measurements-101
We are well aware of what is possible and preferable given oodles of resource and time.

Thanks for the input.
 

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You don't need "oodles" of time. It takes less than 30 seconds to perform a simple head area sweep. I'm not sure what is giving you guys the impression that you need some insane amount of time.

However, the semi-anechoic on/off axis measurements would take more time. I won't get in to it here but the short story is it would take at least 20 minutes per speaker and the design would dictate that. That said, your efforts would be much more improved doing this and providing a spatial average. Those two sets of data is all anyone needs to make a strong and more objective correlation between what you fellas are reporting in your subjective analysis as it tells you what the speaker is doing more than a single point measurement. If you haven't read the link I provided previously, please do. It's an excellent summation of the pros and cons of various speaker measurements.

I know you're trying to cram a lot already in to a relatively short weekend. Next time, I'd be more than happy to help if I'm available as I'm within a few hours' drive of Sonnie. I'm genuine with that offer. Sonnie and I have discussed me possibly joining you guys in the future. I'd be more than happy to pick up the measurements end if it helps lighten your load and means getting even better data on the speakers tested.

If you'd like to understand my background, here's my test site. I'm not some kid spouting off buzzwords to look cool. I do have a legitimate interest in bettering our communities' understanding of speaker performance.
http://medleysmusings.com

Regarding OT: I really don't want to keep going over this here just as you guys don't. It is better suited elsewhere. I definitely don't want to take away from the subject of this thread but my points are not invalid and I really think we can work together on this to make these shoot-outs you're doing have even more weight for the objective crowd. However, I'm responding to you in this thread because the response to me was written here. Porting all of this convo to a new thread isn't something I can easily do, but I'd imagine a mod should be able to (based on my experience as a mod on other forums). If you guys want to carry this over to another thread feel free to do so and we can pick up there. I imagine Sonnie would be more than willing to do so if you guys don't have those mod privileges. Just let me know if you do. Or , shoot me a PM and we can chat that way.

Edit: I am NOT trying to be 'that' guy who pops his head in and tells you how you're doing something wrong. Trust me, I deal with that stuff all the time with my measurements, so I know how it feels. I am trying to help, though, with constructive feedback and we can carry on discussion on how to perform said measurements or possibly how to let me help you guys and maybe perform the measurements, with Sonnie's permission, in future tests. I shot Sonnie a message asking if he can help split this to another thread so we don't keep mucking this one up. :)

- Erin
 

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Discussion Starter #138
You don't need "oodles" of time. It takes less than 30 seconds to perform a simple head area sweep. I'm not sure what is giving you guys the impression that you need some insane amount of time.
You have taken my statement out of context. I am well aware of the time it takes to make several measurements around the head area.

However, the semi-anechoic on/off axis measurements would take more time. I won't get in to it here but the short story is it would take at least 20 minutes per speaker and the design would dictate that. That said, your efforts would be much more improved doing this and providing a spatial average. Those two sets of data is all anyone needs to make a strong and more objective correlation between what you fellas are reporting in your subjective analysis as it tells you what the speaker is doing more than a single point measurement. If you haven't read the link I provided previously, please do. It's an excellent summation of the pros and cons of various speaker measurements.

I know you're trying to cram a lot already in to a relatively short weekend. Next time, I'd be more than happy to help if I'm available as I'm within a few hours' drive of Sonnie. I'm genuine with that offer. Sonnie and I have discussed me possibly joining you guys in the future. I'd be more than happy to pick up the measurements end if it helps lighten your load and means getting even better data on the speakers tested.

If you'd like to understand my background, here's my test site. I'm not some kid spouting off buzzwords to look cool. I do have a legitimate interest in bettering our communities' understanding of speaker performance.
http://medleysmusings.com

Regarding OT: If you guys want to carry this over to another thread feel free to do so and we can pick up there. I imagine Sonnie would be more than willing to do so if you guys don't have those mod privileges. I'm responding to you in this thread because the response was written here and me trying to port all of this convo isn't something I can easily do. But a mod should be able to (based on my experience as a mod on other forums). Just let me know if you do. Or , shoot me a PM and we can chat that way.

- Erin
I am aware that you are a very capable tester. So, we believe, are we. We are also painfully aware of the real-world extra time it takes to add a single seemingly simple step to our process, how that will shorten our already short nights of sleep, and how an additional person, however capable, may or may not be helpful in getting more done. Sincerely, there is no disrespect intended, and as I have already said, we are considering how best to expand our review coverage for future events. Your input IS appreciated.
 

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You have taken my statement out of context. I am well aware of the time it takes to make several measurements around the head area.



I am aware that you are a very capable tester. So, we believe, are we. We are also painfully aware of the real-world extra time it takes to add a single seemingly simple step to our process, how that will shorten our already short nights of sleep, and how an additional person, however capable, may or may not be helpful in getting more done. Sincerely, there is no disrespect intended, and as I have already said, we are considering how best to expand our review coverage for future events. Your input IS appreciated.
In my defense, your reply seemed to imply you thought the measurements I mentioned would take "oodles" of time. I didn't intend to take them out of context; I suppose it was simply misinterpretation. That happens with text. ;)

As I seem to have taken your words out of context, perhaps you have taken mine out of context as well. I didn't say you weren't capable testers. I simply pointed out data that is missing that would be useful to have and provide and offered to help where I can. I don't know your guys' process but I can certainly appreciate the fact that by now you likely have it down to a method that maximizes time. And I therefore understand an additional body may wreck that process. I'll just leave the offer on the table in case you guys decide it would be something useful. I'm not offering up my time as a means to best anyone. Just as a means to better maximize efforts IF it can.

With that said, I'll leave this aspect alone now unless you guys wish to discuss it further here or elsewhere.


Looking forward to more of the test results.
 
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