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#318178 - 08/10/10 05:22 PM Re: I just ordered a pair of M3 v3 Bookshelf Speakers [Re: Ichigo_Kurosaki]
BlueJays1 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 09/19/08
Posts: 4079
Loc: Porch,enjoying Bombay Sapphire
Originally Posted By: Ichigo_Kurosaki
Originally Posted By: Dr.House
Yup. And studies by the likes of Dr. Olive show exactly that there is a correlation to the Anechoic measurements and listener preferences as shown here.
______________________________________________________________
Do High School Students Prefer Neutral/Accurate Loudspeakers?
Given that the high school students preferred the higher quality music format (CD over MP3), would their taste for accurate sound reproduction hold true when evaluating different loudspeakers? To test this question, the students participated in a double-blind loudspeaker test where they rated four different loudspeakers on an 11-point preference scale. The preference scale had semantic differentials at every second interval defined as: 1 (really dislike), 3 (dislike), 5 (neutral), 7 (like) and 9 (really like). The relative distances in ratings between pairs of loudspeakers indicated the magnitude of preference: &#8805; 2 points represent a strong preference, 1 point a moderate preference and &#8804; 0.5 point a slight preference.
The four loudspeakers were floor-standing the models (slide 22): Infinity Primus 362 ($500 a pair), Polk Rti10 ($800), Klipsch RF35 ($600), and Martin Logan Vista ($3800). Each loudspeaker was installed on the automated speaker shuffler in Harman International’s Multichannel Listening Lab, which positions each loudspeaker in same the location when the loudspeaker is active. In this way, the loudspeaker positional biases are removed from the test. Each loudspeaker was level-matched to within 0.1 dB at the primary listening location.
Listeners completed a series of four trials where they could compare each of the four loudspeakers reproducing a number of times before rating each loudspeaker on an 11-point preference scale. Two different music programs were used with two observations. At the beginning of each trial, the computer randomly assigned four letters (A,B,C,D) to the loudspeakers. This meant that the loudspeaker ratings in consecutive trials were more or less independent (slide 23).
Results: High School Students Prefer More Accurate, Neutral Loudspeakers
When averaged across all listeners and programs, there was moderate-strong preference for the Infinity Primus 362 loudspeaker over the other three choices (slide 25). In the results shown in the accompanying slide, as an industry courtesy, the brands of the competitors’ loudspeakers are simply identified as Loudspeakers B,C and D.
As a group, the listeners were not able to formulate preferences among the three lower rated loudspeakers B,C, and D, which were all imperfect in different ways. For an untrained listener, sorting out these different types of imperfections and assigning consistent ratings can be a difficult task without practice and training [5].
The individual listener preferences (slide 26) reveal that 13 of the 18 listeners (72%) preferred the Infinity loudspeaker based on their ratings averaged across all programs and trials.
When comparing the student's rank ordering of the loudspeakers to those of the trained Harman listeners (slide 27), we see good agreement between the two groups. The one exception is Loudspeaker C, which the trained listeners strongly disliked. The general agreement between trained and untrained listener loudspeaker preferences illustrated in this test is consistent with previous studies where a different set of listeners and loudspeakers were used [5],[6]. As found in the previous study, the trained listeners, on average, rated each loudspeaker about 1.5 preference rating lower than the untrained listeners, and the trained listeners were more discriminating and consistent in their ratings[5],[7].
The comprehensive set of anechoic measurements for each loudspeaker is compared to its preference rating (slide 28). There are clear visual correlations between the set of technical measurements and listeners’ loudspeaker preference ratings. The most preferred loudspeaker (Infinity Primus 362) had the flattest measured on-axis and listening window curves (top two curves), and the smoothest first reflection, sound power and first reflection/sound power directivity index curves (the third, fourth, fifth and sixth curves from the top). The other loudspeaker models tended to deviate from this ideal linear behavior, which resulted in lower preference ratings. Again, this relationship between loudspeaker preference and a linear frequency response is consistent with similar studies conducted by the author and Toole [9],[10].
Finally, sound quality doesn't necessarily cost more money to obtain as illustrated in these experiments. The most accurate and preferred loudspeaker - the Infinity Primus 362 - was also the least expensive loudspeaker in the group at $500 a pair. It doesn't cost any more money to make a loudspeaker sound good, as it costs to make it sound bad. In fact, the least accurate loudspeaker (Loudspeaker C) cost almost 8x more money ($3,800) than the most accurate and preferred model. Sound quality can be achieved by paying close attention to the variables that scientific research says matter, and then applying good engineering design to optimize those variables at every product price point.
Conclusions
A group of 18 high school students participated in two double-blind listening tests that measured their sound quality preferences for music reproduced in lossy (MP3 @ 128 kbps) and lossless (CD quality) formats, as well as music reproduced through loudspeakers that varied in accuracy. In both tests, the high school students preferred the most accurate option, preferring CD over MP3, and the most accurate loudspeaker over the less accurate options.
While this study is still in its early phase, these preliminary results suggest that these teenagers can reliably discriminate among different degradations in sound quality in music reproduction. When given the opportunity to hear and compare different qualities of sound reproduction, the high school students preferred the higher quality, more accurate reproduction over the lower quality choices.
The audio industry should not discount the potential opportunities to provide a higher quality audio experience to members of Generation Y. The popular belief that they don’t care about or appreciate sound quality needs to be critically reexamined. This data suggests there are opportunities to sell good sounding audio products to Generation Y as long as the products hit the right features and price points,. The audio industry should also provide these consumers the necessary education and information (i.e. meaningful performance specifications) to identify the good sounding products from the duds. Science can already do this (review slide 28), it’s simply a matter of making the information more widely available.
References
[1] Joseph Plambeck, “In Mobile Age, Sound Quality Steps Back,” New York Times, May 9, 2010.
[2] Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson, “Could a Pair of Headphones Save the Music Business?” Financial Times, June 12 2010.
[3] Robert Capps, “The Good Enough Revolution: When Cheap and Simple Is Just Fine” Wired Magazine, August 24, 2009.
[4] Dale Dougherty, “The Sizzling Sound of Music,” O’Reilly Radar, March 1 2009.
[5] Nora Young, Full Interview: Jonathan Berger on mp3s and “Sizzle”, CBC Radio , March 24, 2009.
[6] The Loudness Wars: Why Music Sounds Worse, from All Things Considered, NPR Music, December 31, 2009.
[5] Sean E. Olive, "Differences in Performance and Preference of Trained Versus Untrained Listeners in Loudspeaker Tests: A Case Study," J. AES, Vol. 51, issue 9, pp. 806-825, September 2003. (download for free courtesy of Harman International).
[6] Sean Olive, “Part 1 - Do Untrained Listeners Prefer the Same Loudspeakers as Untrained Listeners?” Audio Musings, December 26, 2008.
[7] Sean Olive, Part 2 - Differences in Performance of Trained Versus Untrained Listeners, Audio Musings, December 27, 2008.
[8] Sean Olive, “Part 3 - Relationship between Loudspeaker Measurements and Listener Preferences”, Audio Musings, December 28, 2008.
[9] Floyd E. Toole, "Loudspeaker Measurements and Their Relationship to Listener Preferences: Part 1" J. AES Vol. 23, issue 4, pp. 227-235, April 1986. (download for free courtesy of Harman International).
[10] Floyd E. Toole, "Loudspeaker Measurements and Their Relationship to Listener Preferences: Part 2," J. AES, Vol. 34, Issue 5, pp. 323-248, May 1986. (download for free courtesy of Harman International).


One of the most interesting articles I have read so far.


If you follow this link. http://seanolive.blogspot.com/ there is a comments section which you can send your thoughts or questions to the author.
_________________________
I’m armed and I’m drinking. You don’t want to listen to advice from me, amigo.

-Max Payne

Top
#318179 - 08/10/10 05:25 PM Re: I just ordered a pair of M3 v3 Bookshelf Speakers [Re: BlueJays1]
Ichigo_Kurosaki Offline
devotee

Registered: 06/18/10
Posts: 463
Loc: Japan
Originally Posted By: Dr.House
Originally Posted By: Ichigo_Kurosaki
Originally Posted By: Dr.House
Yup. And studies by the likes of Dr. Olive show exactly that there is a correlation to the Anechoic measurements and listener preferences as shown here.
______________________________________________________________
Do High School Students Prefer Neutral/Accurate Loudspeakers?
Given that the high school students preferred the higher quality music format (CD over MP3), would their taste for accurate sound reproduction hold true when evaluating different loudspeakers? To test this question, the students participated in a double-blind loudspeaker test where they rated four different loudspeakers on an 11-point preference scale. The preference scale had semantic differentials at every second interval defined as: 1 (really dislike), 3 (dislike), 5 (neutral), 7 (like) and 9 (really like). The relative distances in ratings between pairs of loudspeakers indicated the magnitude of preference: &#8805; 2 points represent a strong preference, 1 point a moderate preference and &#8804; 0.5 point a slight preference.
The four loudspeakers were floor-standing the models (slide 22): Infinity Primus 362 ($500 a pair), Polk Rti10 ($800), Klipsch RF35 ($600), and Martin Logan Vista ($3800). Each loudspeaker was installed on the automated speaker shuffler in Harman International’s Multichannel Listening Lab, which positions each loudspeaker in same the location when the loudspeaker is active. In this way, the loudspeaker positional biases are removed from the test. Each loudspeaker was level-matched to within 0.1 dB at the primary listening location.
Listeners completed a series of four trials where they could compare each of the four loudspeakers reproducing a number of times before rating each loudspeaker on an 11-point preference scale. Two different music programs were used with two observations. At the beginning of each trial, the computer randomly assigned four letters (A,B,C,D) to the loudspeakers. This meant that the loudspeaker ratings in consecutive trials were more or less independent (slide 23).
Results: High School Students Prefer More Accurate, Neutral Loudspeakers
When averaged across all listeners and programs, there was moderate-strong preference for the Infinity Primus 362 loudspeaker over the other three choices (slide 25). In the results shown in the accompanying slide, as an industry courtesy, the brands of the competitors’ loudspeakers are simply identified as Loudspeakers B,C and D.
As a group, the listeners were not able to formulate preferences among the three lower rated loudspeakers B,C, and D, which were all imperfect in different ways. For an untrained listener, sorting out these different types of imperfections and assigning consistent ratings can be a difficult task without practice and training [5].
The individual listener preferences (slide 26) reveal that 13 of the 18 listeners (72%) preferred the Infinity loudspeaker based on their ratings averaged across all programs and trials.
When comparing the student's rank ordering of the loudspeakers to those of the trained Harman listeners (slide 27), we see good agreement between the two groups. The one exception is Loudspeaker C, which the trained listeners strongly disliked. The general agreement between trained and untrained listener loudspeaker preferences illustrated in this test is consistent with previous studies where a different set of listeners and loudspeakers were used [5],[6]. As found in the previous study, the trained listeners, on average, rated each loudspeaker about 1.5 preference rating lower than the untrained listeners, and the trained listeners were more discriminating and consistent in their ratings[5],[7].
The comprehensive set of anechoic measurements for each loudspeaker is compared to its preference rating (slide 28). There are clear visual correlations between the set of technical measurements and listeners’ loudspeaker preference ratings. The most preferred loudspeaker (Infinity Primus 362) had the flattest measured on-axis and listening window curves (top two curves), and the smoothest first reflection, sound power and first reflection/sound power directivity index curves (the third, fourth, fifth and sixth curves from the top). The other loudspeaker models tended to deviate from this ideal linear behavior, which resulted in lower preference ratings. Again, this relationship between loudspeaker preference and a linear frequency response is consistent with similar studies conducted by the author and Toole [9],[10].
Finally, sound quality doesn't necessarily cost more money to obtain as illustrated in these experiments. The most accurate and preferred loudspeaker - the Infinity Primus 362 - was also the least expensive loudspeaker in the group at $500 a pair. It doesn't cost any more money to make a loudspeaker sound good, as it costs to make it sound bad. In fact, the least accurate loudspeaker (Loudspeaker C) cost almost 8x more money ($3,800) than the most accurate and preferred model. Sound quality can be achieved by paying close attention to the variables that scientific research says matter, and then applying good engineering design to optimize those variables at every product price point.
Conclusions
A group of 18 high school students participated in two double-blind listening tests that measured their sound quality preferences for music reproduced in lossy (MP3 @ 128 kbps) and lossless (CD quality) formats, as well as music reproduced through loudspeakers that varied in accuracy. In both tests, the high school students preferred the most accurate option, preferring CD over MP3, and the most accurate loudspeaker over the less accurate options.
While this study is still in its early phase, these preliminary results suggest that these teenagers can reliably discriminate among different degradations in sound quality in music reproduction. When given the opportunity to hear and compare different qualities of sound reproduction, the high school students preferred the higher quality, more accurate reproduction over the lower quality choices.
The audio industry should not discount the potential opportunities to provide a higher quality audio experience to members of Generation Y. The popular belief that they don’t care about or appreciate sound quality needs to be critically reexamined. This data suggests there are opportunities to sell good sounding audio products to Generation Y as long as the products hit the right features and price points,. The audio industry should also provide these consumers the necessary education and information (i.e. meaningful performance specifications) to identify the good sounding products from the duds. Science can already do this (review slide 28), it’s simply a matter of making the information more widely available.
References
[1] Joseph Plambeck, “In Mobile Age, Sound Quality Steps Back,” New York Times, May 9, 2010.
[2] Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson, “Could a Pair of Headphones Save the Music Business?” Financial Times, June 12 2010.
[3] Robert Capps, “The Good Enough Revolution: When Cheap and Simple Is Just Fine” Wired Magazine, August 24, 2009.
[4] Dale Dougherty, “The Sizzling Sound of Music,” O’Reilly Radar, March 1 2009.
[5] Nora Young, Full Interview: Jonathan Berger on mp3s and “Sizzle”, CBC Radio , March 24, 2009.
[6] The Loudness Wars: Why Music Sounds Worse, from All Things Considered, NPR Music, December 31, 2009.
[5] Sean E. Olive, "Differences in Performance and Preference of Trained Versus Untrained Listeners in Loudspeaker Tests: A Case Study," J. AES, Vol. 51, issue 9, pp. 806-825, September 2003. (download for free courtesy of Harman International).
[6] Sean Olive, “Part 1 - Do Untrained Listeners Prefer the Same Loudspeakers as Untrained Listeners?” Audio Musings, December 26, 2008.
[7] Sean Olive, Part 2 - Differences in Performance of Trained Versus Untrained Listeners, Audio Musings, December 27, 2008.
[8] Sean Olive, “Part 3 - Relationship between Loudspeaker Measurements and Listener Preferences”, Audio Musings, December 28, 2008.
[9] Floyd E. Toole, "Loudspeaker Measurements and Their Relationship to Listener Preferences: Part 1" J. AES Vol. 23, issue 4, pp. 227-235, April 1986. (download for free courtesy of Harman International).
[10] Floyd E. Toole, "Loudspeaker Measurements and Their Relationship to Listener Preferences: Part 2," J. AES, Vol. 34, Issue 5, pp. 323-248, May 1986. (download for free courtesy of Harman International).


One of the most interesting articles I have read so far.


If you follow this link. http://seanolive.blogspot.com/ there is a comments section which you can send your thoughts or questions to the author.

Thanks for the tip and for the post! Two thumbs up for you!
_________________________
Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it.

Top
#318180 - 08/10/10 05:27 PM Re: I just ordered a pair of M3 v3 Bookshelf Speakers [Re: Ichigo_Kurosaki]
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17782
Loc: NoVA
I nominate Dr. House and Ichigo for most egregious use of quote tags. wink


Edited by kcarlile (08/10/10 05:28 PM)
_________________________
I am the Doctor, and THIS... is my SPOON!

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#318181 - 08/10/10 05:29 PM Re: I just ordered a pair of M3 v3 Bookshelf Speakers [Re: Ken.C]
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16280
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
Originally Posted By: kcarlile
I nominate Dr. House and Ichigo for most egregious use of quote tags. wink

I second the nomination.
_________________________
"I wish I had documented more…" said nobody on their death bed, ever.

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#318182 - 08/10/10 05:30 PM Re: I just ordered a pair of M3 v3 Bookshelf Speakers [Re: Ken.C]
jerrymb Offline
veteran

Registered: 01/26/08
Posts: 117
Loc: New Jersey
I should have my M3's tomorrow. I've already got some cds lined up to play to test them out. On the Fedex tracking page it says 15 lbs weight for the package and I know that the pair of speakers weighs well more than that.
_________________________
Jerry

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#318183 - 08/10/10 05:32 PM Re: I just ordered a pair of M3 v3 Bookshelf Speakers [Re: jerrymb]
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17782
Loc: NoVA
Sometimes the weight numbers are wrong; some other times the shipments are done separately. The M3s come one in a box.
_________________________
I am the Doctor, and THIS... is my SPOON!

Top
#318184 - 08/10/10 05:33 PM Re: I just ordered a pair of M3 v3 Bookshelf Speakers [Re: Ken.C]
Ichigo_Kurosaki Offline
devotee

Registered: 06/18/10
Posts: 463
Loc: Japan
Originally Posted By: kcarlile
I nominate Dr. House and Ichigo for most egregious use of quote tags. wink
Thanks anyway! wink
_________________________
Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it.

Top
#318185 - 08/10/10 05:36 PM Re: I just ordered a pair of M3 v3 Bookshelf Speakers [Re: jerrymb]
Ichigo_Kurosaki Offline
devotee

Registered: 06/18/10
Posts: 463
Loc: Japan
Originally Posted By: jerrymb
I should have my M3's tomorrow. I've already got some cds lined up to play to test them out. On the Fedex tracking page it says 15 lbs weight for the package and I know that the pair of speakers weighs well more than that.
Can't wait to hear your impressions about the M3. I am also considering getting a pair to myself so I can get some nice sound on the kitchen.
_________________________
Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it.

Top
#318186 - 08/10/10 05:36 PM Re: I just ordered a pair of M3 v3 Bookshelf Speakers [Re: jerrymb]
BlueJays1 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 09/19/08
Posts: 4079
Loc: Porch,enjoying Bombay Sapphire
Originally Posted By: jerrymb
I should have my M3's tomorrow. I've already got some cds lined up to play to test them out. On the Fedex tracking page it says 15 lbs weight for the package and I know that the pair of speakers weighs well more than that.


Sometimes only the weight of a single speaker appears in the tracking even though multiple items have been shipped. 15 pounds corresponds to the weight of a single M3 + packaging (box, foam inserts etc).
_________________________
I’m armed and I’m drinking. You don’t want to listen to advice from me, amigo.

-Max Payne

Top
#318187 - 08/10/10 05:43 PM Re: I just ordered a pair of M3 v3 Bookshelf Speakers [Re: BlueJays1]
jerrymb Offline
veteran

Registered: 01/26/08
Posts: 117
Loc: New Jersey
How are the highs on the M3's as far as sibilance goes? I've had some speakers where for certain artists their voices were very sibilant. Less so with other speakers.


Edited by jerrymb (08/10/10 05:44 PM)
_________________________
Jerry

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