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#90831 - 04/15/05 11:59 PM The speaker is bright. Wait! Laid back? Neutral?
TNTguy Offline
devotee

Registered: 02/16/05
Posts: 325
Loc: Utah
This hobby sure is interesting and entertaining all at the same time. I hear speakers described as bright, neutral, and laid back. It gets interesting when different people use all 3 connotations to describe the same model of speaker. Isn't it amazing that everyone hears differently?

Stuff like this just fascinates me. It kind of reminds me of a saying. "After hearing two versions of the same traffic accident, one has to wonder about the accuracy of history." Something to that effect. Not that anyone is wrong with their own opinion on a speaker, it's just amazing that people see and hear things differently.

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#90832 - 04/16/05 04:20 AM Re: The speaker is bright. Wait! Laid back? Neutral?
snakeyes Offline
aficionado

Registered: 07/13/04
Posts: 828
Loc: Newburgh, NY
your right ears are an amazing thing. my wife says "stop buying ht equipment" but what i hear is "stop buying ht equipment until you find a good deal then go ahead and pick it up. you deserve becuase you work so hard. and while your at it why dont you watch sports and movies all weekend instead of working around the house." amazing it sounds like the same thing to me. lol
Jake
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Leave the gun, Take the canolis.

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#90833 - 04/16/05 08:03 AM Re: The speaker is bright. Wait! Laid back? Neutral?
Seabear Offline
devotee

Registered: 01/03/05
Posts: 365
Loc: Charlottesville, Virginia
"...Not that anyone is wrong with their own opinion on a speaker, it's just amazing that people see and hear things differently."

Yup! It's what makes it fun and constantly new, but at the same time can be a bit frustrating.
It is the same thing in the Wine Business. I once had a guy that no matter what you put in front of him would look up from his glass after a moment and say "Mangos!"
Someone once said "Talking about wine is like dancing about architecture".
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Axioms; For when you've just Gotta have More Cowbell! 60s 150 350 8s 2is RX-V2500 DVD-C750 2900

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#90834 - 04/16/05 10:09 AM Re: The speaker is bright. Wait! Laid back? Neutral?
alan Offline

connoisseur

Registered: 01/29/02
Posts: 3256
Loc: Toronto/New York/parry Sound
Hi TNT guy,

Yep, it sure is interesting, so much so that I eventually changed my career, to research and write about this subject full-time.

But what's even more fascinating about sound reproduction is this: You said, "Isn't it amazing that everyone hears differently?"

I'd respond by pointing out that yes, everyone "hears" differently when you can see the speaker, the brand name, know its price, its physical size, etc., but once you conceal those variables behind an acoustically transparent but visually opaque screen, groups of people with normal hearing--enthusiasts, audiophiles, even random people off the street--in fact all agree on the "sound" or tonal balance of loudspeakers.

That conclusion is what emerged from more than 25 years of testing at the National Research Council (the research program was directed by Dr. Floyd Toole, scientist and psycho-acoustician), which Axiom and I participated in. Axiom still does initial anechoic and listening tests of prototypes at the NRC in Ottawa, Ontario.

We are all equipped with the same hearing mechanism--a set of ears and a brain--and when you remove psychological biases and expectations from listening tests by using double-blind comparisons, concentrating entirely on sound quality, we all tend to agree on which speakers sound "best" (most neutral and transparent) and which are worst. We may use different language or adjectives to describe errors in frequency response, but once you agree that "laid-back" means a dip in midrange response--a lack of detail in the mids--we all hear that and spot it. The correlation is so high that really excellent speakers are often ranked within tenths of points of each other. A common score of several similarly good-sounding winners in NRC listening tests was typically 7.8 or 8.0 out of a possible 10.

Regards,
_________________________
Alan Lofft,
Axiom Resident Expert (Retired)

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#90835 - 04/16/05 11:45 AM Re: The speaker is bright. Wait! Laid back? Neutra
littleb Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 08/03/03
Posts: 1235
Loc: Moorhead, Minnesota/US
Your absolutely right, it is fascinating. At least I seem to be fascinated. I talk to my family about different speaker's characteristic sounds and I can tell they don't relate to my obsession. I would have never believed that room treatments and even moving a set of speakers to a different room would affect the sound, but recently I experienced this. I used to think that my son's PSB 5ts were extremely harsh in the high end. After he moved out of the basement and moved into his own house, I had a chance to hear the 5ts again. They sounded completely different. What I had once considered shrill now sounded extremely mellow to me.

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#90836 - 04/16/05 12:33 PM Re: The speaker is bright. Wait! Laid back? Neutral?
snakeyes Offline
aficionado

Registered: 07/13/04
Posts: 828
Loc: Newburgh, NY
thats why i cant wait for craigsub's blind test.
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Leave the gun, Take the canolis.

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#90837 - 04/16/05 10:14 PM Re: The speaker is bright. Wait! Laid back? Neutra
TNTguy Offline
devotee

Registered: 02/16/05
Posts: 325
Loc: Utah
All very good points. We do all have the same biological makeup, and there is no question about psychological biases. No question they do influence judgements, opinions, preconceptions, etc. "Bose makes superior sounding speakers." Try posting that on the AVS board.

Isn't it also amazing what sounds/noise/music and the effects they can have on human beings? The pleasure that music can give. Another the crying of an infant causing discomfort in human adults. The adrenaline rush caused by a thunderclap very close to you. All very interesting things and the effects it has on people.

All in all, it's a wonderful world that has been opened to me while getting into great audio. Just glad there are some very good people here to help me experience and enjoy the ride.

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#90838 - 04/17/05 05:45 AM Re: The speaker is bright. Wait! Laid back? Neutra
nitram Offline
buff

Registered: 04/09/03
Posts: 57
Loc: Santa Rosa, California
I can't remember where I got this link http://sound.westhost.com/cables-p5.htm#Speakers, but it's a very thoughtful set of articles. Here he points out that psychological bias, and how you can demonstrate it on yourself. Namely, use an EQ mess up your system's frequency response, get used to it for a while, turn the system off, flatten the response, and you'll think the system now sounds awful (for 15 min or so).

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