What is Stereophile smoking? "Finest loudspeaker to ever grace my home"

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by MichaelXX2, Oct 13, 2021 at 12:05 PM.

  1. MichaelXX2

    MichaelXX2 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    United States
    And can I have some? I was reading through some Klipsch reviews to look at how horn-loaded speakers measure. In the Forte III review, Ken Micallef describes the Volti Audio Rival speakers as "the finest loudspeakers to ever grace [his] home." I thought, "Wow! These speakers must really be something special, then. Let's see how they measure." I was utterly shocked to see this frequency response graph:


    A stereotypical smiley-face sucked-out graph with a horribly ugly booming 100 Hz peak and virtually no midrange to speak of. The area from 80-120 Hz or so (the BOOM zone) is nearly 15 dB louder than the vast majority of the midrange, and the treble is beyond "icepick" territory. So what gives? How does something that measures this poorly gain a "Class A" rating from this magazine?

    It just irritates me to no end that a loudspeaker that costs eight thousand dollars can be sold with such off-kilter measurements, and the s̶h̶i̶l̶l̶s̶ gentlemen at Stereophile will give it such superlative praise as "finest ever" and "flat-out musical fun," and describe such screechy treble as "smooth, wide open, and grain-free." Then he goes on to say that the speakers have "immaculate transparency." I've always suspected that when reviewers describe something as "alive" and "transparent," they actually mean "tipped-up treble with no midrange." This seems to confirm that!
  2. MichaelXX2

    MichaelXX2 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    United States
    I also refuse to believe that any kind of natural stereo imaging can come out of a speaker with such a Himalayan mess as this step-response chart.

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  3. misterdecibel

    misterdecibel Bulbous Also Tapered

    Some of that 100Hz peak is an artifact of John Atkinson's measurement regimen.
    jusbe, Helom and Mike-48 like this.
  4. B. Scarpia

    B. Scarpia WatchingYouWatchingMe

    I don't read the Mags and like you, haven't heard the speaker. However, I listen to music, not graphs.
  5. MichaelXX2

    MichaelXX2 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    United States
    It is entirely possible for something to sound good and also measure well.
    Paully, head_unit, LarryP and 6 others like this.
  6. I think the summary in John Atkinson’s measurements spells it out pretty clearly.
    shug4476 and unclefred like this.
  7. jtw

    jtw Forum Resident

    Flat speakers are boring to many, if not most.
  8. Ya, like pancakes without syrup.
    CDFanatic, Pkcpga, OhHiMahk and 5 others like this.
  9. Wayne Nielson

    Wayne Nielson Forum Resident

    My House
    Of course, the listening room will add its own take on the graph(s). I have a pair of KG-4s that probably don't graph well, but I still like them. I'll bet that many "historical" speakers don't graph all that well, but they do make a presence that make a statement, even if they are imperfect.
  10. oktapod

    oktapod Forum Resident

    Do you measure your wine to decide if it’s any good? Just asking…..
    tlowe, Bananas&blow, trd and 6 others like this.
  11. Wayne Nielson

    Wayne Nielson Forum Resident

    My House
    BTW, lets add a graph of the listener's hearing response. So we have speaker response, room response and listener response and it all came out perfectly flat.
    trd, punkmusick, dennem and 2 others like this.
  12. doctor fuse

    doctor fuse Forum Resident

    I try to measure as much as I can, when I make my own wine - from the soil, to the fruit, to the pH and sugar content. Of course, most of the process is up to the little yeasties, but measuring and monitoring sure helps! :D
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2021 at 2:00 PM
    Paully, trd, Soundgarden and 4 others like this.
  13. Mad shadows

    Mad shadows Forum Resident

    Karlskrona- Sweden
    For me listening is the golden standard. Measurements might give clues to the sound of a loudspeaker.
  14. vinylkid58

    vinylkid58 Forum Resident

    Victoria, B.C.
    Some wines do come with a rating. This isn't a new thing. Wine Spectator

    If I'm going to spend a certain amount on a bottle, it better have more than 90 points.

  15. I guess over the years I’ve come to believe this:

    “With audio my eyes can lie while my ears speak the truth.”
    cleandan, Dave, intv7 and 1 other person like this.
  16. jbmcb

    jbmcb Forum Resident

    Troy, MI, USA
    5dB down at 15KHz, then 15dB down at 20KHz? Can these be called full-range speakers?

    I had an old pair of maggies that measured similarly (pre-quasi ribbon, and they were *not* marketed as full-range) You could absolutely tell, my MGMC1s are *much* clearer through the treble.
  17. Otlset

    Otlset under western skies

    Temecula, CA
    "Your ears are lying" -- Mr. Expectation Bias
    Mike-48 likes this.
  18. My ears never lie. They told me so.
    RockAddict, cleandan, Dave and 5 others like this.
  19. jtw

    jtw Forum Resident

    And add cartridge, phone preamp response, etc. etc.
  20. oktapod

    oktapod Forum Resident

    A rating isn’t a measurement though. It’s subjective, as it should be. Another example: You can’t measure the quality of a painting by any scientific means….
  21. timind

    timind phorum rezident

    Am I the only one who thinks it odd the review of these fairly large speakers would be conducted in this room? Listening Room: 12' L by 10' W by 12' H, system set up along long wall; suspended wood floor, 6"-thick walls (plaster over 2x4), wood-beamed ceiling.—Ken Micallef
    He states the speakers were 5.5 feet from his listening chair. Who is going to place these speakers in a room that size?
    BSU, Sneaky Pete, okc_craft and 5 others like this.
  22. Tell me about it. I had a what I thought was the original painting of
    Édouard Manet’s “A Bar at the Folis-Bergėre” until I scraped a bit of the paint off and saw the numbers underneath.
    Tony C. likes this.
  23. MLutthans

    MLutthans That's my spaghetti, Chewbacca! Staff

    Altecs x3.jpg
    My three Altec A8s, which have been in a very large space in my garage in Washington for about 15 years, are temporarily stashed in a tiny room in my basement in Kansas. I have not actually hooked them up (and maybe won't do so in this space), but my ears are already mildly terrified at the thought.
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2021 at 3:31 PM
  24. MichaelXX2

    MichaelXX2 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    United States
    I bet these would sound great playing Layla and Wheels of Fire and other Tom Dowd productions.
  25. vinylkid58

    vinylkid58 Forum Resident

    Victoria, B.C.
    Correct. So why did you bring it up?

    timind likes this.

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