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. Oddiofyl

    Oddiofyl Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Boston
    I heard the Rival also at a show, not the best place often to really listen....and thought they sounded great. I look at specs, but in the end I judge with my ears.
     
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  2. Musicphil

    Musicphil Well-Known Member

    Location:
    West mids uk
    It's probably because how a piece of a equipment measures sometimes has no bearing on how it sounds
    This is why the only measurement that really matters is your ears!
     
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  3. slovell

    slovell Retired Mudshark

    Location:
    Chesnee, SC, USA
    They're smoking hundred dollar bills courtesy of their advertisers.
     
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  4. popol_vuh

    popol_vuh Forum Resident

    Location:
    Croatia
    This is a completely ridiculous notion IMO. What's supposed to be a certain way (exciting, in this case) is the recording itself. And the speaker should show what's on recordint accurately. A speaker that is itself "exciting" adds this to every recording. This is like putting ketchup on every single meal you have.
     
  5. Tony C.

    Tony C. Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portugal
    You are on the right track, but the analogy is overblown. Choosing a speaker that, for example, is a touch more forward than neutral, perhaps emphasizing the mid-range and highs slightly, would be much more like adding salt to a meal, not ketchup, and some prefer that.

    I agree that a perfectly neutral system will more faithfully reproduce the original recording, but let's not forget that recordings are invariably "seasoned" by sound engineers, so even on the best, most neutral system, they will sound different than the music as it was originally played. In that context, is it really blasphemous for listeners to add a bit of spice to their own personal tastes?
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2021 at 5:31 AM
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  6. popol_vuh

    popol_vuh Forum Resident

    Location:
    Croatia
    Doesn't matter if it's ketchup, salt or something else (that part speaks only about the quantity of wrongness, but the principle is still the same). It's making the recording different than what the recording, mixing and mastering guys (in collaboration with artists) intended. I don't want to listen to my equipment's interpretation, I want to hear what's on the medium. That's why this is called high-fidelity (to the recorded source, not to the live/unamplified music). Of course, studio monitors are not all the same, we cannot know how the thing sounded on the studio system, yada yada. But neutral frequency response and speakers that are not deliberately designed/voiced to sound a certain way is a starting point. Also, the argument about recorded material being different to live material is irrelevant in this particular argument, because that clearly is the way you're saying and I never said or thought otherwise. The relevant thing in my argument is that I'd rather listen to the record sound engineer's work because I view that as an integral part of music. I listen to many artists who treat studio as an instrument. I want to hear their creations, as they intended them, not my speaker manufacturer's idea of "exciting" or "xy" sound. I find that even somewhat offensive to the artists, the idea that we'll somehow make their recordings better with our systems. That's such an entitled, consumerist approach to things.
     
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  7. Kyhl

    Kyhl On break

    Location:
    Savage
    I can say with certainty this speaker is not for me simply by the graphs. While I love dynamic speakers and miss them, I've also lived with speakers that had a 5 Db rise at 3khz. While fun at first, they grow painful over time.

    I won't ever go down that road again.

    What I gather from that article is that the author has little in common with me regarding speakers. The mids is where the magic happens. The bass and treble round it out and dynamics gives it life.

    What we need is an affordable high efficiency (dynamic) speaker that measures flat to slightly trailing down and is phase and time coherent. That would be something special.
     
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  8. popol_vuh

    popol_vuh Forum Resident

    Location:
    Croatia
    For me, any sound quality that is obvious and that somewhat jumps out is the reason not to go for that component. It always gets annoying really fast. The thing that sounds "right", balanced and "unimpressive" is the thing that sticks.
     
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  9. Tony C.

    Tony C. Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portugal
    You make some good points earlier in your above post, but this:

    suggests a remarkably unrealistic view of the market, which is, by its very nature, "consumerist". In other words, it is silly to suggest that speaker manufacturers somehow impose their preferences on consumers, as it is the latter who either respond favorably of unfavorably to various products. I'm sure we would agree that there are consumers who are so influenced by brand names, reviews and advertising, that they end up liking gear which is far from neutral. But ultimately, people buy and use what sounds good to them, and it is arrogant to suggest that those who choose other than perfect neutrality (e.g. every single tube amp user!) are necessarily degrading the experience.

    Finally, to suggest that subtle variances away from perfect neutrality are somehow an insult to artists is ludicrous, as they are vastly more concerned about their music having an emotional impact on listeners, than whether or not their recordings reach their ears in pristine form.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2021 at 8:32 AM
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  10. tIANcI

    tIANcI Wondering when the hifi madness will end

    Location:
    Malaysia
    The room is a factor. His personal taste is a factor. The components used to pair with the speaker is a factor.

    Perhaps somehow all the planets were aligned for him?
     
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  11. dial

    dial Well-Known Member

    Location:
    FRANCE
    I was banned from 'em cos they believe in convide & NWO. But they forgot to skip me from AP.
    For loudspeakers I build all by myself (push push no more). They measure well but not great.
     
  12. jtw

    jtw Forum Resident

    I don't understand why people don't get it. Per Fletcher-Munson or equal loudness curves, if you're listening to a recording at a volume lower than the volume it was mastered, you're not hearing it as intended. You'll be hearing much less bass and treble. Boring.
     
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  13. elvisizer

    elvisizer Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Jose
    that's what the volume knob is for isn't it? :)
    I definitely do fall to one side of this debate, but I don't really think it makes sense to argue about it online- this all just about people's preferences.
    As long as studio monitors exist there'll be flat speakers so it's not like either side has to worry about the type of product they like disappearing from the market.
     
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  14. I agree, personally find perfectly neutral speakers only sound great at higher volumes. If I plan on listening at medium to lower volumes I like my speakers to have a bit of a curve. And many hifi or higher end loudspeaker companies take this into consideration. I think that’s where peoples personal preference, room size and volume levels all come into play. I found many of my friends that enjoy very neutral speakers also like to listen fairly loud compared to listening levels I enjoy listening at. The reason the Harmon curve and Fletcher-Munson exists, not everyone agrees or likes them but the majority seem to, so companies take the available studies into consideration when building their speakers. Since their goal is to sell their equipment and not measure it. I personally don’t look at measurements at all besides setting up a room, prefer what my ears like.
     
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  15. elvisizer

    elvisizer Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Jose
    If you only want a curve SOME of the time, this seems like an argument AGAINST voiced speakers and for using DSP/EQ, no?
    ok ok for real I'm not getting sucked in lol unwatching thread! :)
    have fun :righton:
     
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  16. True, many studios I’ve been lucky enough to be in, visiting a family member in the business, from Boston, NY, FL used tube preamps with tube or class A or AB amps, so that will add a touch of warmth over thx or something truly flat when mixing. I know he is personally very into tubes and horn speakers, something I’ll dip into but never fully jumped into. So people mixing the music aren’t always listening to neutral equipment to start with. And many popular music is very compressed and over edited so neutral equipment might be very harsh on it. All very personal, but I don’t think a reviewer should be dismissed by measurements over personal experience.
     
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  17. jtw

    jtw Forum Resident

    Yes! These equal loudness curves would suggest that the best solution is to use DSP/EQ. But when normal listening is low compared to mastering levels, smiley faced speakers is a good start.

    The idea of hearing something as intended is a total unachievable pipe dream.
     
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  18. mkane

    mkane Strictly Analog

    Location:
    Cloverdale, CA
    We measure @ 3'. each speaker separately.
     
  19. patient_ot

    patient_ot Senior Member

    Location:
    USA
    I didn't know about this, but to me the guy is just a joke all the way around, and I wouldn't take anything he says too seriously or give him the time of day, or any YT clicks. I could say more but I'm being polite here. Racism sucks.

    Now as far as the speakers go. I guess they are an old fashioned design, meant for specific purpose, for a very specific type of customer. I doubt anyone buying them thinks they are getting the last word in FR accuracy.
     
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  20. patient_ot

    patient_ot Senior Member

    Location:
    USA
    I'm not gonna name names but there is a well-known audio hobbyist/part-time journalist that had a lot of trouble with a set of huge Maggies. The problem was related to room acoustics, which they hadn't considered before buying that type of speaker. I'm guessing the speakers sounded nice in the showroom, but they admitted the sound was terrible at home. Take a speaker with a certain response and a bad, untreated room can easily exacerbate the downsides and overshadow the upsides of the speaker. That could happen with any brand.
     
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  21. Otlset

    Otlset under western skies

    Location:
    Temecula, CA
    The Judge of Objective Measurements Hi-Fi will surely find you guilty. Your sentence: forced listening to a SS flat-measuring system in an overdamped room for one full year! Maybe by then your wayward ears will be rehabilitated from the cheap thrills of listening to speakers with lousy measurements.
     
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  22. Otlset

    Otlset under western skies

    Location:
    Temecula, CA
    Lol!
     
  23. MichaelXX2

    MichaelXX2 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    United States
    I think it's perfectly acceptable to enjoy a piece of hardware that does not measure all that well. I think smiley-measuring speakers, noisy and hashy R2R DACs, euphonic tube amps and all that are perfectly fine. Perfect measurements for everything isn't a requirement for a system to have absolutely gorgeous or exciting sound. My problem comes when these companies design and build these speakers with obvious, measurable, audible flaws, tout stuff like "expansive soundstage" and "full range, glorious" sound on the product page, and sell it for $9k. I just don't think it's ethical or desirable to sell poor design at a premium, and I think it's the responsibility of audio reviewers to point out that a speaker simply isn't performing like an expensive hi-fi speaker should. I feel the same way about tube amps with 5-10% harmonic distortion that sell for five figure asking prices, or DACs that actually output the dreaded "stair-step" and create audible problems by doing so, and selling that at a premium. You can get poorly measuring, "fun" equipment at Best Buy for way less than these jokers are selling this birch plywood squawk box for.

    Recommending a crappy design because it sounds "fun" is one thing when the crappy design is a result of cutting costs, but when you're in this price range, to sell something like this intentionally and then have a legion of people come to your defense because "measurements aren't everything" when you can buy speakers that measure much better AND sound just as good for half the price is just ridiculous. Do we not have an obligation to question why a poor design is so expensive? Where is that money going?
     
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  24. Unfortunately I would probably be bored to death first.
     
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  25. MattHooper

    MattHooper Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    Actually "Hi Fidelity" or "Hi-Fi" has traditionally been associated with a system's fidelity to the sound of live (typically unamplified) music. That's the concept it grew out of, and that's why it was presented to the public on exactly those grounds:


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Of course there is nothing wrong with defining a term for your purposes, and these days there is certainly a contingent who see "Hi Fidelity" in terms of technical accuracy in regards to the recorded signal. Which is perfectly reasonable.

    But it does get a bit tiresome to see the claim so often repeated that "Hi-Fi MEANS X" in a way that implies "By definition you are doing this hobby wrong if you depart from technical accuracy to the signal."


    Well...that's certainly...an opinion :)

    I think your desire to try and reproduce the recorded signal as accurately as possible is perfectly reasonable.
    (Even if it detours less coherently down some philosophical rabbit-holes...)

    I personally don't worry about some level of deviation in accuracy, e.g. of the type being discussed for the speakers in question. I also use tube amplifiers which some in the Pure Technical Accuracy camp deride - "why would you risk imparting ANY audible distortion? Don't you want to hear the artist's intent????!!!"

    I see this as making a mountain out of molehill (which is of course what we audiophiles do). The particular sonic characteristics of the music VASTLY swamp the level of distortion my tube amp, or even a speaker like the Volti, produce. The song is still there, the melodies, the instrumentation, the performance, the particularities of the voices, the production choices of mixing, reverbs etc, etc. It all comes through. Hell most of it comes through on a laptop, or earbuds, or car stereo! Or even the old radios and cheap turntable set ups much of the public has used to imbibe music. That's why someone who only ever listened to music on a cheap radio, or cheap turntable, was able to fall in love with the Beatles over the Stones.

    Generally speaking, Recording Artists care above all that people listen to and enjoy their music. Whatever facilitates that is a good thing.

    So I don't sweat this desire to ensure as close to zero deviation from the signal as possible. I like nudging my system in the direction that makes it sound more beguiling, and hence music listening is that much more compelling on my system, to me. With my own system, even if my tube amp introduced some slight level of distortion, and even if I introduce some more with vinyl, I'm still listening in "higher fidelity" than the vast majority of music lovers have ever dreamed of and finger waggers going on about "how can you abide any distortions in your system, don't you care about The Artist's Work?" are to me tempests in a teapot ;-)
     
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