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soundminded

Crossovers vs. Equalizers

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IDon't tell audiophiles that between the microphone and the output of their phono preamp the signal they have gotten has undergone at least six stages of equalization and if it was processed with Dolby A fourteen even if the mixdown balance engineer didn't do any creative knob twiddling.

Not when I could reverse engineer most of them I see for a fraction of the cost if there was actually one that came along that I liked.

The EQ that takes place before it reaches the speaker (that they chose with their "superior" hearing) is of no consequence to them.

The average audiophile likes high-end equipment--especially speakers--because they provide a sense of self-affirmation and can be a source of public acclaim.

("Wow, you have some great-sounding speakers here. "

"Yes, I chose the Beta 106's from among the 100's I auditioned, even though I had to go drive 1400 miles to the only dealer in the country who carries them. But only the 106's satisfied my critical, expertly-trained ear."

"Wow...you really know your stuff."

That's sort of how it goes, many times.)

This audiophile mentality is merely an observation on my part, not a comment on whether it's good or bad, right or wrong, scientifically valid or not.

Who am I to say, to pass judgment on what makes the whole audiophile process enjoyable to someone else?

As for SM's ability to engineer a better system for himself at a fraction of the cost, I have no doubt he can do so.

But I'm simply trying to make accurate observations of audiophile behavior, not comment on whether they're 'right' or 'wrong.'

Again, having to use a graphic EQ to correct their expensive speaker's inadequate performance is not what Joe Playback wants to do. Using a device to remove noise or increase 'ambiance' or use the AES, that's 'different.' in their mind.

Steve F.

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Note that in some ways I am a purist, and one of those ways involves the way I use an equalizer. I have Rane and AudioControl units in my two systems and I equalize all three front channels in each for flat response using the RTA measuring technique I prefer. After that, the units are left alone and I leave it to the recording engineers to deliver the goods for me. I rarely diddle with tone controls and I never mess with the equalizer slides after the initial set up.

This is pretty much what I used to do with mine. A friend who operated an audio shop helped set the EQ on my first two homes using his testbench equipment, and all I ever did during everyday listening was tweak tone controls. The last home I had, my friend ran the tests and concluded that the results were good enough that the EQ would be a waste of effort for the kind of listening I was doing, and it went into a closet. Since then my friend has sold his shop and retired and I have moved away, so the EQ is still in a box. I think my current room could use a bit of LF reduction, but so far I haven't worked up the ambition to do anything about it, either by ear or with measuring equipment (which I no longer have available to me).

The "Joe Playback" analysis is fascinating, because it turns out I'm a lot more complicated than I realized. I thought I was just lazy and cheap.

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I don't know from "audiophile mentality," but .............. if someone came out with a system in which sources contained data that playback equipment could read and use to self-adjust using mikes hidden in the listening area to produce a fully calibrated record/play chain, I'd be reaching for my wallet.

I believe those systems exist today. Pricey, but they're available.

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I believe those systems exist today. Pricey, but they're available.

You can buy preamps and receivers that generate test tones, pick up speaker output and self-adjust levels for HT surround and even FR, and CDs, tapes and LPs with tones that can be used to include the players in the calibration, but what's missing is somebody doing a similar analysis at the time live music is recorded and providing some kind of calibration data for the part of the chain between the original mikes and the media that the playback equipment can include in its adjustments. So you're still limited to calibrating only the part of the path that goes from the recording to the listening space and not from the original live performance.

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The best a good speaker designer can do is design for flat and smooth response (or maybe allow for some downward sloping towards the treble to complement current treble-hot recording practices, and maybe ramp up the low bass a bit to allow for commonly floppy room boundaries) and then hope that recording engineers turn out discs that complement good speaker design........

Howard Ferstler

The changes that have occurred over the past 20 yrs in mixing, multi-channeling, and escalating sound wars have, in many cases, trashed that hope. However, if one is selective, very good quality recordings are still available - at least for most non-'rap,pop&rock' genres.

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but what's missing is somebody doing a similar analysis at the time live music is recorded and providing some kind of calibration data for the part of the chain between the original mikes and the media that the playback equipment can include in its adjustments.

Soundminded will provide the settings.

All you have to do is program your laptop to make the appropriate adjustments for each cut.... :)

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Soundminded will provide the settings.

All you have to do is program your laptop to make the appropriate adjustments for each cut.... :)

The problem is that the settings only work for one system. I didn't calibrate the systems to be alike and therefore, each recording has its own calibration settings for each system. DUH! And I do record the correct settings for each one so that I can get back to them. This whole issue points out how the entire idea of high fidelity has been perverted. There are no standards for recordings, no standards for playback, no two systems in the world sound exactly alike. A recording that sounds perfect on one system will sound less than perfect on another, even if that system is the same equipment in a different room or in the same room with the speakers in different locations. What's more the equpment designer provided no way to adjust the speakers for the room acoustics. Even the less than ideal midrange and tweeter controls we had in the past are mostly gone. Why were they "less than ideal" (actually almost useless)? Because they adjusted both the direct and reflected sound simultaneously. They not only changed the sound of reflections off the room surfaces, they changed the sound that arrived directly also. Bose made exactly the same mistake with 901 (among many.)

The problem with Davis was that even with Soundfield, he didn't go nearly far enough. He stopped about 80 yards short of the finish line. He only got to the 20 yard line. At least he was headed in the right direction though. Lots of thought and patience is needed to correct these problems. IMO it can be done and so can a lot more.

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The problem is that the settings only work for one system. I didn't calibrate the systems to be alike and therefore, each recording has its own calibration settings for each system. DUH! And I do record the correct settings for each one so that I can get back to them. This whole issue points out how the entire idea of high fidelity has been perverted. There are no standards for recordings, no standards for playback, no two systems in the world sound exactly alike.

Which brings this discussion full circle. If there's no real audio accuracy for sale, we buy the speakers that sound best to us in our own rooms hooked up to our own equipment, put on some records and sit back with a glass of wine, and unless we become sufficiently fascinated with speaker design as a hobby or try to make a living at it, there's no point in making any modding attempts on any 4x's until Dave finishes his and posts some listening impressions on how the sound is different from where they started out.

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You can buy preamps and receivers that generate test tones, pick up speaker output and self-adjust levels for HT surround and even FR, and CDs, tapes and LPs with tones that can be used to include the players in the calibration, but what's missing is somebody doing a similar analysis at the time live music is recorded and providing some kind of calibration data for the part of the chain between the original mikes and the media that the playback equipment can include in its adjustments. So you're still limited to calibrating only the part of the path that goes from the recording to the listening space and not from the original live performance.

I was referring to those systems that digitally compensate for your room's acoustics in real time.

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I was referring to those systems that digitally compensate for your room's acoustics in real time.

Like the Bose HT system I saw at the shopping mall for $2200 :)

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I was referring to those systems that digitally compensate for your room's acoustics in real time.

Which theoretically gets you closer to the high end audio ideal of playing a recording (but not the original live performance) with perfect accuracy. The technology that could get high enders closer than ever to their ideal is exactly what they tend to philosophically reject. :)

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Loudspeaker measurement technology has illuminated some options here: if we must look at the speaker in isolation from rooms to characterize it accurately, does that not suggest, in terms of achieving universal applicability, that there may be merit in designing speakers which operate largely independent of rooms as opposed to relying upon them as a major element in the final result?

The answer is, "Yes," and we know how to do that.... :)

The technology that could get high enders closer than ever to their ideal is exactly what they tend to philosophically reject. :lol:

Don't know how many times I said what nobody (but Steve F) ever seems to get: this is NOT about speakers.... :)

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Loudspeaker measurement technology has illuminated some options here: if we must look at the speaker in isolation from rooms to characterize it accurately, does that not suggest, in terms of achieving universal applicability, that there may be merit in designing speakers which operate largely independent of rooms as opposed to relying upon them as a major element in the final result?

The answer is, "Yes," and we know how to do that.... :)

I wouldn't disagree with that in principle, though I've yet to encounter a speaker whose manufacturer claimed was designed that way that sounded good to me. OTOH, I don't get out to hear new audio gear much because I live in a place where "audio" only seems to mean "home theater." :lol:

Don't know how many times I said what nobody (but Steve F) ever seems to get: this is NOT about speakers.... :)

As a topic for general discussion, certainly, but when it happens on a site devoted to speakers it's inevitable that the speaker's role in a system is going to get the most emphasis. This isn't "classicaudiosystempages.net."

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Loudspeaker measurement technology has illuminated some options here: if we must look at the speaker in isolation from rooms to characterize it accurately, does that not suggest, in terms of achieving universal applicability, that there may be merit in designing speakers which operate largely independent of rooms as opposed to relying upon them as a major element in the final result?

The answer is, "Yes," and we know how to do that.... :lol:

Don't know how many times I said what nobody (but Steve F) ever seems to get: this is NOT about speakers.... :)

The lack of design provisions to adapt the performance of a speaker to the rooms they will actually be used in in such a way that they will deliver predictable performance to the user by use of such means is an engineering failure. It's like designing a car that is anticipated to only be driven on straight roads without potholes. It shows its shortcomings as soon as you take it out on a real road. This failure is one reason why to critical ears they never produce sounds that closely resemble the sounds of acoustic instruments. That failure is also a reason to redefine the goal of high fidelity equipment to far more modest goals that are achievable. That is infinitely preferable being easier and cheaper to the task of figuring out why they don't achieve the prior goal and how to solve the problem. Those who work in the industry has proven they aren't up to the task.

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Not to me, but there seems to be a rather large contingent of audio equipment owners and tweakers who think nothing of radically modding crossovers and other speaker design parameters but won't use tone controls, much less equalizers.

I'm curious to see what the listening impressions are because every time I hear someone post that a speaker is flawed because it has a rise or suckout at some frequency or another the thought occurs to me that somewhere the designer is reading the post and grumbline, "I know it's got that, I designed it that way on purpose..."

I don't consider myself as ever having owned anything better than "mid high-end" gear but dating back to my first 'real" power contender in 1985 (my first Sansui 9090db) I haven't ever NOT used an equalizer. Started with the ADC SS3-IC and currently use 2 of the ADC SS525X. (for the variable volume control.)

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