speaker analysis

marvda1marvda1 Posts: 2,913
when you listen to a pair of speakers for the first time what is the first thing you listen for?
for me, i zero in on tonality first then balance, extension, pace, imaging, and soundstage width, height and depth.
how about you?
Amplifiers: MasterSound Compact 845, Ayre v6xe, Consonance Cyber 800, Usher R1.5
Preamp: deHavilland Ultraverve 3
Transport/Dac: Cayin Venus cd-100i, Musical Paradise mp-d2 mkI
Speakers: Rosso Fiorentino Volterra
Speaker Cables: Analysis Plus Black Mesh Oval 9, Cerious Technologies Graphene Extreme
Interconnects: Analysis Plus Copper Oval-In Micro, MG Audio Design Planus Cu2,
Cerious Technologies Graphene Extreme
Power Cables by: Cullen Cables, 6sons Audio, Swiss Cables

Comments

  • NightfallNightfall Posts: 7,348
    Unless something is very obvious with them that's hard to not hear first (very bright horns) I'm putting on Tool "Lateralus" and listening to the imaging.
    afterburnt wrote: »
    They didn't speak a word of English, they were from South Carolina.
  • I can tell you the last, $,$$$.
    Studio 2 equipment;
    Yamaha a-s2100 Amp, CD-2100 CD player, T-S500 tuner
    Loudspeakers: Harbeth p3esr, Polk RT7
    Cables: Aural Harmony Sonnet Interconnect II, WireWorld Equinox 7 speaker,
    Black Cat silverstar 75 ohm digital, Signal Digital Power Cord, PS Audio Perfect Wave AC-3,
    Pangea SE14, Voltz supplied interconnects
    Optional: Arcam DV88 DVD/CD (HDCD) player, Polk SDS-400 speakers
  • txcoastal1txcoastal1 Posts: 9,249
    I would say tonality. Been to shows and as you walk down halls you will here sounds that grab you and pull you into the room. Been surprised several times with system that performed way above their pay grade.
    2-channel: Modwright KWI-200 Integrated, Dynaudio C1-II Signatures, Simaudio 780D DAC
    Desktop rig: LSi7, Polk 110sub, Dayens Ampino amp, W4S DAC/pre, Sonos, JRiver
    Gear on standby: Melody 101 tube pre, Modwright LS100, Unison Research Simply Italy Integrated
    Gone to new homes: (Matt Polk's)Threshold Stasis SA12e monoblocks, Pass XA30.5 amp, Usher MD2 speakers, Dynaudio C4 platinum speakers
  • lightman1lightman1 Posts: 9,273
    Tone first and then how they can present a stage. Of course, depending on the front end gear, the signal sent is just as important.
  • treitz3treitz3 Posts: 12,279
    Wow, that's an open-ended question.

    I start with overall presentation, then frequency, clarity, then I look for any congestion and evaluate overall coherancy. At this point, if I am impressed, I'll get into the finer subtlties, bass and mid-bass response, sound staging and imaging, texture, natural rolloff, tone and a pristine upper most top end reproduction.

    I'll inquire about what's upstream, what cabling and power components are used as well as the ohm rating of the speakers and wattage and type of the amplifier. At this point, if the speaker is impressive enough, I'll ask to listen to a track or tracks that I am intimately familiar with.

    Here is where I get into the intricacies of the reproduction, I.E., height, depth, width, spatial locational cues, aura of individual instruments and singers, the separation thereof and how they all lay out within the sound stage.

    I ask myself if they are good enough for casual listening listening or critical listening? Could they perform exceedingly well on both or just one? Do they sound good at low listening levels as well as when you crank it up or are they somewhat limited to a particular volume? Is the size of the recording venue accurate, bloated or smaller than it should be?

    Can you clearly distinguish when multiple drum kicks are represented during busy passages and is the impact of a drum strike equally, yet separately distinguished during the same bust passages? During these busy passages, is the bass guitar and strike of a guitar separate and still distinguishable from the rest of the instruments or singer? Does the shimmer of a cymbal strike shimmer and fade off naturally or do I just hear a quick "Tsst" and that's it? Can I distinguish if it's an unwanted artifact or a finger sliding or lightly plucking a guitar string?

    I look for accuracy but there is a line here that can (in my book) be crossed. After evaluating these and more aspects of a speaker I audition for the first time, the most important question I ask myself is this;

    Do the speakers move me to the point of wanting to tap my toes or do I just sit there and listen?

    Tom

    In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence.

    The best way to enjoy digital music reproduction is to never listen to good analogue reproduction.
  • treitz3treitz3 Posts: 12,279
    One more thing I forgot to mention. Is the speaker able to let you move? There is nothing more frustrating to me than a speaker in which you are limited to a sweet spot that resides in a 1" swath. If I can't shift and get a little bit more comfortable whilst in the sweet spot, then all other evaluations become a mute point as this would make the speakers no longer a "contender".

    Ya' GOTTA be comfortable when listening for hours on end, otherwise, your enjoyment level drops considerably.

    One last thing and I swear I'll shut up. If the speaker involuntarily gave me goosebumps? I'm ploppin' my big ol' but down and enjoying the music.

    Tom
    In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence.

    The best way to enjoy digital music reproduction is to never listen to good analogue reproduction.
  • treitz3treitz3 Posts: 12,279
    Okay, I lied.

    Is the speaker good at one genre of music or does it only shine on one? Can it do heavy rock music as well as a simple jazz ensemble? Is it as enjoyable to listen too with an orchestra as it is with listening to an organ or drum solo? Do musical genres and silent passages sound just as crisp and clear or enjoyable as others or is the speaker a one genre aspect type speaker?

    Sorry but this is almost a non-ending question and the more I think about it, the more comes up. I'm sure something else will pop into mind as soon as I hit "enter".

    Tom
    In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence.

    The best way to enjoy digital music reproduction is to never listen to good analogue reproduction.
  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 18,118
    General tone, blend of tweeter/midrange with vocals, LINEARITY, depth/accuracy of bass.
    Transport: Oppo BDP-103/USB HDD | Preamp/DAC: Benchmark DAC2L | Power Amp: Parasound Halo A21 | Speakers: PSB Imagine T2 | Cables: Signal Cable XLR; Kimber 8TC; DH Labs D-75 | AC Power: Panamax M5300-PM
  • K_MK_M Posts: 993
    Ease of listening. Tonality is part of that, and anything that stands out, usually is not right.
    Some of my favorite female vocals, usually will pinpoint, the good, the bad and the truly great or ugly!
    Lsi15, Lsi9, LsiC,Rta11t,M5jr+,M4,SDA 3.1TL, SDA SRS 2.3TL, Rti6....Still listing stuff, a work in progress.
    B+W-
    Epos-
    Infinity-
    Advent-

  • Joey_VJoey_V Posts: 6,350
    Staging first for me.
    Joey's Gear:
    Current Gear:
    Emm Labs DAC2x and TSDX Transport -> Cary SLP-05 preamp -> Boulder 2060 stereo amp (w/ Audioquest WEL Signature B) ) -> new speakers -> :D
    Rotel RA1592 Super Integrated -> Sonus Faber Olympica 3 -> :o
    Rotel RC1570 preamp -> Rotel RB1582 amp -> B&W PM1 -> o:)

    Old Gear:
    Speakers: Rockport Aviors (5/5), Sonus Faber Stradivari (5/5), BW 802D2 (4.5/5), Martin Logan Summits (4.25/5), Martin Logan Vantage (4/5), Sonus Faber Cremona Auditor (3.75/5), AV123 Strata Mini (3.5/5), ML Mosaic (3.25/5), Onix Ref1 (3/5), Sonus Faber Concerto (2.75/5), SF Concertino (2.5/5), Axiom M22ti (2/5), Polk LSi9 (3/5), LSi7 (2.9/5)
    Source: Squeezebox 3 -> PS Audio Digital Link III -> Cary 306/200 CDP -> Cary 306 SACD -> EMM LABS DAC2X/TSDX
    Preamplification: Rotel RC1070 -> Rogue Perseus -> Cary SLP98 -> Cary SLP98F1 -> Cary SLP05 (sold and then repurchased)
    Amplification: HK AVR330 -> Rotel RB1070 -> Rotel RB1090 -> Plinius SA102 -> Cary 211FE -> Classe M600 -> Boulder 2060
    Subwoofer: Infinity Entra2 sub -> SVS 25-31PC+ sub
  • LegenderLegender Posts: 422
    Thanks @treitz3 ... very enlightening and insightful for those of us wading in the kiddie pool of sound and wanting to swim with the big boys. I found your analysis process informative. I find this forum has a wide range of experience and knowledge and appreciate those who take the time to share.
    Music: Oppo103 - Parasound JC2 - Parasound A21- SDA 3.1
    Theater: Denon 3808 - B&K 7500/Emotiva XPA-3- RTi12, CSi5, RTiA7x4, PSW505
    Sleeping: Marantz 70005 - Harman Kardon 2400 - SDA 2
    2 Channel: Cary 306 SACD - Canary Audio 906 - Pass Labs x250 - PS Audio Perfectwave DAC, Polk LSiM705, SVS SB13 Ultra
    Office: Dell Optiplex, Emotiva XDA-2, Adcom 5500, LSiM 703
    Spares: Yamaha CA-810; LSi 15; Kenwood Basic M2a, Yamaha M60/M80, Polk Monitor 7, SVS SB13 Ultra
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 28,721
    I might agree with Tom in all those aspects. I too like a speaker that can do all things well with any genre. Your always going to find speakers that excel at some things, but then they may not at many other areas. Balance of quality sound I guess is a better way of putting it. A well balanced speaker and you don't have to worry about the genre of music and they are easy to listen to and tap your toes to.

    I might add, when auditioning speakers you have to take note of the upstream electronic and cabling. You really have no idea what a speaker is capable of until the upstream gear is of decent quality.
    HT SYSTEM-
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony BRP
    Tad bookies
    Polk 500 surrounds
    Polk s35 center
    SVS SB-2000
    Sonos

    Music-

    Joule la-100 pre
    B&k 1403 amp
    Cary xciter dac
    Cullen modded Sonos
    ERA D5 bookies

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Analysis plus crystal oval ic's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable
  • lightman1lightman1 Posts: 9,273
    lightman1 wrote: »
    Tone first and then how they can present a stage. Of course, depending on the front end gear, the signal sent is just as important.

    Pay attention, Tony. Grab another cup o java and reflect. :*
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 28,721
    lightman1 wrote: »
    lightman1 wrote: »
    Tone first and then how they can present a stage. Of course, depending on the front end gear, the signal sent is just as important.

    Pay attention, Tony. Grab another cup o java and reflect. :*

    I'm too broke to even pay attention Russ. lol
    HT SYSTEM-
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony BRP
    Tad bookies
    Polk 500 surrounds
    Polk s35 center
    SVS SB-2000
    Sonos

    Music-

    Joule la-100 pre
    B&k 1403 amp
    Cary xciter dac
    Cullen modded Sonos
    ERA D5 bookies

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Analysis plus crystal oval ic's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable
  • LegenderLegender Posts: 422
    Like many specialized fields, abbreviations or unique terminology exists and is used among the experts that can cause newbies to get lost. There is a learning curve that must be climbed if you're tackling this new.
    I can remember in the 70s's when I asked my dad what a tweeter was, he had no idea. Of, course now it means something entirely different to some.
    Quick search found this online that might be helpful to some of us:

    If you’re not an audiophile, you’ll discover that a lot of the language you read in trade magazines or hear at retailers is somewhat esoteric. An understanding of some basic terms should make it easier to establish a dialogue with your salespeople and help them help you.

    TREBLE: We’ve all experienced speakers that overemphasize the treble—the result is a sound we often refer to as “thin” or “tinny”. Well-defined treble integrates with the rest of the sound, providing fullness. If the treble lacks power, the sound is dull and lifeless.

    MIDRANGE: What we tend to hear most clearly and distinctly occurs in the midrange. It stands to reason that imperfections here will generally stand out. Clear, powerful vocals will generally indicate a good midrange; if you’re uncertain, it might pay to listen to a spoken word recording and listen for a muffled or nasal sound quality, which would come from poor midrange response.

    BASS: Despite what you may hear on the city streets, good-sounding bass should not overwhelm treble and midrange. Clarity is the key; the bass notes should not be too heavy or too thin. Remember, though, that, if you like the sound of the treble and midrange on a given speaker, a weaker bass sound can be enhanced using a subwoofer.

    A couple of other considerations enter into the mix…and you’ll get bonus points for being able to discuss them intelligently with your salesperson!

    SOUNDSTAGE: The best thing about great speakers is that they give you the sense of listening to the music in a concert hall, arena or coffeehouse. If the speakers accurately reproduce the soundstage, you should be able to pinpoint the location of the individual musicians from left to right…and even derive a pretty accurate sense of depth.

    DYNAMIC RANGE: Virtually any speaker can play loudly. Excellent speakers can play loudly—or at a whisper—without losing the clarity of each instrument. That ability defines its dynamic range.


    It's a journey more than a destination. Enjoy the travel.
    Music: Oppo103 - Parasound JC2 - Parasound A21- SDA 3.1
    Theater: Denon 3808 - B&K 7500/Emotiva XPA-3- RTi12, CSi5, RTiA7x4, PSW505
    Sleeping: Marantz 70005 - Harman Kardon 2400 - SDA 2
    2 Channel: Cary 306 SACD - Canary Audio 906 - Pass Labs x250 - PS Audio Perfectwave DAC, Polk LSiM705, SVS SB13 Ultra
    Office: Dell Optiplex, Emotiva XDA-2, Adcom 5500, LSiM 703
    Spares: Yamaha CA-810; LSi 15; Kenwood Basic M2a, Yamaha M60/M80, Polk Monitor 7, SVS SB13 Ultra
  • jawhogjawhog Posts: 429
    I put on a few choice tracks I've used for years and listen for how specific passages sound. I live for crunchy guitar so mid range balance is important. Queens of the Stone Age "the lost art of keeping a secret" has this amazing guitar tone that has to sound great for the speaker to have a chance with me, then the chorus has these thunderous bass overtones that you wouldn't even know are there with many speakers. It's a great favorite test song of mine. Then if that sounds good I put on Fool in the Rain, which has a very forward mix, can sound very weird on speakers with pronounced mids. If both those songs pass the basic screening test then I go for longer listening sessions.
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 16,941
    so -- 9.3 times out of 11 ;) this is the first track I play (a real copy, not the YT link) when I evaluate something new to me -- be it loudspeakers or an amplifier or (heh) wires or whatever.


    "It's like watching a roomful of people who couldn't get through college algebra discussing the flaws of quantum physics theory. I guess it could be fun, but it's ultimately a waste of time." -- seen on audiokarma

    "Some amps run on self bias, some amps run on fixed bias. But his amps run on confirmation bias." -- seen on audioasylum

  • mantismantis Posts: 14,719
    Speakers are a tuff one for me. I try to go in very open minded and let them move me. I look for an emotional connection first. I don't study what they can do or not , I go at them as if I was checking out a new band. I just listen and go for a ride. If they move me then I go into what they can and can not do but none of that matters to me if I don't feel it.
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.
  • MrBuhlMrBuhl Posts: 2,205
    steveinaz wrote: »
    General tone, blend of tweeter/midrange with vocals, LINEARITY, depth/accuracy of bass.

    ^^ nailed it for me, at first listen for me its always about how balanced they are, top to bottom ^^ Many things come in later, but it starts with balanced.

    9 times out of 10 I use Dire Straits - Making Movies to evaluate.

    VA HT HK AVR20II, Sony S9000ES CD/DVD/SACD, Polk Audio RC80i / Polk Audio CSi3, 60" Panasonic Plasma, Nordost / Signal Cable A2 / Wireworld / Pangea / Magic Power
    VA 2 Channel ,Dodd 50W Dual Mono EL34 Amp, MFA based Cocci Tube Preamp, Polk SDA2BTL (fully modded), A/L 1000VA Dreadnought, Canare 4s11 SDA cable, Sony S9000ES CD/DVD/SACD, Music Hall mmf 5.1 Turntable, Vincent Pho-700 Phono Pre, MIT S3 IC's / MIT Shotgun S3 Speaker Cables / Pangea & Signal Cable MP power
    Noggin Schiit Valhalla, Pangea, Phillips Fidelio X1, Polk UF8000
    LA Pass Labs X150.5 Amp, Eastern Electric MiniMax Preamp, Polk LSIM705, Marantz DV8300 SACD, Audioengine B1, MIT AVt3 Speaker & RCA Cables, PS Audio Power Punch power cables

    Dodd Mid Level Preamp ("on the bench" w/Charlie)
    Polk SDA1c modded
    Polk CRS+ 4.1TL modded (need veneer)
    Soundcraftsmen PCR800
    Yamaha YP-D6
    Signal Cable Silver Resolution IC's
    Audible Illusions L1 Preamp
    McCormack DNA-1 Power Drive Amp
    Eastern Electric Minimax CDP
    Infinity RS5b Speakers

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