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July 2016: Pioneer monitors

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Re: July 2016: Pioneer monitors

Postby Mixedup » Thu Jul 14, 2016 1:30 pm

Re the bass end thing. Obviously we'd all love superbly accurate monitoring systems that cover the whole range of human hearing. But that's BLOODY expensive, both in terms of the speaker side of the equation, and the architecture/acoustics. So there has to be a compromise somewhere. And to me, the lower reaches of bass are a sensible area in which to make that compromise on speakers in this sort of budget range. First, if you can afford to build a space that can handle 20-35Hz properly, you should be able to afford speakers/subs that give greater LF extension too. Second, other than for unwanted noises in the LFs, which are typically relatively low in level, easily HPF'ed on the individual tracks, and all but inaudible on most consumer playback systems, there's VERY little that you need to actually hear/feel down there. It's not like most bass sounds are sine waves; they all have harmonics that are very audible on most semi-decent speakers and those harmonics give you a very good indication of the perceived level. And drums/percussion... well... you just choose something that sounds good... so you end up choosing something that isn't so bloomin' low. And if you *want* to add low end with a layered pitched sine or something (a) you can specify that pitch easily enough, and (b) assuming the rest of the mix is well balanced, you can easily get it in the right ball park on a fairly slow-averaging frequency analyser. Just my 2 penneth...
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Re: July 2016: Pioneer monitors

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Jul 14, 2016 1:37 pm

...and/or by using headphones to remove both the room and speaker issues from the monitoring balance equation. ;)

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Re: July 2016: Pioneer monitors

Postby AdrianTatar » Thu Jul 14, 2016 4:50 pm

ef37a wrote:.........^........

And don't get me started on the other end of the spectrum!

Dave.

Please.
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Re: July 2016: Pioneer monitors

Postby ef37a » Thu Jul 14, 2016 9:54 pm

AdrianTatar wrote:
ef37a wrote:.........^........

And don't get me started on the other end of the spectrum!

Dave.

Please.
In keeping with the ideas of this forum, would you like to amplify?

Dave.
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Re: July 2016: Pioneer monitors

Postby AdrianTatar » Fri Jul 15, 2016 5:48 am

ef37a wrote:
AdrianTatar wrote:
ef37a wrote:.........^........

And don't get me started on the other end of the spectrum!

Dave.

Please.
In keeping with the ideas of this forum, would you like to amplify?

Dave.
When I wrote that, I did it thinking that maybe I'll have something to learn from another opinion. As long as the discussion unfolds based on real things without insults, I find it useful even if sometime is contradictory till someone prove that is right.
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Re: July 2016: Pioneer monitors

Postby ef37a » Fri Jul 15, 2016 6:15 am

AdrianTatar wrote:
ef37a wrote:
AdrianTatar wrote:
ef37a wrote:.........^........

And don't get me started on the other end of the spectrum!

Dave.

Please.
In keeping with the ideas of this forum, would you like to amplify?

Dave.
When I wrote that, I did it thinking that maybe I'll have something to learn from another opinion. As long as the discussion unfolds based on real things without insults, I find it useful even if sometime is contradictory till someone prove that is right.

I see, well I am of the Old School (PJ Walker, JL Hood and others) who believe that like every other sphere of engineering, audio systems should be tailored to the bandwidth of interest. Therefore, HF responses should not, IMHO extend to the half MHz region.

T also notice that a fairly recent pre amp reviewed here made great sonic claims for its "RF" response but conveniently restricted its noise specification to the 20-20kHz band!
That really is not cricket.
Very few male adults were ever really bothered by FM's (ah! THOSE were the days!) 15kHz limit.

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Re: July 2016: Pioneer monitors

Postby Mixedup » Fri Jul 15, 2016 9:56 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:...and/or by using headphones to remove both the room and speaker issues from the monitoring balance equation. ;)

H


Yes, there is that... although it's worth saying that while I've found good headphones useful for revealing detritus in the low end, I've found them less useful for judging the overall LF balance. Hence the use of metering.
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Re: July 2016: Pioneer monitors

Postby AdrianTatar » Fri Jul 15, 2016 3:23 pm

ef37a wrote: audio systems should be tailored to the bandwidth of interest. Therefore, HF responses should not, IMHO extend to the half MHz region.

I'm totally agree with that.

IMO the extension of the sample rate it was misunderstood.
The benefits should be for the transfer through digital medium not for extension of the audition/loudspeaker reproduction. Using a higher sample rate the AD or DA conversion is more precisely described because the signal "is hooked" in much more points, this is imposible without extending the sampling rate and this don't means that the extension should be used for something else.
But someone has think that if will extend the hi freq response of a loudspeaker will be sell better, it's all about markeing.
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Re: July 2016: Pioneer monitors

Postby ef37a » Fri Jul 15, 2016 6:35 pm

AdrianTatar wrote:
ef37a wrote: audio systems should be tailored to the bandwidth of interest. Therefore, HF responses should not, IMHO extend to the half MHz region.

I'm totally agree with that.

IMO the extension of the sample rate it was misunderstood.
The benefits should be for the transfer through digital medium not for extension of the audition/loudspeaker reproduction. Using a higher sample rate the AD or DA conversion is more precisely described because the signal "is hooked" in much more points, this is imposible without extending the sampling rate and this don't means that the extension should be used for something else.
But someone has think that if will extend the hi freq response of a loudspeaker will be sell better, it's all about markeing.

Oh dear Adrian! You are going to get some stick for that. 44.1kHz is ALL you need for the perfect reproduction of a 20-20kHz bandwidth. Hugh has tackled this many times!...And DO NOT mention "resolution" in his presence!

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Re: July 2016: Pioneer monitors

Postby Phil Ward » Sat Jul 16, 2016 10:40 am

AdrianTatar wrote:
I agree that, but looking at the freq response graph on the pioneer official page the RM-07 has a low freq roll-off of around 36 dB/octave, am I right ?


Where did you find a RM-07 response curve on the Pioneer site Adrian? I'd be quite interested to see it (although, traditionally, response curves that have been 'got at' by marketing departments are unlikely to be worth the paper they're not printed on). I had a look on the site but couldn't find it. Can you post a link?

I didn't really get the impression when listening that the RM-07 had anything more than a well sorted 'natural' reflex loaded roll-off (24dB/octave). I could be wrong though. Wish I still had the speakers here so I could check.

Tomás Mulcahy wrote:
I don't think there is much to be gained in focussing on one or two parameters in a speaker. There are SO MANY interacting parameters that any speaker will be a collection of compromises, even if you're spending big money. Frequency response is especially over emphasized, because it's much easier to understand than, say, transient response or impedance vs frequency. Not that I'm an expert by any means! I find there's always something new to learn


Very much agree with that sentiment Tomás.

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Re: July 2016: Pioneer monitors

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Jul 16, 2016 12:00 pm

Phil Ward wrote:Where did you find a RM-07 response curve on the Pioneer site...

It's on this page, towards the bottom:

http://pioneerproaudio.com/en/studio/st ... _0705.html

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Re: July 2016: Pioneer monitors

Postby awjoe » Sat Jul 16, 2016 5:35 pm

Tomás Mulcahy wrote:I don't think there is much to be gained in focussing on one or two parameters in a speaker. There are SO MANY interacting parameters that any speaker will be a collection of compromises, even if you're spending big money.

I came across this:

http://www.ecoustics.com/articles/understanding-speaker-frequency-response/

He talks about frequency response, amplitude, and time as important measurements of what a speaker can do. So, checking the specs for the Pioneers, I see that only frequency response is listed. Why not the others? The Polk guy says this:

"I just wrote this big article making the case that these kinds of numbers are not terribly useful in making buying decisions. So why does Polk use them? For better or for worse, these numbers are the norm in the audio industry. To not publish them would leave an impression that our products were not competitive. A better question would be: why don’t we publish frequency response and MLSSA graphs in addition to the simple numbers? We feel that these graphs would not be meaningful to the vast majority of consumers."

So, on the one hand he's saying that the number's aren't very useful, and on the other hand, punters don't want/need to know them. Are either of those claims more or less true?
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Re: July 2016: Pioneer monitors

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Jul 16, 2016 6:36 pm

awjoe wrote:So, on the one hand he's saying that the number's aren't very useful, and on the other hand, punters don't want/need to know them. Are either of those claims more or less true?

Yes.

The numbers can be misleading, and most potential purchasers are not sufficiently technically literate to be able to interpret them anyway. For most, sadly, fashion and fads dominate purchasing decisions, and a stack of AWESOME posts on GS easily trumps a tidy waterfall plot or smooth off-axis responses!

If you want to see how it should be done, check out the technical specs for any Neumann KH series speaker. they provide extremely comprehensive measurements which tell you an enormous amount about the speaker's performance. Most speaker manufacturers, including many high-end professional ones, are very vague in comparison. Some argue, much as the Polk article, that providing such data can be misleading since other manufacturers provide specs measured in subtley different ways... And the is very true. (The same applies to mics, converters, preamps and much more besides, too.) ...but it may also be because they want to hide something!

The most objective reviews of speakers I've come across can be found in Resolution magazine; they have access to a tame university boffin with an anechoic chamber and he provides comprehensive, consistent and comparable measurements of near field monitors in most issues. Even there, though, there are occasional measurement anomalies caused by setting the measurement mic at the wrong acoustic centre.

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Re: July 2016: Pioneer monitors

Postby AdrianTatar » Sat Jul 16, 2016 8:59 pm

awjoe wrote:
So, on the one hand he's saying that the number's aren't very useful, and on the other hand, punters don't want/need to know them. Are either of those claims more or less true?

This type of products are depends by numbers even from the stage of concept, is also impossible to make an improvement without having some numbers on which to rely.
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Re: July 2016: Pioneer monitors

Postby AdrianTatar » Sat Jul 16, 2016 9:03 pm

Phil Ward wrote:
AdrianTatar wrote:
Tomás Mulcahy wrote:
I don't think there is much to be gained in focussing on one or two parameters in a speaker. There are SO MANY interacting parameters that any speaker will be a collection of compromises, even if you're spending big money. Frequency response is especially over emphasized, because it's much easier to understand than, say, transient response or impedance vs frequency. Not that I'm an expert by any means! I find there's always something new to learn


Very much agree with that sentiment Tomás.

Phil
IMO even the freq response graph has a lot to tell about the performances and are a few details that makes a big difference betwen products.
Eg.
- the value of smoothing because depending on this some products could look better then other even is not.
- for the extension of low freq is important to know if the measurement was made on free space, half space ... because like some give the value of maximum SPL for a pair is posible that some to abuse of this detail;
- +/- 3 dB means a 6 dB diference. On real studio monitors this is just a standard to describe the freq response eg. 50Hz - 20kHz +/-3dB, but on the same product is posible that the freq response to be even more smooth between eg. 55Hz - 18kHz +/-2dB or better.
On some the +/-3db edges are hit in many points of the spectrum.
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Re: July 2016: Pioneer monitors

Postby James Perrett » Sat Jul 16, 2016 9:22 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:The most objective reviews of speakers I've come across can be found in Resolution magazine; they have access to a tame university boffin with an anechoic chamber and he provides comprehensive, consistent and comparable measurements of near field monitors in most issues.

I remember that one hifi magazine used to try to make up for the lack of an anechoic chamber by mounting the speaker under test on a tall pole in the open air. Not sure how successful that approach was - unfortunately the hifi world started to move away from measuring things and into woolly descriptions of how things sounded not long after that.
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Re: July 2016: Pioneer monitors

Postby awjoe » Sat Jul 16, 2016 10:03 pm

Dunno about hifi, but isn't how the speaker sounds the main determinant of what it's worth to you in the studio? When I bought my most recent set of monitors, I took a handful of very familiar CDs, including my own, down to the shop and listened to different monitors and made my decision accordingly.
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Re: July 2016: Pioneer monitors

Postby ef37a » Mon Jul 18, 2016 7:27 am

There WAS a time when speakers were compared to "real life" or as close as the testers could get.

This magazines predecessor Studio Sound had a strict regime of, male voice test, jangling keys, a grand piano (recorded I am pretty sure with a very simple co-I rig) tubular bells iirc? There was also a standard speaker rig (often ELSs ) with which the test object was A/B'ed. This did not claim the standard was perfect but at least gave a continuity and benchmark to the proceedings. These days it is just unsupported subjectivity.

These days there seems to be more emphasis on "hearing into a mix" and of course the would be purchaser does not have THAT mix!

Imaging is commented upon but, something that is always rearing its head, had a case last week, self noise is almost never tested for or mentioned? (unless it is so bad that the amplifiers are clearly faulty) .

Why is there no standard test for self noise in active speakers that I am aware of ? Does not seem rocket science to do?

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Re: July 2016: Pioneer monitors

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Jul 18, 2016 12:18 pm

ef37a wrote:This magazines predecessor Studio Sound...

Just for clarity, Studio Sound magazine had no connection whatsoever with Sound On Sound.

Studio Sound was a Link House Publications product and grew out of Tape Recorder magazine, officially becoming Studio Sound in February 1970 (initially as Studio Sound and Tape Recorder incorporating Sound and Cine!).

One of Sound On Sound's early sister magazines, Audio Media, was actually set up as a direct competitor to Studio Sound for the professional sound market, but it was sold off in 1996 and I joined SOS in 1997 initially to launch a magazine called SoundPro which more or less carried the same professional mantle. Sadly, that title only survived half a dozen issues...

...a strict regime of, male voice test, jangling keys, a grand piano (recorded I am pretty sure with a very simple co-I rig) tubular bells iirc?

I don't use Tubular Bell recordings, but all the rest are a standard part of my own speaker tests -- the voice and grand piano being particularly revealing.

There was also a standard speaker rig (often ELSs ) with which the test object was A/B'ed. This did not claim the standard was perfect but at least gave a continuity and benchmark to the proceedings. These days it is just unsupported subjectivity.

I can't speak for other reviewers, but for my own tests the benchmark reference I have used for nearly two decades now is a pair of PMC IB1s powered by a Bryston 4B. I have also used PMC TB2s as a reference for smaller nearfield monitors, and for the last couple of years, Neumann KH310s. The reviews we do are inherently and primarily subjective, but at least mine always relate to consistent benchmark references.

...self noise is almost never tested for or mentioned? (unless it is so bad that the amplifiers are clearly faulty) .

In my experience self-noise is very rarely an issue in decent modern monitors (at least in the quality level of monitors that tend to cross my test bench, anyway), but there have been a couple of occasions where I have found self-noise to be an issue and reported very clearly on that. As far as I can recall, most affected monitors have been American, and the amps weren't 'faulty' just badly designed...

Why is there no standard test for self noise in active speakers that I am aware of ?

I thought there was an AES spec for measuring self-noise -- I'll try and track it down and report back. It's not difficult, though: quiescent SPL measured on-axis at 1 metre, A-weighted, in an anechoic chamber...

Having said that, I see Neumann spec the KH310 self-noise as:

-- Self-generated noise (with input gain set to 100 dB for 0 dBu) = < 20 dB(A) at 10 cm

(presumably the SPL would be too low to measure reliably at 1 metre... ;) )

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Re: July 2016: Pioneer monitors

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Jul 19, 2016 11:26 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:...Having said that, I see Neumann spec the KH310 self-noise as:

-- Self-generated noise (with input gain set to 100 dB for 0 dBu) = < 20 dB(A) at 10 cm

(presumably the SPL would be too low to measure reliably at 1 metre... ;) )

For anyone interested in the point Dave was raising about speaker self-noise, I've had a communication on the subject from Neumann who say:

Neumann wrote:... even at 10cm there are problems. One sees near field (in the true meaning of the word) effects when measuring so close -- and when working that close, which driver does one choose to point the mic at?

Measuring at 1m is problematic because the self-noise of the measurement mic and ambient noise of the anechoic chamber become significant (well within 20 dB of the signal). There are methods to increase the noise of the source or decrease the noise of the receiver but these too have their own issues.

A way we have used to check measured acoustical results is to measure the electronic noise of the amplifier outputs and then add the sensitivity curves of the drivers, and finally apply A-weighting. With this approach we got within a couple of decibels of the various acoustical measurements we made.

So, these are some of the problems with measuring at the limits. Things are never as easy as they appear ;-)

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