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Author Topic: Why Do Most Loudspeaker Manufacturers Not Show Comparison Data?  (Read 2382 times)

Pat Semeraro

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Why Do Most Loudspeaker Manufacturers Not Show Comparison Data?
« on: September 02, 2018, 03:40:12 pm »

Good day friends!

It seems the loudspeaker info I'm always looking for is almost never shared by manufacturers.  Let's take subs for instance.  Every manufacturer has a parking lot and every manufacturer should have a copy of SMAART.  It's easy to buy/rent your competitors products.

While the set below doesn't tell you everything... it would be a start.

For passive boxes, set up in a common spot and measured at a common spot, using a common amp (pick one that can do the job and use the same amp on every test) and using the box manufacturers dsp, log the following data and put in a chart to compare against the other boxes.

1) 20hz - 200hz sweep at full power (per box dsp) with spl on top, phase trace and distortion shown underneath.
2) transfer function of an 808 kick drum (software generated is fine just use the same one on every test) at full power (per box dsp) with spl on top and distortion shown underneath.  I'm particularly interested in transient compression and response re-shaping in limiting.
3) waterfall plot from single cycle tone bursts with spl shown. 
4) 30 hz sinewave at full power (per box dsp) for 5 minutes with spl and distortion shown over time.


Powered boxes would get the same test but obviously the amp/dsp is included.  Logging the drive voltage might be useful to some folks.

I would think manufacturers would be eager to show how their boxes outperform their competitors in those four benchmarks.  Without that data, how can I meaningfully compare one sub against another? 

Pat Semeraro
« Last Edit: September 02, 2018, 03:51:27 pm by Pat Semeraro »
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Art Welter

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Re: Why Do Most Loudspeaker Manufacturers Not Show Comparison Data?
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2018, 04:09:22 pm »

I would think manufacturers would be eager to show how their boxes outperform their competitors in those four benchmarks.  Without that data, how can I meaningfully compare one sub against another? 
Pat,

I can't think of any manufacturers eager to show 2 and 3 digit distortion results your tests would reveal.

To meaningfully compare subs (or any loudspeaker) without requiring manufacturers to adhere to a set of 4 benchmarks that virtually none would agree to, will still require your own evaluation and comparisons.

Art
« Last Edit: September 02, 2018, 04:11:43 pm by Art Welter »
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Rob Spence

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Re: Why Do Most Loudspeaker Manufacturers Not Show Comparison Data?
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2018, 05:25:54 pm »

Why would they? What is in it for them?

Likely they would only compare to ones they are much better than vs the ones YOU want to see. They certainly don’t want to compare to better speakers.

It is in their best interests (they think) to get you to buy based on marketing hype since you are not likely to do serious measuring after buying.


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Pat Semeraro

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Re: Why Do Most Loudspeaker Manufacturers Not Show Comparison Data?
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2018, 06:50:31 pm »

Pat,

I can't think of any manufacturers eager to show 2 and 3 digit distortion results your tests would reveal.

To meaningfully compare subs (or any loudspeaker) without requiring manufacturers to adhere to a set of 4 benchmarks that virtually none would agree to, will still require your own evaluation and comparisons.

Art

Art, you and I agree that virtually no one will agree on specific measurements and methods.

What I'm suggesting is the manufacturer choose a set of measurements that reflect real world usage and test everything (their boxes and competitors boxes) exactly the same way.  Evaluating loudspeakers is not the same thing as wine tasting.  In a world where watts (voltage...) are plentiful and cheap and dsp is endlessly powerful, I'm interested in the actual in-situ performance and how it compares to other available options.   

That should be on the manufacturers to demonstrate their products performance, not just us as users.
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: Why Do Most Loudspeaker Manufacturers Not Show Comparison Data?
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2018, 08:25:49 pm »

You do realize that you are asking somebody to rent thousands of boxes and do those tests----------

There are so many factors involved in trying to do this.

None of those test would tell how the box "sounds".

Your tests could be very destructive and actually tear up the loudspeakers.

While it "sounds" like a good idea, there are many "holes" in the idea.

What is "acceptable" to some people is not acceptable to others, they want some different tests.
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Pat Semeraro

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Re: Why Do Most Loudspeaker Manufacturers Not Show Comparison Data?
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2018, 09:54:06 pm »

You do realize that you are asking somebody to rent thousands of boxes and do those tests----------

There are so many factors involved in trying to do this.

None of those test would tell how the box "sounds".

Your tests could be very destructive and actually tear up the loudspeakers.

While it "sounds" like a good idea, there are many "holes" in the idea.

What is "acceptable" to some people is not acceptable to others, they want some different tests.

Ivan, thanks for jumping in!  I agree there are many holes, its an idea, not a ready to implement plan.

I don't think "thousands" of boxes are necessary to offer meaningful data to the market.  A manufacturer knows the top few direct competitors to a given product, and testing those would be a great start.

As for tearing up the boxes, I don't see how.  The dsp should account for amp gain and manage both driver excursion and long term thermal per the manufacturers configuration or via a closed loop system.  Any system that doesn't do that certainly cannot be "full power" tested. (Who would even know what "full power" means in that case?) Apologies if I was not clear about that and looking at an actual methodology for testing would probably require the manufacturer's matching parts.  (i.e. Crown amps/dsp for JBL speakers, Powersoft amps/dsp for EAW, LA-RAK for L'Acoustics, etc.)  Powered boxes obviously make this a moot point.

As for acceptability, I don't know how to answer that.  Its difficult to imagine that shoppers and buyers would find it unacceptable to see a credible overlay graph of five competing subs (processed/powered per the manufacturers configuration) measured at the same time in the same space, for response, efficiency, time domain performance, distortion, and maximum manufacturer configured output.

Does this offer any clarity to my original post?

Pat Semeraro

« Last Edit: September 02, 2018, 10:00:51 pm by Pat Semeraro »
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Why Do Most Loudspeaker Manufacturers Not Show Comparison Data?
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2018, 04:47:44 am »

Ivan, thanks for jumping in!  I agree there are many holes, its an idea, not a ready to implement plan.

I don't think "thousands" of boxes are necessary to offer meaningful data to the market.  A manufacturer knows the top few direct competitors to a given product, and testing those would be a great start.

As for tearing up the boxes, I don't see how.  The dsp should account for amp gain and manage both driver excursion and long term thermal per the manufacturers configuration or via a closed loop system.  Any system that doesn't do that certainly cannot be "full power" tested. (Who would even know what "full power" means in that case?) Apologies if I was not clear about that and looking at an actual methodology for testing would probably require the manufacturer's matching parts.  (i.e. Crown amps/dsp for JBL speakers, Powersoft amps/dsp for EAW, LA-RAK for L'Acoustics, etc.)  Powered boxes obviously make this a moot point.

As for acceptability, I don't know how to answer that.  Its difficult to imagine that shoppers and buyers would find it unacceptable to see a credible overlay graph of five competing subs (processed/powered per the manufacturers configuration) measured at the same time in the same space, for response, efficiency, time domain performance, distortion, and maximum manufacturer configured output.

Does this offer any clarity to my original post?

Pat Semeraro

Hi Pat-

Both Ivan and JR have posted about "lies, damn lies, and specifications" (er... statistics, according to Mark Twain) and for various reasons it all comes back around to one of Ivan's lines:  "the great thing about standards is there are so many to choose from."

As was mentioned up-thread the reason the "big boys" don't usually play along in such things is they have nothing to gain from helping in such comparisons; it's the big boys that everyone else wants to be as good as, or better than, in some measurement contest.  We make a mistake in presuming that all measurement is equal and consistent when we don't know how it was done, and when we do the Measurement Patrol start swooping down.

If you'd like to see the results of the Monday-morning Measurement Quarterbacking you can search the LAB archives for the NYC Subwoofer shootout.  A bunch of subs, a less than ideal measurement space, some transducer powering inconsistencies... and every measurement becomes suspect in someone elses eyes.  No deception, but not possible to guaranty that all measurement circumstances were identical.

None of the TLA brands sent subs but there was a decent selection of products and is how I became acquainted with David Lee of BassBoss and Jeff Permanian of JTR Loudspeakers... anyway, the adoring public decided the TEF sweeps couldn't be reliably compared.  The point of this little memory lane trip is to reinforce that making reproducible measurements is not a trivial task and requires specific testing protocols and lots of space.

So every time a product is erroneously measured, or measured differently than another product, whatever difference becomes marketable.  "Now with 3% more even-harmonic distortion for a warmer sound!" What it won't do is tell a prospective buyer what measured differences, if any, will actually sound like.

And that's what the NYC Sub shootout was about - how these 20-odd subs sounded in the real world of a Manhattan night club, and whatever else that might be extrapolated from listening and making the TEF plots (whatever ones impression of reliability).

And that circles us back to "numbers can't tell us what something *sounds* like".
« Last Edit: September 04, 2018, 12:13:17 pm by Tim McCulloch »
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Lyle Williams

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Re: Why Do Most Loudspeaker Manufacturers Not Show Comparison Data?
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2018, 05:50:25 am »

Nobody's box will take 30Hz at full power for 5 minutes.

That'd be a real problem, except the "30Hz hum for five minutes" genre has gone out of fashion in most venues.
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Rick Powell

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Re: Why Do Most Loudspeaker Manufacturers Not Show Comparison Data?
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2018, 05:58:37 pm »

Josh Ricci’s Data-Bass site attempts to do direct measurement comparisons for dozens of commercially available and custom-design subs, but most brands of SR subs have yet to be tested there. It caters a little more to the home theater crowd.

I think a site like this could provide a “Consumer Reports” type evaluation independent of market claims, but for such a limited consumer market for pro audio, not sure if it would be feasible.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2018, 06:24:06 pm by Rick Powell »
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Rick Alan

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Re: Why Do Most Loudspeaker Manufacturers Not Show Comparison Data?
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2018, 06:04:02 pm »

Because all the numbers are made up. 

The only way to compare is with your ears.
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Re: Why Do Most Loudspeaker Manufacturers Not Show Comparison Data?
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2018, 06:04:02 pm »


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