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Author Topic: Why Do Most Loudspeaker Manufacturers Not Show Comparison Data?  (Read 2353 times)

Russell Ault

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Re: Why Do Most Loudspeaker Manufacturers Not Show Comparison Data?
« Reply #20 on: September 04, 2018, 12:29:57 am »

I sadly can't remember who I was talking with, but I remember someone working for Meyer mentioning that part of the reason they created MAPP was to avoid publishing written (and therefore easy to misinterpret) specifications of their speakers. Their philosophy is that if you need more information than they publish in print, you can run a test scenario in MAPP and get way more (useful) information than you'd get off of a sheet of paper. Obviously it won't quite do the tests you're trying to do, but it will start heading in the direction you're looking for. (I'm not as familiar with, say, ArrayCalc or Soundvision, but I'm guessing they'll do something similar for you, too.)

Those shoppers have different requirements.  I'm struggling to find some way of doing a cost/benefit analysis that uses real data. 

Cost vs. what benefit? To my mind all shoppers have different requirements: system interfacing, inventory commonality, rigging capabilities, arraying convenience, truck pack, rider acceptability, processor compatibility, even physical appearance are all "benefits" that can be more important than performance. Even within performance, what's important for one application may be meaningless in others (e.g. I've used some good-sounding, high-quality subwoofers that would choke if you fed them a strong 30Hz signal, but that's okay because those shows had no useful content below 40Hz anyway).

-Russ
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: Why Do Most Loudspeaker Manufacturers Not Show Comparison Data?
« Reply #21 on: September 04, 2018, 02:05:32 am »

I sadly can't remember who I was talking with, but I remember someone working for Meyer mentioning that part of the reason they created MAPP was to avoid publishing written (and therefore easy to misinterpret) specifications of their speakers. Their philosophy is that if you need more information than they publish in print, you can run a test scenario in MAPP and get way more (useful) information than you'd get off of a sheet of paper. Obviously it won't quite do the tests you're trying to do, but it will start heading in the direction you're looking for. (I'm not as familiar with, say, ArrayCalc or Soundvision, but I'm guessing they'll do something similar for you, too.)

Cost vs. what benefit? To my mind all shoppers have different requirements: system interfacing, inventory commonality, rigging capabilities, arraying convenience, truck pack, rider acceptability, processor compatibility, even physical appearance are all "benefits" that can be more important than performance. Even within performance, what's important for one application may be meaningless in others (e.g. I've used some good-sounding, high-quality subwoofers that would choke if you fed them a strong 30Hz signal, but that's okay because those shows had no useful content below 40Hz anyway).

-Russ

The Meyer thing makes sense; it's better to show someone a results picture than to have them incorrectly interpret any number of specifications, charts and graphs.

I understand that what Pat is hoping for is a multi-spec measurement done in the same manner so results can be compared.  The questions are "what are we then comparing" and "can we interpolate these numbers, graphs and charts into some from of auralization?"  As I pointed out earlier, differences in some criteria (regardless of importance) will become marketing fodder; "1000W with Zero Transfat!".  8)

The industry has been successful in measuring electrical performance, efficiency, and transfer function for some time, but among units that measure very similarly they still sound different... and that's why I suspect this is a solution looking for a problem, and the solution itself will present its own new gamesmanship and marketing-speak/spew.

The OCD side of me likes what Pat is aspiring for but the practical side of me isn't too enthused.
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: Why Do Most Loudspeaker Manufacturers Not Show Comparison Data?
« Reply #22 on: September 04, 2018, 09:49:02 am »

David, I get it... but I'm not looking for the cheapest box.  Those shoppers have different requirements.  I'm struggling to find some way of doing a cost/benefit analysis that uses real data.
Pat, I think most of us sympathize with you, but what you want isn't going to happen.  Sound quality is extremely subjective and the tonality of a box is about the fourth-most important factor in what the punters hear - stage talent is most important, room acoustics and stage wash usually fight for spots 2 and 3.  Arguably pattern control is more important than sound quality, which puts what you are trying to measure maybe at number 5.

Back to the business side of things, how easy is the rigging?  How heavy are the boxes?  How many people does it take to deploy the system?  How are the carts/trunks/cases designed?  Is it a good truck pack?  How many amp channels and how much copper is required to make noise?  Does the company have good support?  What does the rider say about these boxes?

These are the questions that people in business tend to focus on. 
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Josh Ricci

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Re: Why Do Most Loudspeaker Manufacturers Not Show Comparison Data?
« Reply #23 on: September 04, 2018, 12:05:37 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.

That's sort of what I'm going for is exactly the consumer reports type of information. I'd say it leans a bit more DIY than anything. I want to get more products from the SR arena but the few inquiries I've made have not gotten a response from the MFG's. They do not seem to be interested. It's unsurprising really...That whole "how does it benefit us" business.

Dave Garoutte

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Re: Why Do Most Loudspeaker Manufacturers Not Show Comparison Data?
« Reply #24 on: September 04, 2018, 12:23:27 pm »

That's sort of what I'm going for is exactly the consumer reports type of information. I'd say it leans a bit more DIY than anything. I want to get more products from the SR arena but the few inquiries I've made have not gotten a response from the MFG's. They do not seem to be interested. It's unsurprising really...That whole "how does it benefit us" business.

Because it is a BUSINESS.  Why would they want to provide information that could be used against them?  They are going to plead the 5th.
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Rory Buszka

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Re: Why Do Most Loudspeaker Manufacturers Not Show Comparison Data?
« Reply #25 on: September 04, 2018, 12:41:36 pm »

Because it is a BUSINESS.  Why would they want to provide information that could be used against them?  They are going to plead the 5th.

And besides this, what assurance would an independent customer have that the data was responsibly collected and the analysis was not slanted somehow to favor the manufacturer? Could you ever be certain? Even when some third-party standard is in place, such as CEA2010 distortion thresholds, independent practitioners have observed differences in their results from one data source to the next, which seem to be due to lurking variables in methodology and hardware. As far as I know these differences remain unresolved, and naturally each practitioner says "just compare measurements I made to other measurements I made", so CEA2010 distortion measurements are, for now, still not truly universal. If consultants and measurement specialists are unable to agree, when they are striving to add value to the standard by harmonizing their methodology, what will happen when every manufacturer is taking data separately? What if manufacturer A's measurements of third party C's subwoofer show meaningful differences from manufacturer B's measurements of third party C's subwoofer, and to make things more interesting, what if both A's and B's measurements differ from the published measurements by third party C of their own subwoofer? Who is right?

Something like what the OP describes was done by Community Loudspeakers back in its early days for off-axis measurements of speaker horns, and they did publish a book called the White Book containing their results, but I don't know if any copies of it are surviving and I've never seen one. But their White Book was the product of their efforts alone, and not a cooperation between manufacturers.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2018, 01:30:14 pm by Rory Buszka »
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Weogo Reed

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Re: Why Do Most Loudspeaker Manufacturers Not Show Comparison Data?
« Reply #26 on: September 04, 2018, 11:49:08 pm »

Hi Pat,

One place for some independent testing, with pretty good apples to apples comparisons:
 
 http://clfgroup.org/

Mostly install boxes, plus a few seen out in the gigging world.

Good health,  Weogo
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Pat Semeraro

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Re: Why Do Most Loudspeaker Manufacturers Not Show Comparison Data?
« Reply #27 on: September 05, 2018, 12:47:59 am »

Good day friends!


Thank you everyone for so many thoughtful responses!  The hope was that maybe I've been hiding under a rock and just didn't know where to look for more comprehensive, closer to the real use data.

Over ...a few...   decades I've used an awful lot of subs from junky things I built myself in the 80s, to more recently lots of Meyer 1100s in stadiums and dozens and dozens of others in the years between.  Seen scoops and folded horns go in and out of style, heard most of the band-pass and trick subs at the MI level, used many EAW both the older RCF loaded boxes and the later 18 sound/B&C loaded versions.  Most every box by Meyer, the EV 4-leaf clover sub, four generations of JBL 18s in various boxes (2440, then, 2441, then 2442, then current neo 18s)  I'll stop rather than go on and on.

While I have strong opinions of how they all "sound" and anecdotal knowledge of what different boxes do well, or adequate, or poorly, (in my opinion which might differ from yours!) my OCD side still would like to see trustworthy data.

In corporate, where house and rental gear was going in and out constantly, with multiple shows coming in and and out of the shop each week, the logistics of putting 6 different boxes in our parking lot and measuring was basically impossible.  Measuring one box per day and trying to overlay the data later is a recipe for results that are less than useful.

My intrigue is maybe not shared by some simply because many have their rigs and that's what they provide to their market or clients.  My world was very different.  OK with EAW, great.  Has to be Meyer?  Fine.  Prefer L'Acoustic but you can live with the vertec that's available for your show date?  Check.  Has to be the purple brand?  Nope, call somebody else...

The result of all that is I never invested emotionally in a brand.  (I do have strong opinions but does that matter?) Without an emotional component to push me or a rider to fill, I'm left with only my opinion and empirical data and trying to compare  data is where I got stuck. 

My current project has space for one pair of subs and having recently sold my business, I no longer have access to a shop full of stuff to play with.  Knowing how a dozen JBL 728s sound in a ballroom or 18 Meyer 1100s sound in a stadium or 24 SB1000s sound in a field doesn't exactly scale down to this application. 

Again, appreciate all the good comments!
Cheers, Pat
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Pat Semeraro

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Re: Why Do Most Loudspeaker Manufacturers Not Show Comparison Data?
« Reply #28 on: September 05, 2018, 12:52:29 am »

Hi Pat,

One place for some independent testing, with pretty good apples to apples comparisons:
 
 http://clfgroup.org/

Mostly install boxes, plus a few seen out in the gigging world.

Good health,  Weogo

Interesting, thank you!
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Pat Semeraro

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Re: Why Do Most Loudspeaker Manufacturers Not Show Comparison Data?
« Reply #29 on: September 05, 2018, 01:03:08 am »


These are the questions that people in business tend to focus on.

TJ, agree with you 1000%.  I'm asking a different, and sort of utopian question to the experts here.  This project will be one pair of subs, sitting on the floor until the end of time.  With most of the practical/transport/rigging stuff off the table, I have the luxury of thinking about sound quality but with the constraint of space.

I'm sure that my suggested testing would show some standout performers, and wish the manufacturers would be more proactive in helping me understand why their particular product is a better option.
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Why Do Most Loudspeaker Manufacturers Not Show Comparison Data?
« Reply #29 on: September 05, 2018, 01:03:08 am »


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