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Sweeps vs Music

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  • Sweeps vs Music

    I recently came to the conclusion , that for audio equipment ,
    it makes more sense to use the ears for measurement ,
    rather than the eyes via meters , scopes , etc .
    First problem : Speaker low frequency response .
    Any speaker I have tried with a sweep , audibly
    drops off towards the low end ...... O . K ........
    I could conclude I have poor designs .
    BUT .....
    Some of these speakers ( when playing music )
    actually sound way bass heavy ????

  • #2
    To paraphrase Floyd Toole, 'I've never had a speaker that measured good sound bad, and I've never had a speaker that measured bad sound good.'

    If you don't take at the very least an impedance sweep you my find out the hard way that the crossover that sounded best has an amp killing impedance dip.

    'Bass heavy' more often than not isn't heard in the 25-50Hz octave, it's heard in the 50-100Hz octave.

    There's no musical bass heavier than reggae, where the preferred electric bass speaker by far is the Ampeg SVT 810. It has a 58Hz F3.
    www.billfitzmaurice.com
    www.billfitzmaurice.info/forum

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    • #3
      When You run a sweep on a speaker that sounds tonally correct with music , ......
      Does the level of the sweep tone sound constant at the low end ?

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      • fpitas
        fpitas commented
        Editing a comment
        Mine do, yes.

      • billfitzmaurice
        billfitzmaurice commented
        Editing a comment
        Nope. Equal loudness doesn't allow for that. That's another reason why you can't know what you've got without measurements.

    • #4
      I THINK in almost any room (but not outdoors), room "modes" (or nodes) will reinforce certain freqs. while nearly cancelling out others (talkin' the lowest octaves here).
      This is VERY evident in my (unfinished) basement (1500 sq.ft. - open). You can listen to (or measure) a sweep (from a SINGLE source) and you'll hear dropouts and loud resonances at certain freqs. Move over a yard (or even less) and re-measure and the loud & quiet freqs. will completely change.

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    • #5
      The flatter it measures during design makes it that much easier to tweak when it's being used. Take a quick look at these two articles

      https://audioxpress.com/article/test...-matter-part-1
      http://www.stereophile.com/features/...xBqv6wK0erx.97

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      • #6
        Many speakers need tweaking by ear, generally referred to as voicing, to get the most out of them. But measurements are essential to get you close, unless it's just a "party" speaker. Otherwise I think you'll find that some tracks sound good, but others are bad or odd sounding.

        Even when I'm voicing I use reference headphones to maintain sanity. It's very easy to EQ a specific track to the way you think it should sound, but you've introduced an odd frequency response.
        Francis

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        • #7
          100% agree. I trust my ears more than a microphone, especially when it comes to bass response as you point out. I sometimes use a microphone after the speaker is done, mostly for documentation.

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          • #8
            What I am asking about is NOT ears vs microphone ( or instrumentation ) .........
            It is ears listening to test tones vs ears listening to music .....

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            • #9
              No matter where you are "indoors", depending on various distances from floor/ceiling/walls (and other objects), you WILL have certain freqs at THAT location that get cancelled and certain ones that WILL be reinforced. Playing a (20-20k) "sweep" just assures that those particular freqs will NOT be missed (as they may be in music).

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              • #10
                My experience with test tones or sweeps is they are better than nothing, but usually don't show narrow peaks that certain music highlights. Of course finding the location of those peaks required, you guessed it: measurements!
                Francis

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                • billfitzmaurice
                  billfitzmaurice commented
                  Editing a comment
                  +1. Test instruments are at least ten times more accurate than the human ear with respect to audio. Yes, there is the self proclaimed 'Golden Ears' crowd who must have hearing considerably better than a Vulcan or a Labrador Retriever if they're to be believed, but IMO those with Golden Ears have no gray matter filling the space in between them.

                • fpitas
                  fpitas commented
                  Editing a comment
                  That, and even if I can clearly hear a peak in there somewhere, the frequency calibration of my ears is lacking ;) Maybe the golden ears crowd calibrate their ears.

              • #11
                It's never either / or, but both. For low frequencies (<100Hz) I do all of the above... listen with lots of music I know has low frequency content, sweep a sine wave manually while adjusting my listening position to find room issues and determine if I need to move speakers / subs, do an un-gated REW sweep at the listening position to check overall balance with the mids and highs, and peek at an RTA while adjusting to do the same thing.

                I've found the resolution available below 100Hz in either a sweep measurement or with an RTA to not be detailed enough to show narrow nulls. Manually sweeping sine waves and using my ears is better for that. I go that route when setting up a sub to integrate with mains, or if I hear a problem in a song like a 50Hz null that sucks the punch out of a kick drum I know should be hitting hard.
                Electronics engineer, woofer enthusiast, and musician.
                Wogg Music
                Published projects: PPA100 Bass Guitar Amp, ISO El-Cheapo Sub, Indy 8 2.1 powered sub, MicroSat, SuperNova Minimus

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