Friday, October 10, 2014

News: Speaker fidelity tests

I wanted to try out something new to allow for an even better judgement of a speaker's sound quality. Please let me know if you have some further ideas suggestions or wishes, so that this test could evolve to something helpful maybe.

With this test, which I will simply call "fidelity test" I will try to focus purely on the fidelity of a speaker and how it sounds compared to the original recording. There are lots of speaker tests and speaker videos available on Youtube which will play you some song through a speaker to show off its sound qualities. Without any additional reference (another speaker or whatever), it is hard to tell if the shown speaker really sounds that bad, or if the used recording setup, microphone or even the room, where the recording was done is just that bad, so that it makes the speaker sound bad.
Other videos are trying to compare several speakers at the same time, similar to what I was doing until now, but when switching over to the next speaker, there is hardly any difference noticeable. Such tests are pretty useless and wasted time for the creation part and for the watching part if you ask me.

I don't claim that my videos I did so far to be good, but it really took an effort to make my setup as solid as possible and allow for direct speaker comparisons without having them at home at the same time thanks to referenced volume levels and a standardized recording setup with exact distances etc.
Despite all the effort I meanwhile noticed that I might still get differences in sound when I try to record the same speaker another time. Despite the same setup both recordings might still sound a little bit different, probably because of slight differences in angle between microphone and speaker, slight differences in distance (although +/-1cm shouldn't really matter), maybe even slight differences in outfit of the room, if one shirt is hanging at the left side instead of right might have an influence hahaha...

Instead of comparing 2 or more speakers against each other like I previously did, now I want to show how close a speaker manages to sound compared to the original source. This is not really easy to achieve, as my room is acoustically not perfect. It is not a typcial room with typical acoustics. But I noticed that recordings done in this room give purer results than recordings in bigger undampened rooms. I think that the best results might be achieved outdoors, due to missing interreflections with any walls (with expection of the ground), you will get an even purer sound. Unfortunately all my outdoor videos I did so far, were a real pain to do. Despite dead kittens and locations protected against wind, I always had to fight with wind noise, plane noise, etc...
An optimized room maybe even close to anechoic would be probably the best way to go, but currently I don't have ressources for such a thing, despite my wife who already thinks I got crazy with all those stupid speakers...

My idea is to record a song through each speaker in my usual recording room at one single fixed level. This level should be set not too low and not too high to simulate a comfortable listening volume and which should give a representative result for a speaker's sound quality. I currently fixed this level to exactly half volume of the Sonos Play:1, this corresponds to about maximum volume of the Mini Jambox, or step 9/16 on the JBL Charge 2, 67% on the Soundlink Mini etc. To bring this into some measurable SPL readings the recorded music gives me the following values at a distance of 50cm:
LAFmax: ~75dB
LZpeak: ~95dB

For some speakers this level might already be too loud causing distortion or introducing compression artefacts, noticeable bass reduction etc, other speakers might sound better at even higher levels. Thanks to the dynamic sound processing of many modern active speakers, the overall sound character can differ quite much between low or high levels, as you can see here from the example measuring of the Bose Soundlink III where I overlaid both frequency responses for a rather low level (~25% blue) and a higher level (~75% red):

Both would sound completely different if both were played back with the same loudness, with only the mids still resembling the same speaker. But due to equal loudness contours of the human hearing in reality the differences might not appear that obvious as the human ear hears low and high frequencies differently at different volume levels. Everything is not that easy, still the goal is to give the best representation of the speakers sound character and bring that into relation to the original recording.

Of course with this test I cannot cover other aspects of a speaker's quality like directionality, loudness etc, as this would lead too far and make it too complicated. This fidelity test will only provide the soundquality exactly on-axis at optimum position which should give the best possible result for every speaker, I might vary the angle between speaker and microphone slightly if this gives a better result. Especially on Bose speakers the sound can change a lot if you turn them only a little bit. While many speakers might still sound good from higher above or from the side, I won't be able to give any statement on this like I already tried with some of my previous videos, where I also included sound recordings off-axis for comparison. 

The used recorder and microphone will also have an influence on sound. My first preliminary tests are done with the Zoom H1, it is definitely not the most linear recorder, but I found it to record low frequencies better than the H2n, or the Olympus LS10 which I had also tried before. It seems to have some problems with treble though. It sounds too harsh and metallic compared to the original sound of the speaker.
I am in the process of trying out other recorders with a microphone that has hopefully a flatter overall response. Of course I am open for any suggestions. If other readers have more experience than me on this topic, please let me know. I really want realistic and representative results.

So far I have chosen a funky recording from Fusion-bassist Gerald Veasley, I like this track and I think it is a pretty nice recording with good definition in both bass and treble, only mising some vocals. If you have better suggestions for a testtrack please let me know. It should be a rather non-commercial track to avoid copyright issues. Maybe there are even some real musicians among the readers who would like to contribute an own song, this could also be used as promotion for their own site etc. The premise is that it has to be a recording of high quality which allows conclusions to be drawn on a speaker's sound. When executed well, this could become a big database for sound quality of various (portable) speakers that I was thinking of from the beginning.

Here you can find some first videos with speakers I currently had at hand. If you listen to them over headphones, you will immediately notice the lack of any stereo imaging from the speaker recordings compared to the original track. Maybe for better judgement I should also convert the original track to mono? When listening to these videos through speakers the lack of stereo is not as obvious though.
I am open to any suggestions, let me know if all this makes sense, and if the differences between all these speakers are noticeable at all. Please leave me a comment if you would like to contribute! Let's start with the Sonos Play:1 which is probably the most faithful speaker of the recorded ones:


  1. Excellet! Its easier to find out how speaker sounds when compared directly to original recording. My only wish is test tracks which contains some vocals too.

    And thank you for amazing work!

    1. thanks, unfortunately i delayed this project as I have not found any microphone yet that would satisfy my needs for an uncolored audio recording.
      i also contacted some musicians if they would like to contribute some of their own tracks, but none of them wanted to offer anything. it is hard to find the right track for such a test. i am concentrating on binaural recording currently and will come up with some further tests this week.

  2. This is a GREAT idea. Ive' seen it done before, but on studio monitors. The used a pair of matched mics, calibrated by correction, I think. You can maybe find that somewhat famous shootout online. It's what influenced my decision to get the JBL 305 over others. You should be able to use a cheap measurement mic if you can get a good correction file. That means the mic would need to be calibrated by a lab. But that is cheap. Anyway if you can do it some more. It's what we want. Thanks.

    1. in the meantime I settled for binaural recording technique which gives much closer results to reality if the recordings are listened through headphones. my speaker database is based on this:

  3. Very good test! This also what I do to evaluate speakers by mean of your "switcher" tool (which unfortunately is no longer accessible.. may be too much traffic?).
    I think that you could do another (additional) test which may help to check the "fidelity". When I listen to this comparisons I think that the "stereo separation" in the original recording distracts me from understanding the fidelity in the reproduction. So if, for one test, we take out from variables the stereo separation factor by mixing the left+right channels of the original recording and of the speaker's recording and compare among them (MONO traces), it will be much much easier to understand what is the difference between the two. I hope you can take in consideration my suggestion. Thank You. Have a nice day. Antonio

  4. Tidy tips for a more livable home
    Facing the crowded house, your best bet for everything is calling for housekeeping. شركة تنظيف فلل بجدة
    شركة تنظيف بيوت بجدة
    شركة تنظيف شقق بجدة

    Sparkol VideoScribe Crack is a much impressive video-making application in the software market. This software used to make all types of animated and cartoonish videos. I assure you that this software is furnished according to your requirements. You may choose readymade ones out of the laptop or computer. And, right after, it will soon be inserted for the most critical window. While, even a very little reduced, and you can play its parameters to make it for your desires, the following tab is to blame for incorporating text.

    Z3X Samsung Tool Loader Crack can repair the IMEI, unlock the mobile, write firmware, and many other functions. This program shows all the hidden errors in the phones. It performs to take out the coverage across the aspects of its Samsung telephones. It functions rather quickly by linking the smartphone into its computer and choose exactly the Samsung mobile version.

    Teracopy Crack is software for Windows that plays the role of earning a lot more successful copying procedures. It will find all the characteristics to recoup and also transfer glitches and then pause and restart the document. Also, it comes with a paid variation. And provides a lot of more special purposes to function on the files. The software enables consumers to improve quite a few preferences inside their look as well as tasks. But it’s critical to listen while employing this software since it does not have any tools to recoup files.

    FlixGrab Crack has turned into really the best and well-used tool when it comes to downloading material. While, as a result of Netflix. Even as we understand, Netflix can be a renowned internet site that’s the system for catching. Therefore, the videos, songs monitors, gain usage of infinite famous tv shows and academic. Also, the tutorials and even season.

    GridinSoft Anti Malware Crack can be a program specially designed to store your valuable personal computer. While they are from many forms of danger. So it finds, averts, and Contains all types of malware such as spyware, PUPs, and also another app. While that is harmful. GridinSoft has a vast number and tens of thousands of users as a result of the use and quick working skill. In addition to most that it is quite inexpensive.

    Malwarebytes Crack is also a simple and productive application for Windows and also Android. It renders your laptop along with also your own smartphone free. While its complete free variant includes advanced-level programs such as hunting and getting rid of harmful files. However, it also has a database upgraded just about every day. Malwarebytes anti-malware and guard your personal computer and telephone very easily.

  11. gta game download free
    GTA 5 Pc Download: an action famous fighting game. Meanwhile, Rockstar North developed and Rockstar Games published GTA 5 Pc Torrent Download world wide. GTA V Game Download For Pc is set in the fictional simulation city of San Andreas in Sothern California.

  12. Dennis Austin. Robert and Danis are the employees of the Forethought company. This software initially came in the market about 29 years ago in 1990.

  13. by its large driver database, it has the strength to recover all driver variants.

  14. Drivermax Pro Key is a driver updater and driver improvement programming software. That offers the best of new

    You can organize and edit various documents. With this software, you can merge 2 or more than two music

  16. EaseUS Todo Backup Crack is also an all-inclusive method for developing and restoring copies. The app

    It made of modules for producing and lettering barcodes. This has high-level server traits that involve centralized publication

  18. Kingdom Come: Deliverance Crack is a role-playing ancient war fighting game. That is arranged on the tale of

  19. Every one today might face a disease at any stage of our life. So to resolve any type of disorders doctors and physicians round the world prescribe several type of different medicine products. But what type of medicine to use and what they use for as well as know their exact dosage and side effects to know all about these information is essential for everyone. So you must visit if you want to know
    neurobion dose

  20. Games Are Always a fun to play either online or offline along with your friends or alone to spear your extra free boring time in a joyful manner. So you would like if you want to play
    highly compressed Pc Games