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Detailed Responses......

Maybe a bit click baitish but not really. Years ago I was quite literally banned from the Audio Science Review forums for simply questioning two tenets of the Toole/Olive speaker research.

I think this is wrong..... But it's a private entity with its own rules.... (It's no different from Twitter banning someone inexplicably.) The moderators can ban you for any reason they so please.

If this were a truly public space, like a government provided forum, it would be a different story.

1. That their research is superior because it is pure science based 2. That their subjective speaker test results were universally transferable to real world use.

I guess whoever defines and dictates the "science" makes the rules......

#1 is directly connected to #2 so let's start with #2

Floyd Toole followed by Sean Olive created and utilized a system for doing double blind preference tests for speakers using a very expensive mechanism dubbed the Harmon Shuffler. It allows quick switching of speakers in one room without changing speaker position which allows for quick switching double blind preference tests.


The best speaker location in a given room for one speaker may be totally different from the best speaker location in a given room for a second speaker..... No two speakers perform ideally in the exact same location in the room......

And the Linn people would insist evaluating speakers with no other speakers in the room.....

My point is any test method is actually arbitrary, and the actual science is a lot broader than a lot of these people can even imagine.

Personally I agree with the reason for the quick switching and the double blind protocols. I have no argument with Toole and Olive on the value of that.

For this angle, I totally disagree.... This isn't even a "double blind protocol"...... Whether the test method is valid requires independent audit.... (And an audit might determine the test to be valid.... But it should not be called "double blind".... Because it is totally removed from the actual protocol for "double blind" testing.)

Here's the catch (sorry if it's old news for those familiar with all of this) The tests are done 1. in mono 2. in one room 3. from one speaker position 4. from one listener position. 5 using a very narrow range of source material

You personally revealed flaws in the test methodology.....

I don't think "soundstage," for example, can be evaluated with one mono speaker.

The tenet is that the preferences listeners have under these very narrow conditions, conditions that do not represent the end usage of stereo playback are universally applicable to stereo playback in a wide array of rooms with various room treatments in various speaker listener positioning configurations with a wide array of source material regardless of the use of DSP room/speaker correction or DSP speaker cross talk cancelaation. (I am mentioning that particular DSP for a very specific reason)

You stated more flaws in the test methodology.... (You stated this more articulately than I ever could.)

I call this a tenet because to date no one, not Olive or Toole much less the deciples of their religious cult following have ever cited any actual scientific research that proves the claimed universal transferability of those test results to the wide array of stereo playback possibilities

Agreed......

Whenever I have pointed this out the Toole/Olive deciples fall back on the same mantra "read the Floyd Toole book Sound Reproduction: The Acoustics and Psychoacoustics of Loudspeakers and Rooms." I have.Twice. Cover to cover. Gone over specific chapters multiple times. If there are any citations of the research showing transferability I can't find them.

Someone who has a good scientific background in the subject should kindly explain this..... Or maybe point it out in the books/chapters.... The key here is clarification and assisting in discovery, not "I know it and you must find out yourself".... (Most of these people cannot even explain what they claim, they use "books" as if they're certain the information is in them.... Yet the information may not even exist.)

When I mention this the "deciples" they retort with a barrage of Ad Hominem and zero substance.

I've learned to brush that aside..... (This was something I learned the hard way.... I didn't always do that.... Just look at some early discussions I've had here on AA.) What really confounds people is when the topic at hand is stuck with, avoiding any personal retorts.

The ONLY research anyone has cited was Toole citing one study they did involving two speaker systems in stereo in two rooms of marginally different dimensions. No mention of speaker placement optimization for the non HK based *competetive* product (important to always remember the HK endevour, however scientific it was, alsoe was a commercial endevour) No evidence of any attempt to optimize either room using room treatments for the non HK based designed speakers. No use of DSP etc etc. IOW it was still a very narrow piece of research that hardly supported the tenet of universal transferability of those subjective speaker preference test results.

This is a barrage of moving targets.... To come to a conclusion of this is uhhh... as subjective at it comes.

Pointing this out simply lead to me being banned from the forum.

Sometimes, explaining differential calculus to a gorilla just isn't worth the time and resources...... And it often makes the gorilla really angry......

So I have a couple questions for anyone who believes in the Toole/Olive approach to speaker design and if anyone wants to alert either Toole or Olive to my post please do.

I've never been a speaker designer, and never read the literature.... It's probably a valid approach within reason..... Although it looks like the "within reason" was tossed out the window with your particular ordeal.

All design theories are just that, design theories..... A designer has to determine which ones he believes would be most effective in developing a superior marketable product. And no two designers have the exact same approaches, in this regard.

I'd love to have them make their case here on a neutral forum where questioning these things is allowed.

If their case is gospel within their own fiefdom, it's their problem.... I think proving a specific "scientific" entity wrong wouldn't make a dent in regard to the at-large design practices in the audio industry.....

There are a lot of designers who seem to value Audio Science Review's validation of their products..... That's no difference from having approval from THX..... It otherwise doesn't really mean much.

question 1. (more of a request really) Let's see that research that shows the preference tests are universally applicable to stereo playback with all the reasonable variables I have already cited

What these individuals do within the fiefdom is what it is..... They can be nice and participate in an outside forum, but that doesn't mean that they will..... (What goes on within the fiefdom will be censored, and nobody will realize it has taken place.... Unless they also happen to visit AA. But that is likely less than one percent of the subscribers there.)

questiuon 2. How do you know your approach gives subjectively better results than the particular alternative of using highly directional speakers in a highly acoustically treated room that substantially reduces all early room reflections and utilizes room/speaker correction DSP and speaker crosstalk reduction DSP? You can't extrapolate the effects of those conditions on any highly directional speaker design using the HK protocols.

I think they're framing a leap of faith as "science".... Otherwise it does seem outlandish enough to where nobody outside this fiefdom would really take it seriously.


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