A dozen ways to evaluate a loudspeaker
Use the scales below to capture and remember your impressions of different loudspeakers.
Consciously or unconsciously we evaluate a loudspeaker against the memory bank of sounds we have heard. These may have come, for example, from another speaker in another room, or from a symphony concert we attended a few weeks ago. So, be aware of what you use as reference when you mark the different scales of perception.
A more fundamental evaluation of the complete recording-to-loudspeaker-to-room-to-listener system is given on the Accurate Stereo page. It too requires some familiarity and awareness of the characteristics of unamplified acoustic instrument sounds you have heard.
Why is it that we usually recognize a sound as coming from a loudspeaker rather than live, even when around the corner, in another room, or far away?
It might be helpful to also use these 12 scales when you focus your attention on the sound of an un-amplified human voice, the sound of a small acoustic band, the sound of a large choir, a large orchestra, cars driving by, foot steps on the pavement, the crushing of a coke can, etc. Build up your memory bank of live sounds, for it is these that should be the goal of a true high fidelity loudspeaker.
Determine the ranking of the speakers on continuous scales from +5 to -5. Mark their place on each scale with X.
Since you will be using recorded sounds, they should come from acoustic sources that you are familiar with, and not from synthesizers or amplified instruments and voices that are commonly processed electronically in some unknown fashion. I have found it most revealing to choose from the following categories:
For future reference write down the actual recordings that you used. Even within the suggested categories of music there are so many unknown factors that have affected what was actually stored onto CD that it is very important to never judge a speaker by just a single CD. At minimum I would listen to 6 carefully chosen excerpts from different CDs. And remember, the ultimate limit is the recording!
I now sell a Demo CD with recordings that I did myself. The sound tracks can provide severe and revealing tests for accuracy of reproduction. I have used the material to evaluate and demonstrate the capabilities of the ORION .
Have fun as you search for your perfect loudspeaker !