Crutchfield's Speaker Compare

Hey everyone, for those in the market for new speakers, Crutchfield now has something called "Speaker compare", in which you can select up to 4 speakers and make sound comparisons online using your computer and a pair of headphones. Although not all the speakers models are available for audition at the moment, a lot are, and I think it’s a great alternative for those (like me) who cannot audition speakers in person. You can compare several songs at the same volume or at the same wattage. I am not associated with Crutchfield at all. I think it’s a great tool and a good start!
Cheers y’all!
Yes, this is similar, but they have a lot of speakers to compare. Also, they do it in a much better way I think. Read how they do it I actually like speaker comparisons online. That's what they're for: to compare some characteristics of speakers. They're not for critical listening. For instance, you can tell how laid back Wharfedale sounds compared to B&W, etc..I prefer than to listening to the opinions of a reviewer. 

This sounds as useful as the speaker demos people post on YouTube!

Which are indeed useful. My Moabs were purchased without audition, and part of my search process involved listening to them on the same YouTube videos you disparage. They sound just as expected from those videos.

Before that I bought a Herron VTPH2A and Koetsu Black Goldline, both also "auditioned" watching useful YouTube videos. Lo and behold, they sound as expected.

A lot more went into selecting those components than just listening to them off my laptop. A lot more. But those YouTube videos are indeed very very useful.

At least, they are useful once you learn to listen.

Indeed!! And what Crutchfield did, I think it's better, since in many of the Youtube videos you can't really compare. 
Is it like auditioning speakers live? Obviously not. But it can help you get an idea of one speaker’s more pronounced characteristics in comparison to another’s. Helps get you in the ballpark. For those who don’t have a shop near them, it’s better than nothing.
They've been doing it for a long while, using a much more accurate and consistent method than assorted Yutes.
Too bad they specialize in MidFi.
Even shows are a bad compare because every room is different. But at least it takes the mics out of the chain.
IMO, this would be useless for any audio store to do this for a number of reasons:
1) YouTube sound is terrible at best
2) what are they going to use for front end equipment? You can’t use the same amp for each speaker because speakers sound characteristics and sensitive will dictate which amp to use. For example, you wouldn’t team up a pair of Klipsch speakers with an analytical sounding amp, nor would you team up a 84db rated speaker with a cheap low power amp.
3) Since crutchfield only deals with cheaper equipment, you could afford to take a gamble on buying a pair of speakers after doing some reading on google and if you don’t like them, either send them back or resell them. But for a more expensive speaker system, I would go listen to them somehow 1st before bringing them home and listening to them with your equipment in your room
The only way this could be useful is if the Crutchfield sound reproduction is a perfect representation of the speaker itself.
This is about as likely as Vladimir Putin giving up power in Russia.
And if it were so, why buy the speakers, save the money and listen to the Crutchfield.

This speaks nothing of the truth of listening in your room on your system.
Try speakers in your room.  Dealer margins allow for the costs of doing this and good dealers expect it.
"Too bad they specialize in MidFi. "
Revel, B&W, Dynaudio and McIntosh are midfi?
The last time I looked those are HiFi products!
This speaks nothing of the truth of listening in your room on your system.

Neither does going to a show or a dealer, so what’s your point?
It’s the fact that you can get at least an idea of how they sound.
Then, you can order the speaker’s and actually listen to them in your room on your equipment.
Crutchfield also has a very generous return policy and they go out of their way to work with you. 


Very glad that you are happy with your Moabs.  It would have been very discouraging to find after all of your research that your ultimate opinion didn't align with your expectations.  Also, returning the speakers would have been a huge pain, and perhaps would have led to a confrontation with the designer -- I'm sure you're very glad to avoid all of that.  

Your excellent outcome notwithstanding, it is still my view that the tool is more a parlor trick than anything else.  If you read the Crutchfield patents on the tool, you will find that they use the purported transfer function of each speaker to do the compare.  (How'd they generate that transfer function, BTW??)   So no actual sound from the speakers is used to create the comparison; it is a filter applied to the samples.  For that reason, among others, I think the tool is kind of silly.  But if folks find it useful and find themselves happy with their Crutchfield speakers, that's great for them.  To me, that doesn't prove the validity of the tool.  If others are convinced otherwise, great for them and I respect their view, as well as yours.  

I can't be sure, but your last sentence "At least, they are useful once you learn to listen" might have been intended as a slight toward me, implying that I am not sufficiently competent to make YouTube speaker reviews helpful.  I would note that your argument cuts both ways.  I can just as easily say that you aren't able to listen well enough to appreciate the difference between the YouTube videos and the actual performance in your room, and that your view is hopelessly tainted by, e.g., confirmation bias.  But I see no reason to go there.

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Genuinely, I just meant to show that the point exists, and didn't intend to advance it.  I have no beef with Millercarbon.
Nobody ever said this is the same as auditioning speakers at home, not even Crutchfield said that. In fact, they state that this is not like audition speakers yourself. Take it as it is, which is a good way to compare speaker sound characteristics. It works well for that. For instance, it really helped me to see how soft the Elac UB5 sound compared to the Klipsch 600, and how much bass the KEF Q350 have compared to the Definitive technology D11. It's a great tool IMO. It also helped me to compared how the speakers I have at home compare to others. it's a comparison...a relative comparison. As simple as that.   
"auditioned" watching ... YouTube videos.  Lo and behold, they sound as expected.
So said the Fuze and Wall Sticky king... 

Confirmation bias anyone?
Right or wrong, I think this highlights a situation we all face. Speaker comparisons. Especially as you move toward the higher end. I was in the market for some good audiophile speakers. I bought Revel Salon 2's and I am very happy with them. But I was also very intrigued with the Legacy Aeris and Focal's. All very different speakers however, locations were not close to home. 
@cedargrover. There is quite a bit of science and technology behind this online tool. I would not call it a parlor trick. That’s why they have PhD’s working on it. What you call filters are actually models. They take a lot of measurements from the speaker playing different music in an anechoic room and put that empirical data into a model that mimic the sound of a particular speaker, and adjusted to your headphones. I would not call that silly at all. I think it’s brilliant just for that. Now, is it the same as auditioning speakers at home? Not at all. However, those folks who cannot audition speakers in person or don’t know where to start when it comes to speaker sound signatures, this is IMO a great starting tool. My two cents.
As most people with PhDs will tell you, having PhDs involved is no defense!!

They are attempting to apply the speaker's transfer function to the audio sample.  Call applying that transfer function something other than a "filter" if you like.   And how did they arrive at that transfer function? What domains does it encompass?  

Is it cool?  Sure it is.  Parlor tricks always are.  (Kidding with you!)  In my view, there is too much room for error for it to be useful for its intended purpose, but I can appreciate and respect that you see it differently.  I think we can all live in a world where we don't agree about the efficacy of the Crutchfield Speaker Comparison Tool!  :)
I see your point.
Funny thing, last night I compared the speakers I have at home with others to see if Crutchfield's tool is able, at least, to reproduce the characteristics of the speakers I know well and listen to at home almost every day. Well, I can tell you the tool is pretty accurate. For instance, I own the Elac UB5, Definitive technology D11, and KEF Q350. I compared them among each other using their tool for fun and that was pretty much what I hear at home. The warm sound of the Elacs, the super extended highs of the DT11, the deeper bass and laid back mid-range of the KEF...etc. I never found myself saying "oh, that's way off". Try it yourself for fun and see. It's fun at least! :D
Everything helps .When I look I like to read and hear .I think everyone does.No not like a live audition. 
When you can't audition them in person, would you prefer to choose speakers to trial-audition at home by:
1. reading reviews and posts by members on Audiogon;
2. listening to Crutchfield's approximate simulacrum of how they sound?
All of the above. One thing is not enough in my opinion. I'd use all the resources available.
@luciano33 Yeah, great tool. And despite all the immediate naysaying, thanks for sharing.
At least they're trying. Things are tough for brick and mortars now not to mention small towns and then put COVID in the mix. Hey, whatever helps folks, go for it.
"All speakers sound the same,don't they?"
The world according to kenjit.
Crutchfield's idea seems interesting, if nothing else, but I could not get past the headphone selection. I do not have any of the headphones (earphones) they require.
@glupson. I did not have any of the headphones on the list, but it did not matter. I chose one of the same brand as mine and the tests I did comparing the speakers I have at home resulted in very accurate results in terms of speaker characteristics. I don't think choosing a headphone will affect much the results. Pick the one closer to the one you have...or run the comparisons with different headphones from their list and see what happens. not everything has to be perfect, IMO.


I am curious about this feature as it defies simple logic that it should not work. They do not have my speakers, but they have another pair I am very familiar with. They definitely do not have my room in the headphones, either. Nice game, maybe it works somehow. I will try.
Maybe it is my earphones, they are not on the list, but speakers I am familiar with I could say are leaning towards what I know. However, three times more expensive speakers, or something like that, that I have heard before although not that extensively, sound about the same as the first ones. 
Fascinating, and +1 to Cfield for spending time and treasure to make the attempt to allow ’virtual comparisons’ at all. *S*

I don’t own a pair of ’phones, and haven’t for over a decade. But even listening to the ’sample’ units through my monitor Walshs’, there is subtle but noticable differences between them. luciano33 is lucky to have a pair of speakers that already exists on their list. That in itself gives him an opportunity to hear what those units sound like through their system.
It does allow to create a ’benchmark’; ’X’ sounds like "X" so one could perhaps note ’those differences’...especially if one can apply a track from ones’ computer.....

I did enjoy the ’forest’ of calibrated mics in their chamber, though. ;;)
Fascinating, I’ll have to check this out! I agree with the comments that this can be a very useful thing within the context of relative comparisons. To everyone crapping on it as useless, I think you’re completely missing the point. (This is coming from the perspective of someone who reviews gear extensively too.)
I love it when their speakers sound better than my speakers, on my speakers!
I’m just throwing this out there. Even if it’s just virtual comparisons,as another poster said, doesn’t this comparison give the customer some expectation bias? Will the customer that uses this comparison tool,already “know” they like the speakers,and be less likely to return them? Sounds like a good business move for Crutchfield. 
@ rocray. I think you are right. They lose money when people audition speakers at home and return them...and the cycle continues. Some people take advantage of that and overdo it. If costumers use this tool before buying, they may reduce the number of returns, I guess. Good move indeed!
I listened on a pair of Sennheiser headphones. As I suspected in advance, all speakers tested sounded a lot like Sennheiser headphones. 
@ tom8473. We all have different ears, so maybe yours could not detect differences in sound among speakers. As discussed above, the tool is best for relative comparisons among speakers. 

Hi, luciano33.

When one has a preconceived notion in one's mind about the outcome of something before doing it, they have already made up their mind as to the outcome, and that is what is most likely to occur. As Tom had suspected in advance what he was going to hear, that is what he heard.
That is a decent description of expectation bias, even though I was half kidding and really have no idea why as to he not hearing a difference...

I was half kidding as well. That's sort of how the mind works. I am a scientist and we actually have to train our minds into not being bias and let the results speak for themselves. Why are we by default biased? I am not's not my field. I have to confess that before actually listening to different speakers through this tool I thought their sound was going to be way off...and what I experienced was completely different. It actually surprised me. I guess I had a null hypothesis in my mind and tested it without being fully conscious about it? :D
I am with you, I can't understand those saying they can't hear sound differences among speakers because they were very obvious to me. Cheers!
I like Crutchfield. I bought a Yamaha CD player from them. I had a lot of questions and their staff is extremely accessible and helpful. They don't carry everything under the sun but they have a pretty well rounded selection of hifi gear and yes the speaker compare is a cool tool.
I really like this Crutchfield speaker compare option. It is especially useful since they give you the option of normalizing the playback by either input power or output volume level. This is great! With this set to equal output level all speakers in the compare group play at the same volume. This allows you to compare high and low efficiency speakers at the same time as if the volume were adjusted between each. That’s difficult to do Seamlessly in a real setup. I also noticed that they have a large dropdown list of headphones to choose from. I assume they have a model for each that they to adjust the equalization so that each sounds neutral. It’s not going to tell you exactly how the speakers sound of course, but it at least gives you a rough idea of at least how they sound relative to one another. Very innovative Crutchfield!