How do you prove that one speaker is better than another?


Does anybody know how it can be proven that one speaker is better than another? It is easy to show that one goes higher or lower in frequency or louder but what about the overall sound quality?

For example lets take a relatively cheap bookshelf speaker that costs $500. Now lets take a very expensive bookshelf speaker such as the KEF ref one or Wilson duettes, or TAD ME1. 

How can it be shown that these expensive speakers are better than the cheap speaker? 

I understand that you can just listen to it and claim its better but that is obviously not proof thats just an opinion.
kenjit
When one sounds better to me it is better. No speaker is universally better for all listener and system preferences. So one is better when I say so 🙂. I have the authority to decide on this particular matter.
Stop and think. Imagine the perfect speaker. All it does is perfectly reproduce whatever signal it gets. Of course no speaker ever is perfect. All the same its worth understanding this is in fact all a speaker is supposed to do. Its not supposed to "sound good". Its not supposed to have any sound of its own at all. A speaker is a transducer, a device that changes one form of energy into another. Period.

Okay. So this being the case, then the closer a speaker gets to perfect the harder its going to be to know it. Our imaginary absolutely perfect speaker will have no sonic signature at all. It would sound like whatever its connected to. We could hook it up to all kinds of different components, feed it all different recordings, it would in every case reflect only those components and only that signal. Nothing of the speaker would be there to test or prove.

That’s how you know. You listen to it with different stuff and you know.

How you prove this is like asking how do you prove Knopfler is better than Django. Good luck. Yer gonna need it.
This is probably completely wrong, but as an ignorant in this field i would do following very simple and stupid test: 
look for a decent microphone. Play PinkNoise on each speaker and record each playback under exactly the same conditions. Play the recorded recording again while recording it again. 
Do it as many times as the sound dacay differences between speakers are evident. 

"I understand that you can just listen to it and claim its better but that is obviously not proof"

That is an absolutely ridiculous statement as then there is no way to prove it.

Grow up
When one sounds better to me it is better. No speaker is universally better for all listener and system preferences. So one is better when I say so 🙂. I have the authority to decide on this particular matter.
A speaker should reproduce what its being fed. Some do it better than others. Just because you dont like the result, it doesnt change that fact. 
So preference has nothing to do with my question and i hereby forbid any further mention of it.

That is an absolutely ridiculous statement as then there is no way to prove it.
If there is no way to prove it, speaker design is a hoax.
I don’t need a consensus that I bought the best speaker, I just need to purchase the best speaker for me.  Seems pretty straight forward.  
I think that the problem is that in the audio field it is much more complex to define a "standard" as in optics, for example with the camera-to-monitor problem. The fact that the camera-to-monitor problem is only bidimensional makes it already much simpler as the audio problem wich is 3 dimensional. 
Probably it is possible but tons of decisions have to be taken. 
"If there is no way to prove it, speaker design is a hoax"

You prove it by the sonic results which require listening. 
Scofield is better.

Better speaker?
Wanker rubbish.

If you get a large enough representative  random sample of people  to listen to both the one more people prefer is better.

Read up on statistical analysis and you will see. 
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"I understand that you can just listen to it and claim its better but that is obviously not proof thats just an opinion."

PROVE IT. 
I set a timer when comparing speakers.  The one I want to listen to for a longer period of time is measurably better. :-D
Height and weight.  70% of the indisputable goodness comes from the weight and 30% from the height.  To measure a speaker's goodness take the weight in pounds and multiply it by 0.7 and add the height in inches multiplied by 0.3.  If speaker A has a higher number than speaker B, it's better.
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So preference has nothing to do with my question and i hereby forbid any further mention of it.
A shrink could look at this and surmise that this is one of the few ways a person can dominate and have some sort of relevance. These patterns of inane threads can point to the need to create a momentary world in which the subject is atop.

HIs mentioning of forbidding assumes he’s thinking he has, at long last, a captive audience. His avoidance in the past of actual, relevant responses are deflected or ignored but now he thinks he’s commanding from wherever safe ground he thinks he’s on and is capable of dictating the course of this thread. He derives great satisfaction in the act.


All the best,
Nonoise

Wow...

Had I dropped coin on Green Mountain Audio speakers I would be well over IT by now.

What's your excuse - Kenjit?

DeKay
+2 grannyring. 
 Better is in the ear of the beholder. 
Attempting to prove a personal opinion to someone else is a waste of time. 

Had I dropped coin on Green Mountain Audio speakers I would be well over IT by now.What's your excuse - Kenjit?
The excuse is that they dont exist anymore.

HIs mentioning of forbidding assumes he's thinking he has, at long last,  a captive audience.
Every audiophile has the right to know just how good their speakers are.
Theres already plenty of opinions out there. Its time for the truth now.

In a technical sense, measurements that are based off of an established standard will provide you the details of a speakers ability to playback sound. In the real world; however, those measurements are more than likely to not equate to one speaker being better than another, in terms of real world listening experiences, and for each type of speaker, I.e., horns, baffle, etc.

There are baseline measurements that are industry standards, efficiency, ohm, etc., but, after the engineering is done, and the speakers are produced, then marketing becomes a factor. I would suggest that many uninformed or inexperienced audio folks would care less of the technical specifications and would be more apt to focus on the sound. Because, this is what they hear first.

Of course, experience will yield a benefit to listening as you are more prone to be critical of some speaker aspects and care about system synergy. Therefore, the more experience one has in this hobby, the more that that individual will take into account the totality of the speakers qualities. 

In my early days of audio experiences I was very technically oriented towards basic audio specifications of an audio system; mostly, signal to noise ratio, total harmonic distortion, THD in rated watts, efficiency in at 1 watt/1 meter, etc. In the present, I just knew when I heard my latest speakers, the Classic Audio Reference T1.5, that they were the “one”. I think in this instance, at least for me, that my listening experiences, combined with knowing the baseline specifications of this speaker allowed me to formulate an opinion of why I liked how this speaker sounds. 
Of course, the main point is, yes, published specifications and measurements of speakers will give you a baseline, but, and this is a big but, real world experiences from others who have heard the same speakers and post their experiences about those speakers, leads towards the statistical analysis point mentioned previously. For example, the technical parameters of most Magneplanar speakers exhibit low efficiency, and owners have endorsed this by their experiences. 
At the end of the day, no matter what criteria is used to determine the baseline standard for speaker measurements, the real world listening experiences and synergy derived from one’s own equipment (to include ears) will determine the perceived quality of the final sound. In Germany, Audio magazine uses an efficiency formula which depicts the efficiency quotient of speakers with the watts required to drive the speaker adequately, and for a given volume/space in square meters. I think this is a great way to help people get into the ballpark of system synergy. Audio magazine is known for its laboratory grade measurements of audio equipment. Chasing audio specification numbers in this hobby is likely to make you go mad unless you know what the numbers mean and how you can use them to your advantage. 
"How do you prove that one speaker is better than another? "

Define the terms of the word "better". More power handling capacity? Efficiency? Size? Cheaper by comparison? Better in what respects? The answer is, if the factor being considered can not be demonstrated by a number then the concept of "better" just doesn’t apply. Is blue better than red? Are brunettes better than blondes? If you can’t apply a number to the term "better" then it is meaningless.
"How do you prove that one speaker is better than another? "

There is absolutely no need to do this, silly question, but then again, consider the source.
The OP's question and desire for an answer based on empirical evidence alone will never be satisfied to their satisfaction unless they reframe their conception of reality. Speaker design is both an art and a science. Art Is Subjective! The OP's question assumes all that matters in speaker design can be measured and quantified which most would agree is a simplistic conception of the designer's job. The assumption that a "better"speaker is wholly quantifiable by measurements is rather like an art researcher claiming they can prove DaVinci was a better painter than Raphael or Michelangelo because the measured proportions of DaVinci's human figures were mathematically more representative of reality. 
If you can’t apply a number to the term "better" then it is meaningless
Yes but thats not just my problem its a problem within the speaker industry. And who are the victims? We all are. 
@kenjit 
How do you prove that one speaker is better than another?
Why would you need to "prove" this?
And who are the victims? We all are.
Seems fashionable to be a victim these days. 
As a victim, what reparations are you seeking....from who?
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" The goal of being an audiophile is to attain perfect sound. We need to know how close we are "

- Webster says; " a person who is enthusiastic about high-fidelity sound reproduction"

Nothing is said about "perfect sound" Stop coming up with these absolute garbage statements, you are wrong and nobody cares but you. 

" There would be one set of standards and I would be the judge"

- now that is funny, my cat would do a better job ... You really need to get out of mummie's basement ...
As we all learned in college, very few things are proven, just strong supported or not.  I guess you mean what tangle measurement can one produce to support that a given speaker is better than another, with as little i harem you as possible.

rather than trying to provide this, I just search for the sound that suits my taste.  I will leave the proving to someone much more technical than me.
The goal of being an audiophile is to attain perfect sound. We need to know how close we are.
That sucks the fun right out of this hobby.  I might have to give up listening to music.
Speaker companies must by law be required to publish evidence that their speakers are satisfactory. There would be one set of standards and I would be the judge. All speakers on the market would receive a ranking and all speaker reviews abolished. Any company caught flouting the rules would be closed down.
Sounds like a basic delusion of grandeur....good luck with that!
If a  speaker does not have (feel free to change the order #, all are near equal, I said, near, there are sublime difs)
1) SEAS
2) Scanspeak
3) SB Acoustics
as drivers,, not the least bit, nada, interested. 
Thats how i determine what a  speaker is/is not. 
The name of a  speaker means nothing. Its the actual drivers inside the cabinet. 
what about the cabinet?
What about you? How do we know you are perfect? Because your opinion of yourself tells us so?
(Another useless post by Golden Ears)
Don't understand why the mods let him continue posting his dribble. 
What about you? How do we know you are perfect? Because your opinion of yourself tells us so?
Because I have already been in the predicament that most of you on this forum are currently in. I was once an audiophile that sought perfect sound but no speaker was ever good enough. My standards were too high. However now I am what you might call a super audiophile which is the next level up from an ordinary audiophile. This involves severe modifications, custom tuning, hand tuning and tuning by ear. Most of you are not at this level yet and some of you may never reach this point. I am a self taught speaker tuner that strives for perfection. That is what makes me special. I do not pretend that something sounds perfect when its not. I will die a hero that the audiophile world has never seen the likes of. 
Oh, you're special alright...
Look at the metrics in Stereophile reviews.
They include frequency response graphs, which (if you assume "flatter is better") can show that one speaker is "better" than another with respect to accuracy.  But then, these measurements cannot account for the effects of your own listening room or for your own preferences. Stereophile (and other review sites) offer up other metrics, which may show you which of two speakers is "better" with respect to each measurement, assuming the measurements are accurate, appropriate, and account for all the features that matter to you (and also that you know how to interpret them.)

However, even high-end speaker designers might make trade-offs or compromises. Which of two speakers achieves the better compromise when it comes to, say, having a wider "sweet spot" vs. minimizing undesirable room effects? The answer can be a matter of personal opinion about the importance of one vs another feature for a specific room and use case.  
" I will die a hero that the audiophile world has never seen the likes of."
- one could only hope
what about the cabinet?

any cabinet weighing over say 70 lbs is unaccepatle.
also all those weird shape cabinets, = marketing ploy = something just ain't right about those weird odd ball shaped cabinets,,, 
Take the Seas Thor,, has this fancy inner reflexn thing, = not necessary,, just a n basic rear hole tube port would have worked just fine = less build time = better price on cabinet,, Not compalining as the Thor tower is a  really perfect size and beautiful finsih cabinet,,I think Tyler should have stayed with MTM or 2 way, all Seas Drivers,,and avoid all those other designs he came up with,,also some of his towers were just too big,,
Tyler had the best sounding MTM, 2 way on the market,, sadly he went off ona  tangent with big builds and drivers <<other than>> SEAS, Scan Speak, SB Acoustics top drivers.
Some of the newest scanspeak W18s, W22;s go for,,<<<$1000 EACH!!!>> wow, thats technology. 

However, even high-end speaker designers



All high end commercial (exception of 1 or 2 labs using Demark high value driver, but tese 2 are asking GOLD for their speakers when you can get the kits for $'s)) are using who knows what drivers,,, Most likely <<MADE IN CHINA>> so they can make a  profit.
No matter how fancy a  designer makesa  cabinet,, a  chinese speaker will sound like a  boombox.

@mozartfan
I wasn't even talking about trade-offs for profit. I'm talking about trade-offs to achieve competing design goals. 

For example, the Bose "direct/reflecting" design might be "better" if you want a low-cost system for background music heard from many positions in a kitchen or other workroom. The JansZen hybrid electrostatic design probably is "better" if you're willing to pay a higher price for a faithful rendering of the original recording, as heard from a seat at the apex of an equilateral triangle in your main listening room. A 3rd design might be preferable if you want a high end system for your living room but sometimes like to get up and dance around.  
The entertainment value of these threads has risen steadily.  

kenjit
 OP
1,045 posts
08-31-2020 4:44am
What about you? How do we know you are perfect? Because your opinion of yourself tells us so?
Because I have already been in the predicament that most of you on this forum are currently in. I was once an audiophile that sought perfect sound but no speaker was ever good enough. My standards were too high. However now I am what you might call a super audiophile which is the next level up from an ordinary audiophile. This involves severe modifications, custom tuning, hand tuning and tuning by ear. Most of you are not at this level yet and some of you may never reach this point. I am a self taught speaker tuner that strives for perfection. That is what makes me special. I do not pretend that something sounds perfect when its not. I will die a hero that the audiophile world has never seen the likes of.


This could well be the greatest exchange between any 2 audiophiles ever.
"I was once an audiophile that sought perfect sound but no speaker was ever good enough. My standards were too high."

Kenjit, maybe your budget has just been too low.