Hypocrisy within the speaker industry


One of the biggest problems in speaker design is that you have speaker designers claiming that speaker design is a highly skilled job that requires great expertise. 

The problem is, there is no standard within the industry which can be used to prove that a given speaker meets that standard and therefore is satisfactory. 

What is there to differentiate a speaker designed by a fraud from that of a real designer? NOTHING. 

In conclusion, speaker design is open to anybody that wants to try it. Its not a private club for members only. There is no skill or expertise involved since there are no standards to decide if the end product meets the required standards. Anything and everything is allowed. Thick cabinets walls, thin cabinet walls, resonant cabinet walls, flat response, smiley curve, gently decreasing, NS10 type curve, flat vs non flat impedance curve you name it, it's all considered acceptable. 

There are no qualifications required to be a speaker designer. The fact that some have degrees is coincidental and irrelevant. 

Next time you listen to a high end speaker, just remember that folks. Until we have strict standards, this hypocrisy will remain within the industry. It's time we have standardization in the industry so we can weed out the charlatans. 
kenjit
I think most of us judge a speaker by it's sound and not who designed it or what the design claims are.
Kenjit seems to enjoy his role as: Judge, Jury, and Strict, Rigid, Absolute Merciless Executioner. Facts, knowledge, and logic are not required because his Decision is Final and The Law of the Land.
@kenjit 

" The problem is, there is no standard within the industry which can be used to prove that a given speaker meets that standard and therefore is satisfactory.

There are no qualifications required to be a speaker designer. The fact that some have degrees is coincidental and irrelevant."

Since no qualifications are required why don't you just devise the standards and publish them; certainly everyone will follow your divine guidance and direction. 


That’s great news and and a place where innovation and out of the box thinking can thrive! 
Kenjit:

WAKE UP AND SMELL THE ROSE,  There are no standards that you can rate a speaker manufacturer against and if there were, it is strictly the  sound quality that counts.  You either like its or don't.
One of the biggest problems in speaker design is that you have speaker designers claiming that speaker design is a highly skilled job that requires great expertise.

The problem is, there is no standard within the industry which can be used to prove that a given speaker meets that standard and therefore is satisfactory.

What is there to differentiate a speaker designed by a fraud from that of a real designer? NOTHING.

In conclusion, speaker design is open to anybody that wants to try it. Its not a private club for members only. There is no skill or expertise involved since there are no standards to decide if the end product meets the required standards. Anything and everything is allowed. Thick cabinets walls, thin cabinet walls, resonant cabinet walls, flat response, smiley curve, gently decreasing, NS10 type curve, flat vs non flat impedance curve you name it, it’s all considered acceptable.

There are no qualifications required to be a speaker designer. The fact that some have degrees is coincidental and irrelevant.

Next time you listen to a high end speaker, just remember that folks. Until we have strict standards, this hypocrisy will remain within the industry. It’s time we have standardization in the industry so we can weed out the charlatans.
Fascinating. Strict standards. I see.

And who provides the standards, kenjit? Would it by any chance be you? No? Guess it will just have to be me then. What? You don’t like that either? Who’d a thunk. Okay well then how about we set up a committee, appoint some people, let them develop the strict standards? What’s that? You don’t like that either? Okay then how about we put a bunch of names in a hat, draw... no? Not that either? Dang kenjit. I’m starting to get the feeling there’s no pleasing you.

PS-
What we have is called a market. Not hypocrisy. Market. You could look it up. 

I am heavily considering putting a speaker on the market..... 
Who am I..... nobody really knows,
But I've designed, built and repaired several hundred of speakers,
Yet,  who knows me?  
I've rubbed shoulders with legends,  but I'm not a legend...
wait,  how did the legends become legends?  
Hmmm,  this is difficult.  
I hope that If I do this,  my speaker/speakers will be judged by what they sound like, not who I am or who I am not.  It will take  buckets of money to get this started.  
Good chance that I won't do it,  I may invest in something a bit more safe, but still..... 

I am heavily considering putting a speaker on the market.....
Who am I..... nobody really knows,
But I've designed, built and repaired several hundred of speakers,
Yet, who knows me?  
I've rubbed shoulders with legends, but I'm not a legend...
wait, how did the legends become legends?  
Hmmm, this is difficult.  
I hope that If I do this, my speaker/speakers will be judged by what they sound like, not who I am or who I am not. It will take buckets of money to get this started.  
Good chance that I won't do it, I may invest in something a bit more safe, but still.....

And that's the market.

What kenjit doesn't see is how badly he's knee-capping himself. He thinks standards are the answer. Should drop that one like a hot rock after reading me, but he won't. Oh well. His loss. 

Strict standards had nothing to do with Paul Klipsch developing the Klipschorn, or with Eric Alexander building Tekton. Strict standards had nothing to do with Duke Lejeune building his Swarm subwoofer system. All three of these, horns, low mass multi-driver midranges, and distributed bass array, were developed and refined the way all things should be: by some guy doing the best he can and .

Period.

Strict standards not only won't help, they will in fact do actual harm. Which should be obvious from reading my post above.

Strict standards would pretty much bar guys like you from even coming into the market. Because you'd have your own idea. But some bossy guy already decided your idea is banned. Why? Doesn't meet his standards.

Here's a good one for anyone thinks standards would help. Ralph Nader made a name for himself destroying the Corvair, the rear engine car made famous in his book Unsafe At Any Speed. He pretty much proved by his standards it was the folly of putting the engine in the back that made that car so deadly. A whole book devoted to it, and nobody has made a rear engine car ever since.

Except, oh wait, what's that car, the one that's been voted Performance Car of the Year more times by more reviewers over more years than anyone can keep track of? Porsche 911. Rear engine Porsche 911.

Strict standards are the last thing we need.

Good luck with your speakers. May you become the next Eric Alexander. May kenjit see the light. We can always hope.
Yet another useless PSA from a poster that has an obvious axe to grind.....or post count to raise.


Think I'll go binge-watch some Kardashians to elevate my IQ
Please let Alon Wolf at MAGICO know about this bogus observation.
This post should be titled

"The Hypocrisy of a speaker industry hater"
This dude has issues.
I am beginning to believe that Kenjit has this idea, that all speaker designers are no more advanced than a guy in his garage, throwing a tweeter, a mid and a woofer in a mdf box, with a generic crossover, putting some nice cosmetics on it, and a fancy sounding label.


Are their standards anywhere in the field of audio? I mean can't Joe Schmo build a preamp, amplifier, turntable or DAC  for Schmo Audio?
Actually elrod, it does take a fair amount of knowledge to design an electronic devise. Anyone can go out and buy the working component parts of a loudspeaker, stuff them in a box and they will work. You can buy kit electronics but then all you need to know is how to use a soldering iron and needle nose pliers and if you are Kenjit a solder sucker. Designing the electronics is another matter. 
The physics behind loudspeaker design are relatively easy to understand.
Anyone can build a perfectly fine loudspeaker if they have a good shop to work with and some test equipment. 

In the past couple years I have been searching for new speakers. I have come to grow more educated on the different designs, "house sounds", and that each designer has a primary goal in achieving that perfect sound. The biggest hurdle for each designer to clear is that he has only his/her/staff’s ear/ears to judge the "perfect sound" and when that goal is achieved. I am sure Mr Green can agree the design in mind at the beginning of making a new speaker is never the speaker you wind up with, it requires tweeking and probably a few prototypes to get close before it can be fine tuned and accepted as success.

The biggest hurdle for the buyer to clear is, matching our ear to the designers ear. It is more confusing on the buyers end than the pieces from 25 jigsaw puzzles with similar colors all piled into one bag and then trying sort out the puzzle you want. You can’t even be sure if the puzzle you work on will be the correct one till you get it somewhat finished. So to the OP’s concern, where do we even establish a foundation for a standard? When even one speaker can change it’s characteristics by simply changing the room, position in the room, speaker wire, amp, pre-amp, source etc.

SO as much as I would like to see a standard to hold manufactures to, it can never happen. Each ear is different and the associated equipment is different, so having a standard would not get us closer to being assured of what we can expect than each pair of shoes are exact fit by the size.

My opinion

FWIW


The impulse response is a good place to start....
@tomic601 , 
Good point, but if I recall, the OP seems to have an issue with scientific facts.
Bob
I think there must be some standards in at least the audio things that use electricity if only to shield consumers from sudden death, but clearly the standard for speakers that should be immediately adopted is that they sound great to me. I propose that every speaker designer submit prototypes to me to get my seal of approval.
@wolf_garcia 

Nominated for Chief Speaker Standards Officer
In Wolf's Ears We Trust 


;-)

How can you tell me there are no standards and then claim its a highly skilled job? poppycock. If there are no standards, anything goes whether youre an engineer or a fraud. Theres no way to tell if theres any skill used if theres no way to judge how good the end result is. Do not be duped. 

beeswax capacitors and wolfs ears....sounds like modern medecine to me...
That last statement is so transparently wrong it's laughable.

Of course plenty of people who've never passed some kind of exam, regulation, or fixed standard can excel in the activity that that test purports to measure.

Making a false statement as if it is a fact is rampant these days, from top to bottom. All loudspeaker designers use the cumulative spectral decay (waterfall plot) as a major performance evaluation tool. In his excellent GR Research Tech Talk Tuesday videos (viewable on You Tube), Danny Richie explains and demonstrates the responses of the drivers in a loudspeaker, individually and collectively. He shows the waterfall plot of the loudspeaker, which exhibits it’s on axis and off axis response, and how that response decays in time. Resonances and stored energy in the drivers (and the speaker enclosure) is thus revealed, as are problems created by phase misalignment between the drivers. Danny explains and demonstrates how he corrects (or at least minimizes) those failings by installing driver compensation filter networks into the speaker’s cross-over. All the high performance loudspeaker designers know this stuff; the OP obviously doesn’t.

Why do we continue to dignify this fool’s nonsensical pronouncements by responding to them? Ignore him, and maybe he’ll go away. I know, I’m as guilty as everyone else. Shall we make a pact? ;-)

Agree with @bdp24 
As hard as is it is to ignore the ignorance I am blocking this fool from my feed.  Two decades here and this audiofool is up there with some real doozies we've had.

@bdp24 

All loudspeaker designers use the cumulative spectral decay (waterfall plot) as a major performance evaluation tool.
Do they now? Id love to see that data. Why cant i find it on any of the speaker websites? Are dynaudio, B&w, pmc, wilson, magico etc included? 

I have heard or owned several hifi speakers and its not hard to hear resonances all over the place. please dont insult my intelligence with this poppycock. 
I've read through this thread again and have been thinking.... Actually, there is a way to judge a speaker designer.....
Measurements! 
What can you measure and what can you not?
Distortion,  frequency curve, impedance curve, phasing between drivers.... mismodulation between drivers not properly time and phased aligned.  Resonance problems at different frequencies on multiple driver systems. 
 A few stereophile test cd's have a pink noise test.... if this pink noise displays itself on your stage as a narrow band,  your system should always produce a good soundstage,  if it is wider at certain frequencies,  it will show in your stage. 
So what I am saying,  there certainly could be a set of measurements that could easily tell you just how much a designer took time to make his or her speakers measure..... Even though it is possible, a great measuring speaker seldom sounds bad,  yet every bad sounding speaker that I've ever measured showed problems every time. 
Many many designers hear comments from their customer base about what their customers think they need.  An example would be:  "A great speaker needs 1st order crossovers"... well,  if you don't know what you are doing,  your off axis response of many 1st order crossovers will show significant holes or peaks in the response curve.  Jim Thiel is one of the best 1st order designers that I know of,  yet,  he has done trial and error with this himself,  an example would be the CS2.3 has the problems described... it took him alot of work to correct this in the CS2.4,  yet,  Give me a pair of CS 2.3's and allow higher order slopes and the CS2.3 problems are easily corrected, but of course,  no more 1st order. 
Not looking for a Thiel argument and won't go into debates over it,  just my observations from these speakers in particular over the years.... 
So anyway,  yes, a designer can be properly and fairly judged.
Measurements


yet every bad sounding speaker that I've ever measured showed problems every time.
confirmation bias 
So anyway, yes, a designer can be properly and fairly judged.
Measurements
There are no measurements. Ive checked all the websites. Its as if theres a conspiracy to prevent these measurements being revealed. Its as if there are dirty secrets being hidden...
kenjit I believe the standards are called physics and mechanics. You can't just "do anything" and have a speaker propagate sound, or interact easily with electronics. And as others have said the market will tell you if you have a good or bad design. In the meantime you're an angry guy standing in his backyard shaking your fist at the sky. Also a relentless speaker troll.
the market will tell you if you have a good or bad design
no it wont. No such thing as a bad design. Every design will gain the approval of some audiofools. Even the NS10s get approval from supposedly golden eared sound engineers. If i put a $5 woofer in a fancy box and stuck a price tag of $5000 somebody would buy it. Somebody would justify it. 

What complete nonsense this post is. It's simple. You listen to a bunch of speakers at various locations. You pick one you like, that sounds great to you, your ears and brain; no one else...hopefully you get to try it out in your room. If you can afford it, you buy it. And you go on from there. Who cares who designed it, his or her credentials, his education, etc. and on and on and on. 


Kenjit...please build me the perfect pair of speakers. What will it cost?
I see what you are saying but can it be compared to an artist and their paintings. What you see or hear may be something that appeals to you and your senses. Who are we to say you are wrong by opinion or by some standard defined by others. If you receive pleasure from 2 different styles of speakers then so be it. IMHO. FOR WHAT THAT IS WORTH as long as you enjoy the music that is what matters. How you get there is irrelevant.. Again IMHO.
but can it be compared to an artist and their paintings.

you cant have it both ways. One minute somebody says its art, next minute somebody else thinks measurements matter.  

Who cares who designed it, his or her credentials, his education

A lot of snobbish people do care about credentials. They care about what so called experts have to say about speaker design. This then influences the majority of less qualified designers and audiophiles who dont know any better. Look at the way Ive been treated on here. Ive been mocked and ridiculed for supposedly being ignorant about speaker design. If my credentials dont matter, then my opinions about speaker design are equally valid even if they conflict with others opinions. Nobody has the right to question my credentials if credentials dont matter do they?
There are no measurements. Ive checked all the websites. Its as if theres a conspiracy to prevent these measurements being revealed. Its as if there are dirty secrets being hidden...
And there, ladies and germs, you have it.
Need you go further?


I believe the illuminati is behind this speaker conspiracy. 
What people dont seem to understand here is that a speaker is a speaker whether its designed by a phd physicist or a high school drop out. Its a box with drivers in them. The crossover is a crossover whether done by ear or by measurements. 
Snobbery is what causes people to proclaim that speaker design requires expertise. Prove to me how this expertise results in a superior speaker. Does a speaker designed to be ruler flat using all this expertise, sound better? No it does not. Are there large scale studies that prove a speaker designed to have an even polar response sound best? None that i know of. Do audiophiles on Audiogon have a predilection for such speakers? I doubt it. 

If measurements were so decisive, manufacturers would give us the measurements so that we could choose the best speaker according to the measurements. But the measurements are not available to us. its a dirty secret. Theres no agreement on how measurements should be done or which are the most important. 

Its all marketing folks. We are being duped. There are no measurements. 

We need to acknowledge that speaker design is a misnomer. 
As I understand it Floyd Toole tried to tackle this issue at the Canadian NRC back in the1980s.  Bring measurements and subjectivity into alignment.  Whether you agree with his conclusions or not, the project spawned many speaker brands still operating today, and earned Dr. T his position as chief of loudspeaker R&D at Harman, responsible for the JBL brand and for Revel and Infinity too. So one could argue there are indeed objective standards in the speaker business.  Stereophile does a good job in providing independent confirmation of a speaker’s performance using clearly stated measurement protocols.  As I’ve posted elsewhere I built my own speakers that please me. Not the ultimate, but pretty darn good. If I had the training of an electronics and acoustic engineer I’m sure I could have done better. 
"If i put a $5 woofer in a fancy box and stuck a price tag of $5000 somebody would buy it. Somebody would justify it."

Sounds like a winning business model you should try it!
ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Boring.........................

Speakers are subjective and as Nelson Pass says measurements mean nothing!
Spend that $5,000 on speaker parts, slap it all together with the assistance of a how-to book and I guarantee you it will sound much worse than a pair of $300 Paradigm SE Atoms.
kenjit...my speakers are Apogee Duetta Sigs. To design and build these ribbon speakers is a bit more complicated than "putting a $5 woofer in a fancy box". Whether or not the Apogee folks in Randolph, MA had the proper credentials or met some universal speaker design standard is irrelevant to me. They just sound great.
bryhifi,

Think I'll go binge-watch some Kardashians to elevate my IQ
The post of the thread.



kenjit,

"you cant have it both ways. One minute somebody says its art, next minute somebody else thinks measurements matter."
Yes, you can. It is not the same person both times.
"We are being duped."
Speak for yourself.
Nelson spoke of objective vs subjective measurements.  He never said that measurements mean nothing.  
It is correct that measurements do not tell the whole story,  but there is no doubt,  Someone competent in speaker design that looks at the entire picture of measurements on a speaker can tell if someone has a complete understanding or at least cares about where time is taken in a speaker vs what is ignored or not known or no care taken.  

The thread never was for the OP, it might be for somebody who thinks they know better than Jim T
alas he is gone, one remains and he measures and listens since 1977 with really good tools. Every network and speakers goes into the chamber and is measured and nulled to a standard. The impulse and waterfall for my pair of 7’s came in the manual. I dialed the below 100 HZ response in with the built in 11 band analog EQ against the standard test tones.....
back to the music, Railroad Earth, Catch them live in a few days....
And BTW that is exactly what ruined Thiel audio, somebody with zero understanding of time and phase switched to high order crossovers, and entered a densely overpopulated market segment they knew nothing about... poof

there are standards for bankruptcy 
If the perfect speaker were playing in a room and kenjit wasn't around to hear it, would it still be the perfect speaker?
"There are no measurements." Now he's just being deliberately, stubbornly obtuse.