the paradox of accurate speakers

if 2 speakers are considered "accurate", but when compared sound "different" from each other, how can they be considered accurate ?

do all so-called accurate speakers sound the same ?

if not, none or only one can be accurate.
do all so-called accurate speakers sound the same ?

Yes accurate speakers do sound very close...not perfectly the same (that would mean they were perfect) but very close.

There are a great many "so-called" accurate speakers (you can call anything you like accurate, as it is an over used term)
That's easy: There is no such thing as absolute accuracy. At the very least, there will be aberrations from a microphone and the recording system that will separate the live music from the reproduced music. Then each playback system will add its own abberations. Two different speakers have different aberrations but they are aberrations nevertheless. Nothing is perfect.

If you seek some sort of absolute, you will always be frustrated and never be happy. Just find what you think is "accurate" relative to youself and your budget, forget all the rest, and enjoy the music.

Even if there was such a thing as an absolutely accurate speaker, it would be rendered less than accurate when placed in a given room. That's because the room is also a speaker enclosure. Just like a speaker cabinet, the room imparts standing waves, reflections and refractions that defeat the illusion in just the same manner as the speaker cabinets do.

That's the dilemma - even if you overcome the laws of physics that stand in the way of a perfect speaker (massless driver with infinite rigidity, inert cabinets and infinite baffle with no refraction energy), the room it plays in spoils everything.

To throw another wrench in the works, not all people hear the same way due to age, physiology, whatever. So if one builds a speaker he voices as "accurate", another may disagree.
Just because it is considered Accurate does not mean it is absolute, like in art there can be 2 seperate "Accurate" renditions of any given item but there can still be and are subtle and profound differences.
You can apply this to so many things like every instrument, take 2 Piano's that are both tuned.....they will sound Accurate but different.
Another wrench is that inaccuracy is inherent to recording as well as play back. If you had an accurate speaker you wouldn't really have a certain way to know it, & you might really want the speaker that exagerated what the recording diminishes & vica versa.
And yet, scales can be accurate or not, meters can be, gas gages, weather forcasts, so many why not speakers?
So what is the logic here: if accurate speakers differ to any extent in their presentation it means that there are no accurate speakers so that we may as well have boxes that put out whatever any given person likes?
Try replacing the word 'accurate' with the word 'congruent'. . . and you will quickly realize that two speakers, both congruent with reality, need not sound at all the same.
Accuracy in speakers is not an absolute that a speaker is either accurate or not, it is a spectrum with less accurate warm and mushy on one end and less accurate hard and grainy on the other. The middle part of the spectrum is nominal accurate, but speakers in this portion of the spectrum can lean a little bit one way or the other.

Actually, the picture would probably look more like a circle with a smaller circle in the center representing accurate speakers. Speakers can probably digress from accuracy in an infinite number of directions.
Accuracy is in the ear of the be(er)holder. :)

Listening to music is a subjective experience, like drinking wine or eating ice cream. There is no 'accurate' in wine tasting or ice cream eating, why would you look for it in music?

Listening to music is a subjective experience, like drinking wine or eating ice cream. There is no 'accurate' in wine tasting or ice cream eating, why would you look for it in music?
It's not the drinking of wine that is subjective, it's the enjoyment of the wine. And it's not music that is or is not accurate, it's music reproduction.
Jmcgrogan, what you say is simply wrong, but such a hard held belief for subjective audiophiles like you that, at this point, in this deconstructionist phase of the history of hi-fi, there is nothing anyone can do or say to convince you or yours that without an objective measure the design and construction of any component, including speakers, would be akin to a blind man with a cane walking in downtown traffic.

Accuracy does exist. Wine and cheese have nothing to do with it.
PBB, what's wrong with blind men -- and women let's not forget -- walking with a cane in downtown traffic. . I do it even in New York [chuckles!]? . . . and how does the admittedly quaint imagery relate to speaker design?
Cheese, who said anything about cheese?

Please enlighten me than Pbb. What is accuracy? Are you talking about speaker laboratory measurements? You can measure a wine's viscosity and pH levels, but that tells you nothing about the taste.

I'm from the school that if two 'accurate' (meaning they measure the same) speakers sound different, then we are measuring the wrong thing. I believe the most accurate measuring devices are located on the side of the human head.

You can call perceived accuracy (laboratory measurements) accuracy if you wish, that is your perogative. If the laboratory measurements represented 'real accuracy', than two speakers that measure the same would sound the same, yet this is not the case. So if you objectivist insist that measurements equal accuracy, then I would suggest that you find the right thing to measure, because you haven't yet.

If you've ever done recording, you'll notice how each mic sounds different. Even the same mic will differ if you move it around.

Most of us latch onto a area of the frequency spectrum that we value above all others. For me, it's the upper mids, where soprano and trumpets reside. I play trumpet and love female singers. I'll notice an inaccuracy in that range immeditately. OTOH, I've lived for decades without true bass extension. I love good bass, but until recently I didn't care enough to pay for it. Also, many of the speakers that had the bass I liked sacrificed the mids that I value more. (The Vienna Acoustic Beethovan Baby Grands satisfy me totally, in my relatively small listening room).

Anyway, most people, including audiophiles, don't really like "accurate" speakers and will adjust their room to bring into balance the things that they prefer to hear, not to extend the "accurate" sound.

Pbb, maybe all the empirically verifiable statistics one can gather about any given phenomena still have to be perceived through our individually variable sensory inputs and therein lies the inability of statistical data to accurately describe a given individuals perception of reality. A speaker may measure absolutely flat in a given acoustic environment, but depending on volume level, hearing acuity or loss, and a host of other factors, one might find it deviating from one's ideal of "accuracy." I think John's analogy to food is apt, he's simply saying we all experience things differently. One could do a spectrographic analysis of all the chemical compunds in a given sample of ice cream, but would that tell how it tastes? That's not an entirely appropriate analogy, but you know what I mean. Statistical analysis is a useful tool for design of an item to be used in the service of art, but it's hardly an objective description of that tool's total performance. Jeez, scientists have been trying for decades to unravel the mysteries of the Stadivari and Guarneri violins. All the engineering drawings, wood analysis, varnish spectrographs, and frequency analysis have only left us scratching our heads at why they sound so wonderful
from what i understand, the term accuracy is independent of experience. objective data is furnished, criteria is devised and judgments ensue.

when experience speakers and stereo systems, those which are designated accuracy may be differntiated by some observable sonic characteristic(s).

so, a dichotomy may exist when speakers which are deemed accurate, by definition, based upon "scientific" evidence,
may be perceived as inaccurate.

i don't think this is a problem. it makes sense to establish definitions or criteria of accuracy. such criteria can be confirmed by measurements.

the fact that accuracy may not be confirmed by experience does not invalidate the concept.
> if 2 speakers are considered "accurate", but when compared sound "different" from each other, how can they be considered accurate ? <

No 2 speakers are ever accurate, therefore, they will both sound the same, that is, inaccurate. :-)

I'll see your Zen and raise you 5.

There are things to measure that we don't even know about yet. Even with what we can measure now, if there were 2 speakers and one measured more accurate but the other sounded better to me, I would choose the better sounder.
"the fact that accuracy may not be confirmed by experience does not invalidate the concept. "
Ah yes of course, like there was once upon a time conceptual art. . . MRT's launching now 'Conceptual Audiophilia". . . [Yawn!]
Well, all I can say is that Dr. Floyd Toole and many other Acoustic Engineers with University Degrees in Acoustic Physics and many with PHD's and many members of the AES would be disappointed to learn from this thread that they are completely wasting their time! "There is no such thing as an accurate speaker" and the "paradox" proves it.

If "accuracy may not be confirmed by experience" then any small company starting from a garage with some basic matrials and some cheap mass produced Northern European drivers stands an EQUAL chance of producing what many will describe as an "accurate" High-end audiophile speaker (provided they get the veneer and styling to exceptional standards, of course). Wait a minute - what I am describing is exactly what happens in audiophiledom! The little guys do this for many years and establish a name - and if succesful they get bought out by a big company and become part of their "house of brands". At this point they start to get shunned by audiophiles, no longer a boutique item or fashion statement, as they are now a part of big Harmon or Klipsch or other empire with suspicious engineering departments!

This whole thread about speakers sounding like anything some people want to buy or think they ought to sound like or think of as accurate and then this being accepted as "accuracy" is nonsense.

Most of speaker design is industrial design anyway => the look is FAR more important than the sound to most people who have to accept this item clearly on display in their living room. And that includes those who want something specifically big and ugly - like having TWO of 2001 Space Odyssey Obelisks in your room - that you only wonder what other shortcomings these speakers are meant to address psychologically?

I call this "the symbolism of big tall speakers" and it is as as much a paradox of speaker selection as accuracy ;-)
Accurate is a loose term, and it needs to be, for many reasons. One reason is acoustics which play to large a role in what we hear when music is played back in our listening rooms.

Even the same "accurate speakers" sound quite different in different rooms...or even, different locations in the same room.

Even using matched speakers in a multichannel system shows this if you take a measurement of each speaker.

Fairly accurate is about all you can hope for, even with a so called "accurate speaker". (unless you live in a perfect world).

Hello, Hi Shadorne I just wanted to make a small correction on the 2001 reference. The large black monolithic slab is just that, a monolith. An obelisk is a "tall. four sided stone pillar tapering towards its pyramidal top". A monolith is a "single large block or piece of stone". While a obelisk is a single large piece of stone the 2001 monolith is not obelisk shaped.
Sorry to correct you on such a trivial detail, but I do have the 2001 monolith designed Acoustat 6, which are "something like a monolith in size, unity of structure or purpose , unyielding quality" thankfully they are not made of stone!

Definitions from the New World Dictionary in quotes.

"Spaceship Orion is here waiting to part the air above you, waiting to take you"
Ozark Mountain Daredevils

Tennis, I'm having a hard time understanding if you're talking about accurate musical reproduction or if you're talking about a speaker accurately using the electricity coming into it...

Accuracy of musical reproduction can only take place in a (hypothetical) vacuum. As soon as room colorations, source anomalies, signal loss at each connection, poor equipment design and a hundred other issues come into play there is no such thing as an accurate speaker.

There is no accurate input, how can there be accurate output?

pbb, I'm stunned at your comments!!! You poo poo those who demand measurements, but in other posts spew venom upon those who have heard what you cannot!?! I am seriously, literally stunned...




p.s. my system is better than yours!
p.s. my system is better than yours!

but Bob doesn't care even if yours does sound great (no doubt it does), because Bob's sounds good too AND, to top it off, Bob's is WAY bigger than both you and MrTennis and mine combined!! LOL ;-)
hi nrchy:

accurate is defined as input=output, where input is the recording and output is that which is produced by the speaker.

you are correct in that perfection does not exist. the sound of an instrument reproduced by a stereo system is timbrally inaccurate and a stereo system does not exactly reproduce the input.

the intent of this thread is to suggest that two so-called accurate spekers, as defined by input=output may sound different.
Hi Shadorne, In my last house they were in the living room, the good thing was that I had motorcycles in the living room also, they took some of the attention away from the Acoustats. The reaction from my future mother in law at the time was priceless.
It still is interesting to see peoples reaction when they first see the Acoustats and the woofer tower behind them and realise that the panels are speakers too, not room dividers like they initally thought. There are motorcycles in the listening room now but being in a seperate barn it is nice not to have to worry about making noise. Yep, I am one of the crazy "barn boys" you hear about.
I had never heard the term "barn boys," so I Googled it. Yikes!