The shocking truth about speakers


The problem we have in the hifi community is that nobody knows how close we are to achieving perfect sound. This is the shocking truth that is in stark contrast to the belief that modern speakers are state of the art. 

The reason we are in this mess is because speaker design is based on two methods. One is listening and the other is measurements. Listening doesnt work because nobody has perfect hearing and in fact some are even completely tone deaf. Measurements also dont work because we only have the technology to measure some but not all of what needs to be measured. 

As a result, the speakers on the market could actually be horribly wrong if we could compare them to the perfect speaker if it existed. 

We cannot assume that we are close to perfection. Theres no evidence. 

The fact that speakers all sound vastly different indicates that nobody has the faintest idea what we are trying to achieve. 

The shocking truth about the speaker industry is that there is a lot of information that is contained within your favorite music tracks that you are being denied the ability to enjoy all because speaker design is wrong. It is a terrible injustice that needs to be exposed. 
kenjit
Don't let perfect be the enemy of the good.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfect_is_the_enemy_of_good

All the best,
Nonoise
I'm frankly appalled!  Fie on fidelity fakes!
What's truly shocking is why anyone would ever buy anything other than Zu speakers. You want truth? Then connect your amp to a single full range driver with zero crossover. GL thinking your '4th order' yadda yadda multiple driver mashup mess is better than Zu. 
Here we go again. The continuing saga of a one person army, totally obsessed with the horrible speaker industry and claiming that there is a "we". It is only you kenjit, all the rest of us are enjoying our systems. Now, what is your system again? And, explain to us why, your theories are not practical for any normal household application.
I dont care whether its single full range or multiple drivers, the fact is nobody has the faintest idea. What are we using to decide how good the end result is? We are using our ears. They are not reliable. 
Oh g-d not again........
It is only you kenjit, all the rest of us are enjoying our systems.
All audiophiles do want perfect sound and every speaker company thinks their design is the best and every audiophile thinks their choice of speaker is correct.
Nobody knows what true sound is. Why is that not a problem? We should NOT be enjoying a speaker if its lying to us. That is NOT what this hobby is all about.
You, just like many others are in denial and that is part of the problem.
No one is in denial that you have no idea what you're talking about and you are the joke of Audiogon.
Listening and measurements are poor methods of building speakers. Being you've studied this in depth. What is the proper method of building the perfect speaker. The Hi-Fi world is on the edge of it's seat wanting to know the secret. I'm sure some speaker company would pay large dollars for your theories and insight.
He's like the guy who keeps asking a girl out on a date, and keeps getting turned down. Geez, have you no pride?
@kenjit

"What are we using to decide how good the end result is? We are using our ears. They are not reliable "
And yet in most of your other inane threads your repeatedly contended  that speakers needed to be tuned to each individual's ears.

By the way how are those patent pending speakers of yours coming along, certainly they must be the answer everyone seeks
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And yet in most of your other inane threads your repeatedly contended that speakers needed to be tuned to each individual's ears.
I am assuming that most audiophiles want the best possible sound from their speakers. If thats not the case obviously none of what i say applies to you. 
"I am assuming that most audiophiles want the best possible sound from their speakers. "
No really, do tell.

What I pointed out was your self contradiction 1)"speakers should be tuned to each individual's ears" ; 2) "we are using our ears they are unreliable".
Go ahead reconcile your statements





" I am assuming that most audiophiles want the best possible sound from their speakers."

You do know what happens when you make "assumptions"? Play close attention to the first 3 letters.
What I pointed out was your self contradiction 1)"speakers should be tuned to each individual's ears" ; 2) "we are using our ears they are unreliable".

There is no contradiction because these two statements are referring to different things. There is justification for custom tuning because it gives the consumer the benefit of letting them decide what they get rather than letting the designer decide. However in the end hearing is unreliable because we are all just guessing and its all just preference. The music contained on our favorite cds is information that can either be reproduced exactly or it can be altered by the speaker by changing the stereo imaging, the dynamics, the bass level or tone balance. There is no room for preferences its either right or wrong. The problem we have is nobody has the faintest idea how close we are or not. It is criminal that we are being denied the right to hear the truth and that many audiophiles are unconcerned, yet we continue to be duped into thinking speakers are getting better when theres no evidence for that. 
kenjit I admire your tenacity I really do. However my speakers sound great to me I love them. I don't care if they are perfect and if there is detail I'm missing so be it.
"speakers should be tuned to each individual’s ears"

No, hearing aids should be tuned to each individuals ears.

"Excellent tonal balance and wide, pinpoint soundstage! Bass was tight and articulate and seemed to be coming from everywhere, but well integrated with the music, band, performance. Never boomy or out of control. Crystal clear highs and vocal midrange brought the band into the room, or, when my eyes were closed, I was transported to the venue. In my opinion, Chuck has achieved audio nirvana- that thing about being drawn into the music and hearing more and more detail, hearing the inflection of the voice whether it’s pain, joy, or spite (Cry Me a River). Horns were smooth, never harsh. The sound was wide and big, speakers disappeared."

That’s from a recent visitor who had a good time listening. That’s my speakers (built and/or modified by me) and that’s my system. None of which was "tuned" to his ears, or mine, yet read the comments again- "excellent tonal balance."  https://systems.audiogon.com/systems/8367

It is of course highly desirable to buy components and set your system up to please yourself. If not you, then who? But your idea of there being some perfect objective standard of right or wrong is deeply, deeply flawed. There is no perfect objective standard. Not for you. Not for me. Not for anyone. There are only myriad subjective standards from which we all pick and choose and compromise and balance as best we can.

When we do this well we generate comments like the one above.

End of story.
" However in the end hearing is unreliable because we are all just guessing and its all just preference. "
"The problem we have is nobody has the faintest idea how close we are or not. "


"A champion speaker engineer of the highest calibre. A genius who introduced among other things, the importance of CUSTOM TUNING. Infinity baffle technology. And showed that all the other technologies were WRONG. On his tombstone will be written:Kenjit~Master speaker tuner~Master speaker engineer~Champion of PERFECT sound. Eschewer of TS parameters and non believer of so called frequency response measurements. "

Besides desperately needing PPE for my job I now need tin foil for my head here......sigh
Why oh why does anyone keep responding to these absurd threads?  It just rewards and encourages him to keep going.  For the good of us all, PLEASE refrain from prolonging this utter madness any longer.  I stopped responding to these inane threads after his initial posts and am the better for it — life’s too short.

The shocking truth about trolls - people never learn to ignore them.  We're 20+ years into this internet thing and I'm calling it.  Where there's a troll, there are a bunch of people who'll respond to said troll no matter how obvious the trolling may by.  
But your idea of there being some perfect objective standard of right or wrong is deeply, deeply flawed. There is no perfect objective standard.
The perfect standard is whatever is on the cd. How can there be multiple variations of reproduction of one single music track? If theres one track there should be one perfect reproduction of it. 
" The perfect standard is whatever is on the cd."

Now that is perfectly ridiculous. Your arguments seem to get weaker and weaker over time, maybe a long sabbatical will be good idea, don't you think? 
Just got this from kenjit via AudiogoN message system. Evidently he doesn't agree with my ideas and I can't find a reason to care about what he says. Is that wrong? BTW: There is no foam in the room.

kenfit wrote to me: "Your hifi system is a joke. Those white tiny blocks of foam in the corner of your room do nothing. You are clueless about high quality sound. Your system is BAD. Very bad. It needs to be fixed. Your speakers need to be custom tuned. You need new speakers. That are not wooden. That are not boxes. Your system is really really wrong."

Last night I was listening to a live cd by Government Mule on my rig that has been finished for 4yrs now and no plans to change anything. Why? Because it sounded like I was at the concert sitting about in the 5 row, all the musicians were where they were supposed to be ,in other words seperation of instruments and placement was realistic. I could pick out any instrument clearly and the tone sounded about right! I could tell you what my system is but, there is NO WAY for you to imagine how it sounds you have to hear it yourself! So, assuming how someones system sounds without hearing it is STUPID!! Almost every piece in my system is from a different manufacture so, you've never heard my system anywhere, cause no-one has the exact same system and room.And if someone did tell me my system is crap,what do I care? He's not the one hearing it.
I'm not too good at expressing my thoughts with writing so I hope you take this as it was intended. Different strokes for different folks!
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In another forum, one is asking about a 'long lasting cart'....

One that Isn't Used.

So....the Perfect Speaker could be the one that's never played.

...'course, that infers giving up listening, but.....;)
I am now dumber for having bothered to read this post. 
I think my speakers sound great. Pretty sure that, for me, that’s all that counts 
" I think my speakers sound great. Pretty sure that, for me, that’s all that counts"
Absolutely!    👍
I think a measure of any good system is if you can sometimes suspend disbelief that you are listening to a recorded event. Any one speaker might not be measurably or subjectively better in the context of Plato's perfect heaven. But if you change the speakers in the system allowing you to suspend disbelief a bit more often then having the perfect measure of a speaker is maybe not so important. Besides, perfect speaker measurement predicting exactly what we'll hear might make this hobby less interesting. :-)
Every designer has their own interpretation of what is good ,and for a specific price point , and Amplifiers like a SET may be idea for a Single driver speaker. drivers especially exotic like Accuton ceramic  drivers and Diamond  
composite film drivers can be very accurate and expensive  . The Xovers in most speakers are hidden and sorely neglected in many speakers using low cost parts even in speakers over $80 k .shocking but true.that is why I always modify my Xovers it brings a dramatic increase in musicality imaging and resolution . 
They ARE state of the art--state of the art means the best we can do with the most recent technology.  It does not mean perfect and it does not mean the best that might ever be.  I like my speakers.  If you don't like yours, find some you do like and listen to them. 
And kenjit is just the man to make them perfect!!

Its so easy, where’s your perfect speaker, already???!
@jayc123....*sigh*  I'm so tired of suspending disbelief on all the other things that surround our lives that doing so for speakers of Any sort has become depressingly Easy....

I'm teasing, frankly...but...the local county announced today that they want the populace to continue 'involuntary lock-down' for 30 days....

Now...That's almost more frightening than getting ill.

MHO, but....just sayin'....*L*

First thought of Day 31, AM will be like dropping a box Stuffed with roaches dropped from a height....

"Crazy?!   You don't Know Crazy!" *LOL*
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   Kenjit, I don't know why you can't seem to be able to put together a great sounding system. It can be done, took me 15yrs to put mine together with lots of equipment swapping(could have done it in less time if I had more $$$). But I finally got there! Now I'm very happy with all the components in my system including my speakers.
   Or maybe your one of those "big band" listeners that that require a lot more hard work to get right? What music do you like? I know my system would fail with big band but I don't need that as I only listen to blues and rock, funk, pop well you get the message.  And what I mean by fail, it would sound a little congested. But, I don't notice that with the music I listen to.
     Anyway, a stereo is NOT just the speakers but everything in the chain from the laser or needle to the speaker. The needle wiggles and the driver moves, its all one circuit in between!  Plus I agree that "state of the art" only means whats available now, not that its the best that will ever be. Look at what state of the art was 40yrs ago, not the same.

Racamuti,
You're first mistake is taking this guy seriously......
After reading this thread I'm selling my entire system(NOT).
A pair of JBL's killed my cat.
Guess my post got removed. FOR WHAT! Being silenced for the truth? C'mon, mods, you're better than this.....
@avsjerry, If you have to work at suspending disbelief then is disbelief really suspended? Now my head hurts. If I'm gonna have these deep thoughts it's time for a Corona (beer that is.) 

Keep the faith and enjoy all the things around the house that you normally don't have time to enjoy often enough. 
Every instrument has a unique soundprint.  Unfortunately, we experience that sound in various environments (and that’s only if you frequently attend concerts).  Only an averaging of our collective memories regarding that soundprint can be our guide.  That being our reality, suspension of disbelief is our best measure of having a great system.  No one listens to music in an anechoic chamber...nor would they want to!  Also, systems (which includes the room their in) produce music....individual merits blending and competing for our preferred result.  

Ha ha ha! "Shocking truth" and "Measurements also don’t work because we only have the technology to measure some but not all of what needs to be measured"
Ok so go ahead now: What is needed and can’t be measured? Music reproduction is about trying to capture the sound and playing it back as perfectly as possible. But anyway, the mix is made by a human listening to his rig with his (and the artist) own tastes... There is no magic or alchemy on this... Electronics and physics are mastered since a while back... Only a matter of compromise, technology and money.

As for speaker measurement, it can easily be done in anechoic chamber, high quality pro testing rig and engineering knowledge...

No speaker is perfect that’s obvious. And even if they were, i’m sure you wouldn’t enjoy every album you listen. And obviously too, no amp, preamp or source is perfect. The end to end musical travel from the instruments to your ears is a transfer function...

For me, it’s just a matter of getting a sound system as flat as possible. I have experience in live mixing + a long and vivid interest for music and HiFi. At the end, the pleasure of listening to music, whatever the system you use, is the most important.
My sound system is not perfect but i like to listen to it most of the time: Rega DAC-R, Rega Elex-R, Ryan R-610. I don’t enjoy every recordings: Some mixes are just... bad. And you have all the in between from bad to excellent. All that is relative to your tastes and cumulative transfer functions.

My friend was having great pleasure listening to a large Pro Sound system in his basement: 5000W + amplification power, large dual 15" JBL scoop bins, dual large EV 10" horn mids and dual EV high range boxes with slot and lens tweeter. Lots of dynamics and power, insanely kicking bass, etc. That was what HE liked.

After 15 years+ with this, he changed for a HiFi sound system and enjoys music a lot on it: Ayre QB9 DAC, Krell KRC-3 preamp, Krell KSA-200 amp and Dynaudio Audience 52-SE. Another expression of his music taste.