Why speaker manufacturers ignore rooms

May 1, 2022
 by Paul McGowan

22 comments on “Why speaker manufacturers ignore rooms”

  1. If the room or the specific room acoustics of the listening room are the most important factor concerning the resulting sound quality shouldn’t be room treatment and applying DSP/EQ based on sophisticated measurements a must? Some 20 years ago measurements made from my TacT Audio room processor were most revealing to me and helped a lot taming room modes. Today there are far more sophisticated solutions out there from miniDSP, Dirac, Legacy Audio, Lyngdorf Audio and Trinnov Audio the latter offering a single point measurements with a defined set of four mics. Trinnov’s approach even corrects phase errors induced by the crossover of the loudspeaker. Devialet features SAM correcting these phase errors by its amps. Kii Audio offers a loudspeaker which controls unwanted reflections from the rear wall. And there are many software based solutions running on your PC. And of course you can set corrections for different listening points. At least these measurements help already a lot finding the best speaker placement.

  2. I’m about to embark on the dsp journey with my STR. It will be interesting to hear the difference (improvement?). I imagine it will be most helpful with sub integration.

  3. I’ve noted that while the sound may change some room to room, good speakers will almost always sound good in almost every room.

    And there is a good argument that flatness varying a bit for different locations is not bad but more a matter of taste. I recall Gordon Holt of Stereophile testing the KLH 12 speaker and liking it a lot but finding it slightly colored. Henry Kloss differed with him. Gordon attended concerts of the Philadelphia Symphony. After the KLH 12 test he went to a different seat for the next concert and darned if the KLH 12 didn’t sound like the new seat. Yet both seats were good seats at a live concert so both were ‘right’. I suspect the same is true for good speakers in different room(or for different setups in the same room. They’re all good. And if you can vary the sound by positioning to be more to your liking. It’s just good apples and good oranges and it’s your choice.

      1. Bad rooms suck. But I still think the better the speaker the better it sounds even in a bad room. But it certainly won’t live up to its potential. And I suspect a good, conventional front firing speaker set up for near filed listening is the best you can do in a poor room.

        1. I fully agree here! However my experiences says that most rooms are acoustically bad (not optimized), even the demo rooms of most dealers and of course most show (hotel) rooms at hifi exhibitions lack optimization of room acoustics. 🙁

          1. Hi. Feel like a real novice here. Seems the more I try to learn the less I understand. I I have some understanding of what is said of room acoustics, diffusion and absorption panels, bass traps etc. My issue is how to determine which to use and where to place them. Would the room management programs mentioned help with that? Also tips on building a listening room from the beginning – insulation, drywall, even angled corners?As Paul mentioned, get it right to start with. Thanks

            1. There are proven standards for room acoustics (reverb time etc) for mixing and mastering studios where you will however see mostly near-field listening set-ups and a lot of space behind the listening seat. For normal home stereo you mostly find however far-field listening and you have to respect the minimum listening distance of your loudspeakers. Use existing furniture as “natural” diffusers and absorbers. Tame first reflections and bass modes. The better the room treatment the better the results with these room and speakers correction software solutions.

  4. This is your solution?

    I thought that Floyd Toole spent, what, forty years of his career investigating this issue and you are saying that this is your idea?


    Also, the research shows flat on axis and a slight frequency downslope off axis have a “preferred” response. The criteria is even codified by the AES (CTA-2034).

    That same research also shows that to correct a poor on-axis response with DSP does not resolve the problems in the room. You need to start with a good on axis response and correct some of the low frequencies anomalies in the room. But it is not that easy either.

    A speaker with flat on axis response and a slight downslope with minimal dispersion anomalies will sound good in almost all rooms. There are some articles in Copper that describe this rather well too.

    By the way, there are still no measurements available of the FR-30.

  5. Good afternoon Paul!
    If noone is interested in active speakers, then how come there are a slew of them on the market today?
    I own a pair of both active speakers, and active subwoofers.
    But what both of them have in common with each other, is they both have DSP built in to them.
    That works really well with my JBL LSR-310S studio subwoofers.
    But that DSP doesn’t work too well with my Klipsch R41-PM speakers.
    I was told that, I was biased against active speakers.
    But with active speakers, you’re stuck with whatever kind of an amp they built in to them.
    I like passive speakers because, you can pick and choose your own amp to drive them with.
    My preferred amp, is always gonna be a tube amp.
    Anymore now days, I can’t take the odd order distortion that comes out of any transistor amp.
    Paul, I know that you don’t like them, but to me, output transformers are in deed, my very best friend.
    With transformers on the outputs, you get even order distortion.
    But however, there isn’t but one company that makes transistor amps that uses transformers on the outputs.
    And that company is, Mcintosh.
    I’d rather have one of those amps then an amp made by any other company.
    I’m not putting you down or anything like that, I’m just saying, you mite wanna take a closer look at output transformers.

    1. Why rolling amps (and even go for vacuum tube amps) for compensating room acoustics issues and deficiencies in loudspeaker and passive crossover designs when EQ/DSP can do the job? And when active speakers with internal DSP already feature the best crossover design and optimally matched amps for each type of driver (tweeter, woofer)?

      1. Good afternoon paulsquirrel!
        Did you not read what I said near the bottom of my comment?
        The problem that I’m running in to anymore these days, is the odd order distortion.
        It racks my nerves.
        Sure active speakers may have all of that going on for them, but a transistor amp, is a transistor amp.
        Without the output transformer, you’re always gonna have odd order distortion.
        But sense no company in the world is making active speakers with tube amps built in to them, I have to step up to the plate myself.
        And about the DSP thing, you can accomplish the same thing with analog equalizers.
        You just have to know how to sett them up correctly.
        I can do all of that, just by ear.
        And yes, I can also make my own crossovers too.
        I’ve done all of this a few times in my lifetime.

        1. Indeed, finally distortion management and deep knowledge of psycho-acoustics is required when the goal is to reveal the full potential of an audio system’s (including the room and mains power supply) sound quality. My actual DAC features output transformers of course and my passive preamp is transformer based (TVC). 🙂

          1. Good morning paulsquirrel!
            Good man!
            You understand where I’m coming from!
            Truth is, a lot of people are thrown in to a state of fatigueness.
            But at the same time, a lot of people don’t realize what the coze of it really is.
            But the cauze of it, is what we’re listening to our music on, and the daration of the time we’re listening to music.
            Just like they say, “your eyes can become fatigue from spending too much time in front of a TV or computer screen.”
            The same thing, happens to us, with our ears.
            But for our ears, the cempel solution is even order distortion.
            Any amp that doesn’t use a transformer on the output of it, won’t deliver even order destortion.

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