My article focuses on a longstanding pet peeve of mine (first mentioned in this blog posting): The lack of perceptually meaningful loudspeaker and headphone specifications in our industry. While consumer surveys repeatedly report sound quality to be a driving factor in their audio equipment purchases, consumers lack the necessary tools and information to identify the good sounding products from the duds.
This is particularly true for loudspeakers and headphones where the typical throw-away "10 Hz to 40 kHz" specification provided by the manufacturer is utterly useless. This specification only guarantees that the product makes sound, with no guarantee that the sound is good. While the science exists today to accurately quantify and predict the perceived the sound quality of loudspeakers (and hopefully, soon headphones), the audio industry continues to drag its heels into the 21st century, and not routinely provide this information to consumers.
A rare exception is JBL Professional who provides comprehensive detailed measurements on studio/broadcast monitors like the new JBL M2 Master Reference shown below. Inspecting the measured frequency response curves shown below, you can easily recognize the loudspeaker sounds exceptionally neutral and accurate based on the shape (flat, smooth, and extended) Based on this set of measurements, we can predict how a listener would rate the sound quality of the loudspeaker in a controlled listening test, with 86% accuracy. The only pertinent information not shown in this graph is how loud the loudspeaker will play before producing audible distortion (trust me, this loudspeaker will play very loud! )
Perceptually meaningful loudspeaker specifications like these have been available for almost 30 years! Yet, these specifications are currently not part of any professional and consumer loudspeaker standard. Such a standard would go a long way towards improving the quality and consistency of recorded and reproduced sound. Audio consumers want to hear the truth. We need to provide better information and audio specifications so they can find it.
|JBL M2 Master Reference Monitor provides true reference sound quality that is clearly indicated by its technical measurements shown below.|