Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Harman Kardon's Quest to Standardize Sound

Above: Trained listener Alex Miller is evaluating the sound quality of three loudspeakers in Harman's Multichannel Listening Lab. The automated speaker shuffler ensures that each speaker is heard in the exact same position. The acoustically transparent, visually opaque scrim means the tests are double-blind and not influenced by brand, price or other sighted biases. The computer randomly selects the presentation order of the speakers in each trial and listener controls the switching so that experimenter bias is removed from the test.

There is a nice story written by Stuart Miles over at Pocket-Lint called "Harman Kardon's Quest to Standardize Sound". Check it out and leave a comment whether or not you think standards that define the sound quality of an audio product is something that would benefit the consumer.

This story came from a recent Harman Kardon press event held at Northridge where they kicked off Harman Kardon's Science of Sound campaign that aims to promote the science and philosophy behind how we develop and test our products.

A group of 18 European journalists attended the press event and received presentations from Dr. Floyd Toole and myself about how good sound is not a matter of personal taste, but rather something that can be quantified through scientific-based listening tests, measurements, and psychoacoustics.

The journalists experienced how we train listeners and then participated in brief double-blind listening tests of the Harman Kardon MS100 and MAS100 in our Reference Listening Room and the Multichannel Listening Lab (shown in the picture above).

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