My question is: It seems that on the podcast you were talking about pro audio (I've only dipped my toe), and in parts of the podcast you seem to dismiss the some of the usual negative responses to your 'graphed' results measurements. So when and where does subjectivity come into play for you? if you drag 1,000 people through your home room (as seen on YouTube) do you think its realistic to get the same "wow that's the best system I've ever heard!" response fro each person?
Post by Michael Lawrence on Dec 3, 2018 23:14:31 GMT
Hi Matt, and welcome. I can't speak for Ethan but I can give you my $0.02, which is that we need to draw a distinction between personal / recreational listening and professional / technical listening. I'm a system tech, which means it's my job to optimize large PA systems in venues such that whatever comes out of the mixing console is faithfully delivered to each seat in the house. We can't do this perfectly but we can get pretty close on a good day. This is a technical / scientific goal of uniformity, which we can measure and optimize. Whether I personally think there's too much low-end in the PA doesn't come into play. My job is to get the PA sounding like the mix engineer wants it to sound (in other words, get the system set up to faithfully reproduce his mix) and then extend that to every seat in the house. The analyzers and our ears can tell us if we're achieving that or not. We use a measurement called a transfer function to compare what went into the PA with what came out of it. This is a literal interpretation of how well the PA is reproducing the signal.
But on the drive home, I might turn up or down the bass on my car stereo to make it sound good to me. This is personal / recreational listening, and all that matters is whether or not I like how it sounds. The term "pro audio" on its face indicates that someone is paying us to make something sound a certain way.
Not all of the 1000 people will say that, but research shows that there is a bell curve effect, in that MORE people will say that in response to a properly tuned balanced system than for anything else. So you can never please everyone, and everyone has different tastes (and different amounts of hearing loss over different frequencies). So subjectivity has very little role in system optimization. It has a role in mixing, because mixing has a component of art to it, as well as science. In your living room, you should do whatever you want to make it sound good. If you're NOT liking the way it sounds, though, there are objective solutions based on the problems you have and objective ways to identify which problems you have. So even the subjective is reliant on the system being objectively functional.
Thanks for your answer, and I appreciate the other-side of the coin
For me in terms home and car audio, personal audio (headphones), I have a near total disjoint between graphs at the engineering level, and real time experience. Most of the time, what seems perfect response and measurements just leave's me wanting. When it comes to subject of listening I always think of the comedian Dave Allen when talking about bathing children ... and ask myself the same question in the realm of audio; do we get someone else to do it for us?
When it comes to subject of listening I always think of the comedian Dave Allen when talking about bathing children ... and ask myself the same question in the realm of audio; do we get someone else to do it for us?
Funny stuff. Yeah, the elbow method is obviously subjective. If you want an objective measurement, get a decent thermometer,(easy to come by these days) www.thermoworks.com/ but even then, you still need to know what Baby likes (subjective again...but you gotta start somewhere!)
So as for audio, our objective measurements (graphs as you refer to them) can give us a point of reference we can agree on (if we all understand and agree on the reasoning behind them).
In the recording "world", the idea of uniform or ideal listening environment, would allow any mix engineer, in any studio to create a mix that would "translate" exactly to any other "ideal" listening room. Of course along the way, subjectivity emerges in all sorts of design sciences and philosophies so there is always some individuality in studio mix rooms but hopefully, it's all good.
Now this idea of mixing in an ideal room extends to listening in any other room, good, bad or in-between. The idea here is that a good mix from a good studio will sound good, or at least acceptable...almost anywhere!
So yeah, when you're at home or in the car, crank the bass, crank the mids, blast the trebble... whatever you like! You're the one listening!
"Yeah, can we have everything louder than everything else? Right." (Ian Gillan, Deep Purple)
What we're talking about here is something known as a 'house curve'. The first link is to a three-part post in the Room EQ Wizard forum and the second comes from the guide I used to better understand decay targets.
The two esteemed gentlemen who've already answered are right; technical needs flat but your beer and house curve are up to you!
For what it's worth, my house curve is whatever my mixcube gives me which is basically 90Hz-10kHz. Maybe if I had my own place I'd enjoy the bass more but, in my apartment, it just gives me anxiety. Strangely, when I flip over to my relatively flat full-range system, I find the bass to be too much and the highs to be too little. I can't imagine anyone shelf boosting their low end 6-12dB but apparently that's what some listeners enjoy.
Interestingly, the first article seems to suggest a sort of wide bell in the bass and a high-cut Baxandall whereas the second looks more like a regular shelf just for the bass. Both recommend either flattening or high pass filtering the very bottom of the subwoofer's range. To each their own.