Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Stereophile - Data Part II

This is a follow up to a previous article on what makes a speaker great to the editors at Stereophile.

I thought that was the end of that discussion, but thanks to an article written in 2008 but recently republished by the good Dr. Joseph D'Appolito there is more. Those who don't follow speaker design and measurement will not know D'Appolito literally wrote one of the most cited books on speaker measurements, in addition to having a configuration named after him.

In the article published by audioXpress D'Appolito shares an interaction with Stereophile head honch John Atkinson (JA). JA did something I though was pretty interesting mathematically, but I call bullshit on his message. He claims he analyzed a number of speakers and compared them to those which would make the recommended components according to frequency response and that most were perfectly neutral. D'Appolito states:

[John Atkinson] defined the standard deviation (SD) from flat response over the frequency range of 170Hz to 17kHz as a criterion for judging flatness of frequency response.


Of the 15 speakers with an SD of 1dB or less, 14 were added to the list by Stereophile reviewers.

But take a look at two speakers Stereophile raves about in my previous post. FAR from neutral as defined above. Then take a look at the hatchet job they did to the Crystal Cable Minissimo Diamond here.

So, bunk. I personally don't care what John Atkinson likes. If he likes the B&W diamonds above all others that's fine with me. But to call them neutral, or try to sell them as the reference against which other speakers are too dull or bright is shilling.

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