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Why Don't We Record Listening Demos For Our YouTube Fans?

by July 29, 2016
YouTube Headphone Listening

YouTube Headphone Listening

To the regular reader of this site it may sound crazy that we have to write an article on why we don't do listening demos on our YouTube channel.  But, we get this question all the time from our YouTube followers.  Since our channel has grown so much over the last few years with over 34k subscribers and 300k+ viewers/mo, we reach a very generalized audience. I suppose it's not too surprising when we get this question which usually comes in the form of :

"Hey can you guys just shut up and let us listen to the speakers you're reviewing?"

A simple "no we don't do that" doesn't suffice so it's time we explain why.

Before reading on, we suggest watching our actual YouTube video on this subject matter.

 Why We Don't Do YouTube Listening Demos

Equipment Differences
Let's start with the obvious.  Our equipment is different than yours! It's quite impossible to gauge what we are hearing if we are demoing a pair of $5k or $50k floorstanding speakers and you're listening to our video on little desktop speakers, or worse, Apple earbuds.  The frequency response, dynamic capabilities, and distortion metrics of each product are vastly different thus making an apples to apples, or even an apples to oranges comparison, quite futile.

Room Acoustics Differences 
The room can perhaps be the biggest influence on what we hear, especially at bass frequencies.  It's impossible for two identical speakers to sound the same in two different rooms.  So even if you have the same speakers we have, if you don't have the same room acoustics, all bets are off.

Speaker Placement Differences
Proper speaker placement in a room is vital for achieving the best sound.  You want to ensure you don't obstruct the direct sound path between the speakers and the listener(s), and you also want to ensure you have symmetry between the left speaker and left wall, and the right speaker and right wall.  Anytime you introduce path differences for the reflected sound, you change the collective sound arriving to the listener from each speaker and their associated reflections. You can imagine by now that a speaker placed on a desktop by your computer will sound much different than it being placed in your living room on stands at a different distance to your seating area and to their respective sidewalls.

Microphones are Stupid
Ever wonder why when you record a home video in your living room the voices sound echoey but they don't in real life?  There is a reason for this.  The human ear-brain interface is much smarter at differentiating and integrating sound fields than a microphone is.  We are able to hear a single event as a sum of direct and reflected sound; as one concise image with directional cues, and spaciousness.  The microphone on the other hand will just sum the direct and reflected sounds together which usually translates into something much different than we would hear ourselves in that very listening space.  There are recording techniques that can alleviate some of this, but it takes multiple mic setups, DSP processing and knowledge of how to use. Most YouTubers are simply NOT going to do that.  We certainly aren't.

YouTube Compression
Even when recording in HD, YouTube compresses the heck out of the sound compared to the original source material.  This is especially true for those with lower bandwidth internet connections that watch YouTube videos in 480p or lower.  Most of our listening demos consist of high resolution audio recordings such as DVD-A, SACD, or FLAC 192kHz/24bit.  You can't achieve this kind of resolution via YouTube and most recording devices used to produce YouTube videos don't support that recording resolution either.


Dr. AIt is my hopes in writing this article that the casual reader of this site and follower of our YouTube channel better understands why we won't film listening demos in attempt for you to "hear what we are hearing".  The best kind of demoing you can do of equipment is in your own home and in your own room, using your own source equipment and source material.  We encourage you to demo the stuff we review yourselves and to use our reviews as a guideline - NOT a biblical source when making purchasing decisions.


About the author:
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Gene manages this organization, establishes relations with manufacturers and keeps Audioholics a well oiled machine. His goal is to educate about home theater and develop more standards in the industry to eliminate consumer confusion clouded by industry snake oil.

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