“Let our rigorous testing and reviews be your guidelines to A/V equipment – not marketing slogans”
Facebook Youtube Twitter instagram pinterest

Recent Speaker Design Articles

The Audibility of Distortion At Bass Frequencies

The Audibility of Distortion At Bass Frequencies

Bass is the most physically demanding frequency band for a home theater system to reproduce, so it will naturally be the region where distortion is the most prevalent. Those of us interested in higher fidelity sound would do well to understand the degree of which distortion in low frequencies can be heard and the challenges involved in finding those distortion thresholds. This article discusses those challenges and relays some of the current understanding of the subject from the field of audio science. Is your sound system up to the task of faithfully reproducing bass content, and if not, how short does it fall between your hearing and the sound engineer’s intention?

Want to know how well your sound system reproduces bass? We discuss the audibility of distortion in bass and ways bass reproduction in audio systems can fall short of of a listeners expectations.

— August 13, 2015 09:00 in Loudspeaker Design

The Truth About In-Wall Speakers

The Truth About In-Wall Speakers

Despite the flawed conventional wisdom, in-wall speakers can be as good as their freestanding counterparts. In fact, there are areas where in-walls even offer advantages over conventional box speakers. And while a bad speaker is a bad speaker; in-wall or in-room; good in-wall speakers can solve many logistical problems. Put on your "open-mind" cap and read on...

This article will explore the pros and cons of in-wall vs in-room speakers. Assuming that we’re talking about comparably-priced and similar products that differ only in that one is set in the wall.

— July 23, 2015 00:00 in Loudspeaker Design

The Truth About Matching Amplifier Power to Loudspeakers

The Truth About Matching Amplifier Power to Loudspeakers

Do you need to match your amplifier power to your loudspeaker power ratings? Can too much or too little power damage your speakers? In this article clipping, impedance, heat, sensitivity, blown drivers, and other annoying mysteries are discussed from the perspective and real-world experiences of a professional audio guy who for many decades has tried to save people from themselves. Don't blow a speaker. Read this article!

Do you need to match amplifier power to your loudspeakers? Clipping, impedance, heat, sensitivity, blown drivers, and other mysteries are explored in this article.

— June 23, 2015 08:00 in Loudspeaker Design

Objective Loudspeaker Measurements to Predict Subjective Preferences?

Objective Loudspeaker Measurements to Predict Subjective Preferences?

Accurately measuring loudspeaker performance is pretty much a universal problem among most loudspeaker manufacturers and ALL AV review publications. Harman on the other hand under the guidance of Dr. Floyd Toole and Sean Olive have developed a purely scientific methodology that actually allows them to objectively measure and predict listener preference. This article explores the measurements while also providing the secret formula of the characteristics necessary for producing loudspeakers that score highly in subjective listening tests. This is a must read with a call to action to your favorite loudspeaker company to give us more useful information about their products.

Accurately measuring loudspeaker performance is a universal problem among most loudspeaker manufacturers and review publications. Dr. Floyd Toole discusses the science of measuring loudspeakers.

Dr. Floyd Toole , — June 09, 2015 08:00 in Loudspeaker Design

Headphones: Comparision Buying Guide

Headphones: Comparision Buying Guide

The headphone and earphone market is a pretty diverse place these days: there are several styles to choose from, not to mention a few new words to add to your vocabulary. If you believe that supra-aural headphones will improve your ears like hearing aids, then it's time for an education from Audioholics. In this article we discuss the various styles of headphones available, including their relative strengths and weaknesses. Curious to learn all about the world of headphones? Read our article and watch our recently added YouTube Video with examples of each type.

Headphone Buying Guide: If you're confused by the various styles of headphones/earphones, read this comparison guide. We identify and compare relative strengths and weaknesses of each headphone type.

— May 31, 2015 08:00 in Loudspeaker Design

The Top Ten Most Influential Speakers of the Last 50 Years

The Top Ten Most Influential Speakers of the Last 50 Years

Today, Audioholics goes over its top picks for the ten most influential speakers in the Consumer American hi-fi market over the last five decades. We'll take a trip down memory lane to look at classics from Acoustic Research, Advent, Bose, and Klipsch among others. We've also got a few speakers in mind that you might not anticipate. Of course, if we missed one of your favorites, make sure to chime in on our forums to let us know who you think deserves an honorable mention.

Audioholics reveals its picks for the ten most influential speakers over the last 5 decades. We'll take a trip down memory lane to look at classics from Acoustic Research, Advent, Bose, Klipsch, etc.

— December 31, 2014 08:00 in Loudspeaker Design

Are HRTF’s Necessary in Dolby Atmos Elevation Speakers?

Are HRTF’s Necessary in Dolby Atmos Elevation Speakers?

There's been a lot of talk lately about the Dolby Atmos Elevation (aka. Dolby Enabled) speakers and how through proprietary DSP processing in an Atmos AV Receiver along with a specialized speaker design can create the illusion of height without having to place discrete speakers on the ceiling. The Dolby analog crossover integrated into speakers with the Dolby Atmos certification on them is designed to mimic the HRTF (Head Related Transfer Function) to theoretically help trick your brain into thinking the sound is coming from an elevated position. But is it really necessary, or can it be doing more harm than good? We explore HRTF's applied to Dolby Elevation Speakers and include feedback from industry expert Dr. Floyd Toole to answer that question.

Dolby Atmos Elevation speakers employ a HRTF in their analog crossovers in attempt to trick the brain into perceiving height. But is this really necessary or can it degrade their sound quality?

— November 25, 2014 08:00 in Loudspeaker Design

What are the Best Subwoofers in the World?

What are the Best Subwoofers in the World?

Realistically, most A/V enthusiasts are bassaholics at heart: few things in life can force a grin on our faces like a big deep bass effect in a movie reproduced with gusto. As a result, the question of which subwoofers are the best pop up on our forums quite a lot. Here we'll share a few of our cost-no-object favorites as well as a some relatively affordable options. Have a subwoofer in mind that wasn't mentioned in our list? Make sure to chime in on our forums.

Audioholics compiles a list of the finest subwoofers in the world, as well as a couple of our more affordable favorites. Check out our picks and feel free to share yours on our forums.

— November 19, 2014 07:00 in Loudspeaker Design

What are the Best Loudspeakers in the World?

What are the Best Loudspeakers in the World?

I often get the question “What are the best speakers in the World?” from fellow Audioholics and/or from family or friends. I typically tell them that it really depends on the situation. Of course, people that don’t know audio are often surprised when I DON’T tell them Bose is the best. I usually retort that “best” and “most popular” are often not synonymous, and a few analogies outside of audio often help them to understand the lack of relation such as: Beer:Budweiser, Pizza:Dominos and Burgers:McDonalds, etc. I don’t like to be boxed into a corner of declaring an absolute best, even when the type of speaker and the application are known. That said, I’ve come up with a list of very notable designs for each category type. Take a look and feel free to share your favorites on our forum.

What are the best loudspeakers in the world? Performance, aesthetics, budget, pick two. Check out speaker selections and feel free to share yours.

— November 12, 2014 08:00 in Loudspeaker Design

What Are Dolby Atmos-Enabled Speakers?

What Are Dolby Atmos-Enabled Speakers?

Atmos, Dolby’s next generation object-oriented audio format, is about to make its formal debut in the home theater market. You have two options for installing the necessary height channels; in-ceiling or upfiring Atmos Enabled (aka Elevation) speakers. This article explores the latter and takes an in-depth look at Dolby’s pending patent as well as the challenges behind the technology. Are Atmos Elevation speakers compatible with future competing surround formats? Can you make your own Atmos Enabled speakers to elevate your sound? Read the article to find out and watch our recently added Youtube Video explaining the speaker technology.

Dolby Atmos-Enabled (Elevation) speakers are one of the required options for achieving the Atmos height effect. This article and video explores the technology and challenges behind the speakers.

— October 31, 2014 10:00 in Loudspeaker Design

Powered Subwoofer Testing: Outline and Procedures Overview

Powered Subwoofer Testing: Outline and Procedures Overview

Audioholics is gearing up to do a slew of subwoofer measurements and comprehensive test reports. This article takes a quick look at the equipment and software used, the various measurements recorded and the purpose of the particular measurements used for our up and coming subwoofer evaluations. Results will be condensed and summarized in a consistent and efficient manner for each product tested. This article will serve as the demarcation point for all subwoofer tabulated test results. Check back regularly for the most recent copy of our downloadable Excel spreadsheet for all subwoofers tested under this new test protocol. Check out our new Youtube Video Interview on how we measure and evaluate subwoofers.

This article and explains our new subwoofer testing procedure and the various equipment & software used. The results will be condensed & summarized in a consistent manner for each product tested

— June 25, 2014 14:00 in Loudspeaker Design

How to Evaluate Loudspeakers for Sound and Accuracy

How to Evaluate Loudspeakers for Sound and Accuracy

On the face of it, evaluating loudspeakers is pretty straightforward: you just have to listen to them. If only it were that simple... What do you listen for? What source material do you use to evaluate loudspeakers? What role can measurements play in the evaluation process? In this article we lay out a plan for evaluating the sound quality and accuracy of a speaker system including what to listen for to help identify a good from a great speaker. This guide will help you make an educated purchasing decision by allowing you to more carefully evaluate sound quality during your listening tests.

Evaluating loudspeaker sound quality ultimately comes down to listening, but what do you listen for? What source material do you use? Learn how to listen to speakers for accurate sound reproduction.

— April 28, 2014 08:00 in Loudspeaker Design

Sealed vs Ported Subwoofers: Which Is Right For You?

Sealed vs Ported Subwoofers: Which Is Right For You?

Sealed vs. ported subwoofers is an epic grudge match in the audio world. Stereotypes run rampant: it's not uncommon to hear statements like "sealed subwoofers are tight and musical while ported subwoofers are slow and plodding", or "sealed subwoofers just don't have enough low end power to deliver big effects on today's blockbusters". Unfortunately, stereotypes fail to tell the whole story. If you're interested in learning the real deal on how sealed and ported alignments compare and contrast, keep reading.

Sealed vs. ported subwoofers is is one of the great debates in the audio world. Click to read the Audioholics' analysis of how these alignments compare and contrast.

— April 01, 2014 04:00 in Loudspeaker Design

Loudspeaker Myths: Separating the Scientific Facts from Science Fiction

Loudspeaker Myths: Separating the Scientific Facts from Science Fiction

Just like we’ve found with speaker cables and audio interconnects, snake oil and gimmicks are also alive and well in the world of loudspeakers. With over 400 loudspeaker brands in the consumer market competing for a very small piece of action, it’s no wonder some manufacturers feel the need to differentiate themselves often using Ivory Tower tactics and pseudoscience to proclaim product superiority. In fact some of the loudspeaker science often reads less believable than science fiction. In this article and one on one interview between Gene and Hugo, we break down and discuss some of the common nonsense we’ve found surrounding consumer loudspeaker products.

Loudspeaker science vs science fiction, we uncover the myths and facts about good speaker design and engineering practices. Driver break in, measurements and testing, parts, design, all revealed.

— March 25, 2014 08:00 in Loudspeaker Design