• If you ever spot Spam (either in the forums, or received via forum direct message) please use the Report button at the bottom of each post to make sure a Moderator can handle it quickly. Thanks for your help in keeping things running smoothly!

Speaker Specs Worthless?

jaxwired

Well-known member
Feb 7, 2009
284
6
18,895
WHF does not seem to refer to or print the manufacturers specs when they review a speaker (or anything else for that matter). I imagine this may just be to save physical space. But it occurred to me that since there is no standard for these specs and the manufacturers all use their own methods to obtain them, perhaps WHF staff do not feel that are useful.

As an example, the new Spendor A5 specs (from web site) include this:

Frequency response 60 Hz to 20 kHz ± 3dB anechoic
Frequency range -6dB at 45 Hz anechoic

This is a pretty unimpressive spec regarding bass performance. Yet the WHF review indicates impressive powerful bass performance.

To contrast this, the PMC GB1i which was group tested against the Spendor A5 has a frequency response spec of:

Freq response 29Hz-25kHz

This is indeed a very impressive spec for bass performance, but this speaker is described as lean and unimpressive in low frequency content.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
jaxwired:
WHF does not seem to refer to or print the manufacturers specs when they review a speaker (or anything else for that matter). I imagine this may just be to save physical space. But it occurred to me that since there is no standard for these specs and the manufacturers all use their own methods to obtain them, perhaps WHF staff do not feel that are useful.

As an example, the new Spendor A5 specs (from web site) include this:

Frequency response 60 Hz to 20 kHz ñ 3dB anechoic
Frequency range -6dB at 45 Hz anechoic

This is a pretty unimpressive spec regarding bass performance. Yet the WHF review indicates impressive powerful bass performance.

To contrast this, the PMC GB1i which was group tested against the Spendor A5 has a frequency response spec of:

Freq response 29Hz-25kHz

This is indeed a very impressive spec for bass performance, but this speaker is described as lean and unimpressive in low frequency content.

Easy. The second isn't really a spec because it doesn't quote dB limits.The output at 29Hz could be almost undetectable.
 

jaxwired

Well-known member
Feb 7, 2009
284
6
18,895
Cyril Mason:Easy. The second isn't really a spec because it doesn't quote dB limits.The output at 29Hz could be almost undetectable.

Most manufacturers do include db limits and there is still a correlation gap between specs and reviews. Obviously it is in the manufacturers interest to show the best numbers possible. It would be nice if an independent group rated the spec honesty of the manufacturers. To me, the specs can be used as very loose guidelines, but are almost worthless...
 

Tear Drop

New member
Apr 23, 2008
6
0
0
You're confusing frequency extension with quality. Even if a speaker goes down to DC (0Hz) on paper that will have nothing to do with how well it performs.
 

jaxwired

Well-known member
Feb 7, 2009
284
6
18,895
Tear Drop:You're confusing frequency extension with quality. Even if a speaker goes down to DC (0Hz) on paper that will have nothing to do with how well it performs.

Well first of all, I'm not confusing them, the frequency response spec is provided by the manufacturer for precisely this reason, to show general performance at frequency extremes.

If the spec is not intended to convey performance, then it is obviously useless. In general, it is pretty much useless, but the manufacturers have to compete with each other using this information since the buying public will use the spec for comparison shopping.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
probably space, but maybe because everyone's ears are different?

The things they do mention like power handling and sensitivity will help match speakers and amps etc and i'd guess aren't as arguable as other measurments, but just because they go down/up to xhz doesn't mean the reader can hear that well so thats when they need to go listen for themselves (or just do some of their own research if they want to short list based on frequency response etc.)
 

chebby

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2008
1,233
5
19,195
fast eddie:probably space, but maybe because everyone's ears are different?

The things they do mention like power handling and sensitivity will help match speakers and amps etc and i'd guess aren't as arguable as other measurments...

A 90db (1 watt, 1 metre) sensitivity means that at 10 watts and about 3 - 4 metres listening distance, permanent hearing damage, can ensue if listened to for long/sustained periods in a medium sized room, so most of those figures are dubious also. (Prolongued exposure to levels over 85db can cause permanent damage and the room itself can add 3db to quoted levels.)

If a speaker has 89 - 90db sensitivity (very common) and recommends 'program' or continuous power of 80watts and peak power of 200 watts then it would be lunacy to use them at the 'recommended' levels in a typical modern domestic environment!
 

up the music

New member
Mar 13, 2008
26
0
0
I'd be happier to see independently measured specs to a common reference for reviews in addition to listening test results. More info on components used and quality of internal constructon too would be nice.

I assume they're not included as this would involve extra expense in test equipment and staff time in addition to the extra space they would occupy in the magazine. Perhaps more importantly they would scare away magazine buyers if they thought the magazine was too technical for them.

Instead we have to take manufacturers specs with a pinch of salt. Are those marketing watts or real watts?

I wouldn't say specs are worthless, they reveal partial information. They make it possible to compare some information across a range of speakers from the same manufacturer but rarely to compare one with that of another from a rival company.

I'm surprised the EU hasn't harmonised on a set of data all companies must include by now.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
up the music:I'd be happier to see independently measured specs to a common reference for reviews in addition to listening test results.
Hifi World do this in their mag. They bench test various equipment to see what the science suggests versus the more subjective listening. They measured the Spendor SA1 to be about 81-82 sensitivity (possibly lower, can't remember), significanly lower than the 85 quoted by Spendor.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS