Which one sounds best

How to find out which one gives the best sound – without advanced technical analysis. It is possible, and it is not very difficult.

Here i have two different horn subwoofers, set up in Room 2. Calibrated fairly well, to the same target on both systems. It is easy to switch between them, to compare the sound.

The first to decide is whether there is a difference. And there is. Both on paper, and for the ears.

V80 extends deeper down in frequency, rolls off at 12Hz, while V6030 rolls of at 20Hz. In the time-domain the V80 system is better. We can see this in a spectrogram. Both system are set up with 120Hz crossover.

Spectrogram V80 bass-system in Room 2 – 2x placed up front

Spectrogram V6030 bass-system in Room 2 – 2x placed up front

Those graphs can be used to compare these two systems, for comparison with something else the measurement conditions and scaling on the graph and settings for time window must be equal.

Both show a step in time around 80Hz, this is caused by room acoustics and can only be corrected by changing placement and size of the sound sources.

We see that V6030 is thicker and more smeared in time, this can be heard as less precise and solid attack.

The earlier roll-off of the V6030 induces lesser transient response in the deep end of the frequency range, and placement of the sound sources also contribute to this difference.

A listening session with analytical focus corresponds with measurements. V80 sounds more powerful and cleaner in the very lowest octave. V6030 appears more coloured by direct comparison. For studio use the V80 system would be preferable.

The systems also share many sonic attributes, perhaps they are more equal than different, if compared to something else.

Both has very good definition in the upper bass range, bass instruments manifests as clearly rendered in the sonic landscape, and is easy to follow. This is more a result from the dry acoustics in Room 2 from 100Hz and up.

Then there is this addictive snap and airy character of the bass. It is horn bass.

What is best..

Now to the ultimate test – what is best.

This is decided simply by observing which bass-system I turn on and use when I only want to hear some music:

The system most frequently in use, is the one with best sound.

It is that simple.

Quite independent from what measures best on paper, it is eventually the sound I hear and experience that counts. Yes, everything can be measured and analyzed, but it is rather a comprehensive task to measure everything that affects what we hear, and even more difficult to decide which technical parameters that are significant.

Here I see the V6030 is the one that is preferred. Even if it does not extend as deep down in frequency, and the impulse-response is worse on paper. V80 sounds a bit cleaner and dryer, and extends deeper, while V6030 is experienced as more lively and entertaining to listen to.

Causes can be assumed to be found in differences in placement, and sound intensity at the listening position. V6030 is a bit more hefty in the attack, a little more powerful.

This usually takes some time. Typically, there will be frequent changing between the systems the first few days, listening to both. Then a tendency to turn on one particular system develops, when the fascination to listen for differences fade away.

This is something everyone can do. No technical analysis. And you end up with what sounds best according to your preference.

Some of the music that were played:

Flashbulb, album Opus At The End Of Everything.
Flashbulb, album Reunion.
Panda Dub, album Antilogy.
Jøkleba, album Nu Jøk.