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Old 02-06-2017   #26
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Default Re: The High-End Head Unit Shootout

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mic10is View Post
if only Elite Car Audio was still around. I did a similar evaluation when I was in Japan
Denon DCT1, DCT A1N, DRX9255, Alpine 7909, Sony C90, Sound Monitor 5000x....on sound board using Luxman amp, Focal Utopia Speakers, Focal sub (i think)

Denon DCT1 won hands down
Agreed Mic!

Missed that about Elitecaraudio.com. All these subjective testings without getting flamed that all hu and all amps sounds the same, tests are flawed just because there was a difference... etc...

Thanks for doing this Steve!!

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Old 02-06-2017   #27
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Default Re: The High-End Head Unit Shootout

Can't please 'em all!

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Old 02-06-2017   #28
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Default Re: The High-End Head Unit Shootout

This is going to be a great read. Subbed.

Love to hear about subjective opinions.

Thanks so very much for taking time to do this and post your results.

Appreciate keeping us involved.

Thanks, again.

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Old 02-06-2017   #29
 
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Default Re: The High-End Head Unit Shootout

Steve, I'll be there to help and participate in the listening tests.
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Old 02-06-2017   #30
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Default Re: The High-End Head Unit Shootout

I know these HU test do typically measure close but subjective listening always has a significant variance. I love these test though. Head units are pretty much my favorite items. Works of art to me. Well the good ones anyway. And they bring me the ultimate source of endless happiness. Music.

The best way to dummy proof is to get rid of the dummies
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Old 02-06-2017   #31
 
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Default Re: The High-End Head Unit Shootout

Subbed.
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Old 02-06-2017   #32
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Default Re: The High-End Head Unit Shootout

DRZ9255 sent to you!!!
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Old 02-06-2017   #33
 
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Default Re: The High-End Head Unit Shootout

Sub'd...thank you for doing this! Looking forward to the results!
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Old 02-06-2017   #34
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Default Re: The High-End Head Unit Shootout

Why not an 80prs as well?

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Old 02-06-2017   #35
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Default Re: The High-End Head Unit Shootout

I know that subjective impressions are important, but most of these tests are far from double blind. Subjective tests are useless in most situations because:

'I'm going to switch sources now, tell me which you like better.' Use the same source and they will say, 'A was "brigher" than B' when if fact it's the exact same source.

Do subject tests, but please, please do them double blind, scientifically, do the data actually means something.

And again, just because one is subjectively better doesn't mean the others aren't capable of that, and better. Testing "out of the box" frequency response really isn't that helpful at all.

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Old 02-07-2017   #36
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Default Re: The High-End Head Unit Shootout

Oh boy.... This should be good!
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Old 02-07-2017   #37
 
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Default Re: The High-End Head Unit Shootout

that will be a great reading!
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Old 02-07-2017   #38
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Default Re: The High-End Head Unit Shootout

In the end, subjective is all that matters to an individual. And others opinions can influence subjectivity. So testing results and posting them for others to read whether scientifically obtained or not will still have the desired result of swaying the next person's opinion. Not matter what is " fact " what we believe mentally is the truth to an individual. Some allow science to be the personal opinion mold and some allow belief. I am one of science. So I am with gijoe of how the science end should go down.Either way these tests do a have a strong influence in one's personal opinion.

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Old 02-07-2017   #39
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Default Re: The High-End Head Unit Shootout

I'm definitely in for this!

The key differences that I have noticed when doing these types of comparisons is not so much the FR/Tonality and resolution of fine details (though those differences are there), but the difference in the SOUND STAGE...width, depth/layering/depth of stage, image placement, and "air" or space between instruments and/or vocals. These are the things that most measurements cannot provide any differentiation, though FR and Power Response of the Speaker System has a lot to do with that, along with your listening environment or "room". But those last two things will be Constant or consistent in this test.

Steve, you may want to remove your Drum Kit from the room so that they do not resonate with the music playback, or at least mute/muffle the top and bottom heads and the cymbals with towels or something. I have found that even my drum hardware and stands resonate, buzz, or rattle, which will negatively affect your imaging cues the same as if you had buzzing trim panels in your vehicle.


Also, I know that this is already going to be a very involved test as it is, but I'd like to make another suggestion. No worries if you don't want to implement it, but I feel that it would be an excellent way for all of the members here to actually be able hear the differences between the units, and for you to have a reference as well.

So far, I assume that you will have the following setup:

1. Your Speaker Setup, their Output Level, and the Speaker Placement will be Constant. CHECK
2. The Output of all Head Units will be Level-Matched and be Constant. CHECK
3. Your listening Position should be Constant and should be front & center. CHECK

Now add the following:

4. Record the Output of all of the Head Units (via the speakers in the room) by using a simple Recording Device that remains in a Constant Position within your listening room and with a consistent Recording Level.

Item #4 will make it very easy to A/B the Head Units indefinitely after the actual listening tests, which may be a great advantage due to listening fatigue and/or attention fatigue that may occur during the actual test. The files can also be posted to DropBox or a similar cloud storage service so that everyone on the forum could download and hear them. And in the future you would always be able to refer back to these files or post them when other related topics or questions come up.

I have a portable Zoom H6 Handy Recorder, that I would be willing to ship to you at my expense and I'd also pay for the return shipping for this test. You would just need a small Tripod to set it up on, or I will purchase one and send it to you, so that the Zoom H6 can remain at ear level in a constant position.

Inexpensive Tripod Link...

AmazonBasics 50-Inch Lightweight Tripod










I would set up the H6 so that it is just above and behind your head while seated at your listening position and in a Horizontal orientation equidistant between the speakers, and possibly angled down just slightly towards the speakers. Or it may be better if it's placed just in front of you, centered and at your ear level, as long as that isn't a distraction or gets in your way. I would include a 256GB SDXC Memory Card which should be plenty to hold all of the files. I think that setting the H6 to record in Stereo 24-Bit/48kHz WAV format should be sufficient for this test, but you can record at 24/96 if you choose to. If you have your own microphones that you'd like to use, you can record them at the same time via the phantom-powered XLR/TRS inputs.

For uploading the files to a cloud service, I would convert them to FLAC format to minimize the file sizes, but also to provide all of the MetaData in ID3 Tags, such as the Head Unit, DSP Setup, Speaker Setup, Amplifier Setup, Zoom H6 Recording Setup/Distance/Height, etc. Or you could post these as Double-Blind, omitting the Head Unit information to eliminate bias.

As shown above, the Zoom H6 has a Stereo X/Y Microphone Module that can be easily set to 90° or 120° X/Y configuration by rotating the capsules. You could do some tests ahead of time to determine what gives the most accurate representation of the speakers in the room. Obviously the H6 and its X/Y microphones will not offer the absolute best audio quality that's available, but it is VERY, VERY GOOD, and most importantly, it will offer a Consistent Reference. This setup is excellent at capturing the entire Sound Stage, with Precise Imaging, Depth, and Tonality. And the H6 is very easy to setup and operate. Again, you could post these Audio Files as a Double-Blind Test by not including the Head Unit information, but instead just identifying each file as "Head Unit A", "Head Unit B", etc, and setup a "POLL" thread.

I'll include a portable USB Power Bank and cable to power it for extended periods as well. I also have a tripod shock mount for the H6, a small tabletop tripod, and a 4ft wired Remote Control so that you could easily Start and Stop the Recording for each setup from your listening position. The Remote has Recording & Clip Indicators. Link...

Auray RC-ZH6 Remote Control for Zoom H6 Handy Recorder




The only other thing that I think will be really important for your listening test will be to control the First (Early) Reflection Points that are on the walls on either side of the speakers between you and the speaker positions. I'm sure that you know about this stuff already and you probably already have some room treatment going on to deal with your drum kit. Just hanging up some large down comforters or mover's blankets on the side walls can make a huge difference.

Prerequisite video as an example....

+ YouTube Video
ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.



Sorry for the War And Peace novel of a post, but I think that this could be very beneficial. I'm traveling at the moment but I have this entire setup with me and could have one of my P.A.'s ship it out tomorrow if you'd like, even if it's just to play with it. Let me know via EMAIL... bbfoto AT hotmail DOT com


Side Note:

You could also use the H6 to create some great Drum Recordings of your kit while you have it. Let me know if you want to do this and I'll give you some tips. Here are just a few YouTube videos to demonstrate and they obviously will have lossy compression when listening to them, and the last one is not HD and is just 128kbps...

+ YouTube Video
ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.


+ YouTube Video
ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.


+ YouTube Video
ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.


+ YouTube Video
ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.

Last edited by bbfoto; 02-07-2017 at 06:29 AM..
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Old 02-07-2017   #40
 
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Default Re: The High-End Head Unit Shootout

Like the idea and thanks in advance for the effort.

While I understand the apples to apples comparisons to control some of the confounding variables, the contrarian in me thinks for some headunits this may be akin to testing a minivan's 0-60 time...that's not a significant test for the vehicle's design/intended purpose. Maybe add a test that provides a full throttle measure of use as the unit was designed to be used (ex. Hi-res files thru the Sony, optical where available, etc.). Might provide a different perspective as consumers choose between these various features.

I mean, while you got 'em side by side... ;-)
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Old 02-07-2017   #41
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Default Re: The High-End Head Unit Shootout

Thump!

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Old 02-07-2017   #42
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Default Re: The High-End Head Unit Shootout

Quote:
Originally Posted by seafish View Post
DRZ9255 sent to you!!!
You're the best Clark- thank you sir!

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Old 02-07-2017   #43
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Default Re: The High-End Head Unit Shootout

Quote:
Originally Posted by bbfoto
I'm definitely in for this

.....


Thanks- I sent an email your way. It's an interesting idea but will definitely take some more time and effort on my end to execute it. Let's see what we come up with.

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Old 02-07-2017   #44
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Default Re: The High-End Head Unit Shootout

Quote:
Originally Posted by captainobvious View Post
Thanks- I sent an email your way. It's an interesting idea but will definitely take some more time and effort on my end to execute it. Let's see what we come up with.
Steve, the Zoom H6 & Accessories have been shipped. You should receive them by Friday if there aren't any snafu's with weather/shipping delays.

I'll shoot you an email later when I'm free to give you the tracking #, etc.

Hope it works out. Thanks!

Billy B.
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Old 02-07-2017   #45
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Default Re: The High-End Head Unit Shootout

Ahhhh snap gonna be good... btw the c90 sounds way better via digital out... tested it 10 ways from Sunday... its a badass transport...

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Old 02-07-2017   #46
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Default Re: The High-End Head Unit Shootout

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Originally Posted by matdotcom2000 View Post
Ahhhh snap gonna be good... btw the c90 sounds way better via digital out... tested it 10 ways from Sunday... its a badass transport...
I agree with all of the above, and my iBasso DX90 DAP seemed to match or exceed it in my tests via both the Line Out and Digi Out. Now I'm looking into some of the newer DAPs that have a better UI...

iBasso DX200, Fiio X5 Mk III, the Bit Opus#2, etc.

But I'm definitely looking forward to the results of Steve's test!
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Old 02-08-2017   #47
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Default Re: The High-End Head Unit Shootout

Quote:
Originally Posted by captainobvious View Post
Thanks- I sent an email your way. It's an interesting idea but will definitely take some more time and effort on my end to execute it. Let's see what we come up with.
Steve, below is a YouTube Video showing a great way to accurately record your speakers using your OMNI Measurement Microphones. Just substitute the Zoom H6 as the recording device and use your Measurement Mics connected via its XLR mic inputs.

Or if you already have a good quality USB/Thunderbolt/Firewire Audio Recording Interface that has XLR inputs with microphone preamps (and Phantom Power if needed), you can use it with your measurement mics and software to record your speakers. Audacity works great with most Audio Interfaces if you don't have any other computer DAW/recording software, but the H6 is fairly simple to operate once it is set up, and it will free up your computer to do other measurements.

+ YouTube Video
ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.


And here is one of their Studio Monitor Comparisons that is recorded with the techniques in the first video...

+ YouTube Video
ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.


And another that demonstrates Off-Axis FR...

+ YouTube Video
ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.


I would also simultaneously record your speakers using the Zoom H6's "built-in" X/Y mic capsules set to 90°, with the Zoom H6 placed equidistant between your speakers and the same distance away from them as the Left-to-Right Distance between each speaker...the equilateral triangle method.

The H6 should be positioned parallel to the floor and at a height so the X/Y mics are aimed at the point midway between the midrange and tweeters (in the vertical plane). The bass frequencies are obviously more Omni-directional and mic placement isn't as critical. You might also try the 120° X/Y mic capsule setting and see if that is a more accurate representation of the speakers.

And Yes, I would remove your Drum Kit from the room if it's not too much trouble because of resonance and the possibility of that producing distracting or false imaging cues.

The most important room treatment will be to eliminate the 1st or Early Reflections or "Bounce" from the side walls opposite of the speakers in the area on the wall between you and the speakers. See the images below.

This is what I think ErinH concentrated on in his latest build by relocating the midrange and tweeter drivers. Those near side and opposite side reflections skew the stage and kill or mask the main cues that we need to perceive Depth especially, but also overall imaging, width, staging, and focus.




The next area I would concentrate on is the back wall (behind your listening position). It might be a problem depending on how close it is to you and how reflective it is. Ideally you want at least a 3:1 ratio similar to what is shown in that first illustration above.

It would be good to have some absorption behind and/or in the corners behind where the speakers are placed, but I would worry about that last.

Use your Drum Kit Carpet/Mat on the floor between you and the speakers to minimize floor bounce. Not sure if you'd be able to do anything about the ceiling.

You don't want to completely kill all reflections, but you want to control the detrimental ones. Here's a fairly good article about it...

Early Reflections Are Not Beneficial

Hope that helps!

Last edited by bbfoto; 02-08-2017 at 02:43 AM..
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Old 02-08-2017   #48
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Default Re: The High-End Head Unit Shootout

The room has a pretty plush thick carpet on the floor so that should help a little. I'll try to get some thick blankets hung on the walls. Easy enough to move the kit into the next room (It's only a 5 piece with 4 cymbals). Thanks for sending out the H6!

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Old 02-08-2017   #49
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Default Re: The High-End Head Unit Shootout

Quote:
Originally Posted by captainobvious View Post
The room has a pretty plush thick carpet on the floor so that should help a little. I'll try to get some thick blankets hung on the walls. Easy enough to move the kit into the next room (It's only a 5 piece with 4 cymbals). Thanks for sending out the H6!
Awesome. Great to already have the carpet in there.

On the side walls, the problem area or early reflection zone is usually not much wider than 3ft-4ft, so you could double- or triple-fold your blankets to make them thicker. And the absorption actually works better if the blankets or panels are hung out and away from the wall 4"-10", rather than being flat against the wall. But it may be too difficult to secure them in that fashion, so having them against the wall is WAY better than nothing at all.

You also might try recording and listening to your setup BEFORE and AFTER you place your additional room treatment to hear and document the difference.

Have fun with it and thanks again for doing this!
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Old 02-08-2017   #50
 
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Default Re: The High-End Head Unit Shootout

Steve,

This sounds like a fun time. By the way your drum set is the best part of the room. I think your test board is perfect as all those drivers have a totally diferent sound. Are you going to bust out the Brax amplifier?
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