Listening

As much as we believe in the value of measurement, we also understand that the final arbiter of a product’s worth is the ear of a consumer. At Warkwyn all projects are put through rigorous standardized listening evaluations throughout the design cycle in order to verify that the DUT’s sound as good as the measurements look. Listening tests are done, not only on finished designs heading into production, but they are an essential tool throughout the driver and speaker development process.

We set final crossover settings based on listening, tempered by measurements. The customer might accept our crossover, or they may chose to attend final “voicing” at our facility, or we may travel to their facility to perform it with them, or they might do it themselves.

Tweeter prototype listening test setup.

Tweeter prototype listening test setup.

A-B-C-D listening test. (Screen removed)

A-B-C-D listening test. (Screen removed)

Acoustics is full of compromises. There are multiple targets with conflicting priorities (frequency response, diffraction, time alignment, distortion, resonance, reliability, bass extension, industrial design, etc…). Sometimes there are hard choices to make. The final arbiter in these choices is the listening test. To quote Floyd Toole: ” A microphone and a PC cannot replace 2 ears and a brain”.

Warkwyn has the facilities to A/B/C/D comparisons between up to 4 different 5-channel audio systems simultaneously. This ability to compare so many channels at once grew out of soundbar development and benchmarking. Wherever possible, double-blind, or at least, blind listening tests are performed.

During transducer development major changes are validated with listening tests. Since it is difficult to compare a single driver, we often build special speakers with duplicate drivers and switch out only the driver under test. The crossovers are adjusted to ensure the frequency response is as similar as possible and the levels are set separately.

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