|Eagle Arion ET-AR504LR-BK 2.1 Soundstage Speakers|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Audio|
|Written by Dan Ferguson - Edited by Olin Coles|
|Friday, 06 November 2009|
Page 5 of 6
Testing & Results
As mentioned earlier, the first test is a subjective test of listening to various types of music to see how I like the "feel" of the sound. I listened to several songs with a large range of instrument types including vocal. In this test I played particular attention to irregularities in the sound. I first tested with wav quality music then listened to the same track compressed to mp3. Compression often causes "glitchy" sounding high-frequency distortion, though any noticeable distortion depends upon the actual track.
For a more objective battery of tests I used several computer generated tones to measure several properties of the speaker set. First I tested the lower range of the set by playing 20Hz, 30Hz, and 100Hz tones. Next I tested the upper range using 10000Hz, 15000Hz and 20000Hz tones. Then I used a 1000Hz tone to check the midrange drivers. Finally, pink noise was used to test any gross dips or spikes in the crossovers.
A crossover point is the frequency range where sound generation transitions from one driver type to the next, for example the sound range between the subwoofer and the midrange drivers. When frequencies are too high to be played by the subwoofer the midrange driver must take over. Well designed speakers will make this transition region as flat as possible so that all frequencies are generated at the same volume. In practice, pink noise consists of a range of frequencies all at the same magnitude. Poorly designed crossovers could result in distortion, an uneven sound in some ranges, or other undesirable sound qualities.
WAV Music: Overall I was pleased with the music I heard from the speakers. I especially liked listening to piano and guitar music. Vocals also sounded excellent. I think this highlights the strong midrange driver performance. Nothing stood out about the higher range indicating good performance. The bass tones were clean and solid, but they felt weak. Drums also seemed to lack punch. The subwoofer weren't hitting very hard. During games and action movies I like to feel the explosions. In this case the explosions sounded great, but did not rock me back in my chair. The subwoofer and satellites performed well under loud volumes. Some speakers will buzz and vibrate when the volume gets too high. Even though the studs in my walls were vibrating, the speakers remained quiet.
MP3 Music: The other day I watched a movie in a nice home theater. During one section the DVD sound was overlaid with MP3 voice tracks. The high-pitched distortion was obvious. I was unable to use that same video for testing on the Soundstage Speakers, but I expected I might hear the same effect using other voice tracks. During all my testing I never heard any glitchy sounding audio. The only difference I noted was that classical music sounded hollow on the mp3 tracks. To me this means the speakers are nice enough that the difference in quality could be heard, but perhaps not nice enough to hear more subtle errors in quality. Depending on your needs this may be good or bad.
Lower Range Tones: This subwoofer can go low. Every bass tone played without distortion or problems. When tones go that low they seem to be felt more than heard.
Upper Range Tones: With the 10000Hz tone a low frequency harmonic could heard. The 15000Hz tone played better but also had some low frequency distortion. The 20000Hz tone played, but was badly distorted in the high frequencies. To find the true upper limit I played tones of 19000Hz, 18000Hz, 17000Hz and 16000Hz. All were unacceptably distorted. I would say that 15000Hz is the upper limit of acceptable quality sound.
Midrange Tones: The 1000Hz tone is a common tone used to calibrate sound equipment. You may have heard this tone during the middle of the night when TV stations go off the air. This midrange tone played just fine on the Eagle speakers.
Pink Noise: While listening to various ranges of pink noise I didn't hear any imperfections. There seemed to be a slight dip between the bass and the midrange, but it was small enough that it could simply be due to my ears rather than the speakers. The transition between midrange drivers and tweeters sounded fine.