Sound Quality Claims Without Data Are Only an Opinion: Empirically Evaluating Sound

A discussion of quantitative sound quality and measurement from the CEO and owner of Symetrix, Mark Graham.
Sound Quality Claims Without Data Are Only an Opinion: Empirically Evaluating Sound

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By Mark Graham, CEO/Owner Symetrix, Inc.

When I first joined Symetrix I quickly got on the road and set out to meet with integrators and consultants to gain first-hand experience in how they viewed Symetrix’s strengths and weaknesses.

I knew before I joined that Symetrix had an excellent reputation for sound quality but was surprised by how consistent that positive feedback was. One early meeting summed up the feedback nicely. The principal of a respected integrator with national reach described how his team had run an experiment to compare the sonic performance of Symetrix with three other leading signal processing brands. “Everyone said they were VERY impressed with the sound of the Symetrix. The stereo separation and sound field were markedly better (with Symetrix Radius) than the other brands. Based on this, you may want to ask all your dealers to arrange shootouts including Symetrix!”

Well, here we are about four years later, and I am back out on the road in the New York area. Over dinner with a consultant friend the conversation eventually came around to sound quality and he said (to paraphrase): “I tend to believe your claim of higher sound quality, but how do you substantiate it?” That’s a good question.

Sound quality has been a key component of just about every brand and product I have been a part of over the last 30 years. The natural, and perhaps obvious, questions of what makes one audio product sound better than another, and how can you prove it, have been constants for my entire career. So, after that dinner with my consultant friend I headed back down some personally well-trodden paths to a spec sheet comparison of Symetrix to those published by a variety of competitors. I was looking, not optimistically, to see if I could find in the spec sheets why Symetrix sounds better and wins shootouts. Not surprisingly, Symetrix audio specifications did not appear, on a published specification level, to have the highest-performance. Arguably the best specified performance was from a successful brand that is well known for marginal audio quality.


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Go to the profile of Lisa Matthews, CTS - AVIXA
about 1 year ago

Thanks for giving us a peek "under the hood", @Vin Keane. Fascinating.