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3rd edition of Floyd E. Toole's "Sound Reproduction"

Discussion in 'audio' started by Julf, Jan 10, 2018.

  1. Julf

    Julf Evil brother of Mark V Shaney

    Floyd E. Toole's excellent "Sound Reproduction" should be mandatory reading (along with Ethan Winer's "The Audio Expert) for any audiophile. The third edition is just out. Toole, with a background of 50 years of acoustical and psycho-acoustical research (first with the National Research Council of Canada, then Harman) is one of the world's leading experts in loudspeakers and human perception of sound.

    Here are a couple of pearls of wisdom from a recent interview:

    "What I see happening around me is depressing. The knowledge of how to create stunning reproduced sound exists, but because people in general don't read, and many don't believe in science, the average consumer ends up living with inferior sound when the same money could have purchased more. Countless hours in audio forum discussions are no substitute for a few days reading peer-reviewed science."

    "Far too many audiophiles follow faith-based notions that the answers to perfect sound lie in distractions like power cords, speaker wires, and exotic electronics. This is money not well spent."

    Jonboi and Shadders like this.
  2. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I lost respect for him after watching a Harman presentation where speaker placement was ignored and a Martin Logan panel ended up being slagged off as it was placed and measured in a ridiculous location for a dipole (the location in which the Harman product was designed to work, funnily enough). As such I personally view much of what he says as marketing guff I’m afraid. He certainly appears to have an agenda and stuff to sell.
    tuga and fatmarley like this.
  3. Julf

    Julf Evil brother of Mark V Shaney

    That is disappointing to hear - I have found his academic work pretty good.
  4. Purité Audio

    Purité Audio Trade: Purite Audio

    Julf likes this.
  5. John Phillips

    John Phillips Well-Known Member

    I can add my recommendation if people are interested in a very good repository summarising the research into loudspeakers and rooms. I bought the 3rd edition just before Christmas and have read the first eight chapters. Toole does make a number of statements that may not go down well with some in the audio community. However the book is so much more than that small element. And given that the research demonstrates the very substantial influences in perceived audio quality from loudspeakers and rooms, his view that a number of other influences pale into insignificance is not surprising.
    Julf likes this.
  6. davidjt

    davidjt pfm Member

    Mark Waldrep has (co-incidentally?) finally published 'Music and Audio - A User Guide to Better Sound', which I was about to buy, until I saw the price(s). I know it's only a fraction of what we spend on equipment, but getting on for £100 for the pair (depending upon the media chosen) still seems a lot. Maybe I can persuade the mobile librarian to order one or the other. :)
  7. Julf

    Julf Evil brother of Mark V Shaney

    £100 for valuable understanding as opposed to what some of us spend on useless cables and "USB filters"? :)
  8. davidjt

    davidjt pfm Member

    I must be one of the lucky ones - my ears tell me that my "USB filter" improves the sound. :) Knowledge is useful, though, up to a point.

    Judge: "I've listened to you for an hour and am none the wiser."
    F.E. Smith, QC: "None the wiser, perhaps, my lord but certainly better informed."
  9. Jim Audiomisc

    Jim Audiomisc pfm Member

    I can't comment on the above directly. But I formed a different view from reading the earlier edition of his book. I'd recommend it.
  10. Werner

    Werner pfm Member

    Your loss entirely.

    And is having an agenda that bad, in today's audio world of cat litter grounding boxes and music formats with Trojan DRM?

    BTW: the smaller MLs in that era really did not sound very good at all ...
  11. camverton

    camverton pfm Member

    Absolutely right.

    Much of what he says is very interesting and setting out to evaluate listeners subjective resonse and compare it to the specs should be valuable. Unfortunately, placing each speaker in the same position without reference to the design requirements of each speaker will give highly skewed and worthless results.

    A single Martin Logan, casually placed will almost certainly sound pretty awful. They only really sound at their best in stereo and carefully placed to take advantage of the way they fill the room with sound. There's noy a lot of point in a dipole if you don't make constructive use of the rear radiation. I find it surprising that he he didn't understand that, or worse ignored it.
  12. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I’m very used to reading books or white papers from designers who had a specific viewpoint, e.g. Paul Klipsch, Peter Walker, Gilbert Briggs etc, and I don’t think any of these would have been party to such a biased piece of PR. I agree that doesn’t make Toole’s book bad, it is probably very good, but it’s just enough to make me lose respect and likely not buy it given I’ve already read a lot on the subject from some truly amazing designers and I already have the studio ‘bible’ (Sound Recording Practice by John Borwick).

    PS I cite the Martin Logan as it was to my mind obvious poor/deliberately biased test methodology to make a commercial point and doing so under the guise of ‘science’. I was not making any comment on the speaker at all. It could just as easily have been a Quad ESL and they are amongst the finest speakers ever made IMHO. The point is a dipole plays by different rules, as does say a corner horn, yet the test was too stacked to acknowledge this. I'd never have put my name to such a thing.
    Still likes this.
  13. Colin L

    Colin L pfm Member

    By “us” do you mean that you have bought those items, or are you just being smug and superior?
  14. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Decent books and cables are not mutually exclusive!
    Telstar likes this.
  15. Julf

    Julf Evil brother of Mark V Shaney

    I am just being smug and superior. Have you read the book?
  16. Julf

    Julf Evil brother of Mark V Shaney

    No, they aren't - I was just trying to put the "£100 seems a lot" into perspective.
  17. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I know what you mean and agree fully. I buy any audiophool cables second pre-depreciated!

    PS I kind of regret knocking Toole, I’m sure it is a great book. I just have the mindset that if the science is just wrong, as it was in that particular dem, and it is being used to “objectively” belittle either subjective listening or a competitors product then I’ll call it out. I’m all for proper impartial science though, but that means any blind dems of speakers have to put the things exactly where that design is intended to be and meet any other operational requirements. That kind of thing just really bugs me!
  18. Colin L

    Colin L pfm Member

    No. Have you?
  19. S-Man

    S-Man Kinkless Tetrode Admirer

    I tried Toole's boundary placement recommendations for subs and although it might meet his scientific requirements i.e. evening out of amplitude response around the room, it ignores my scientific requirements of accurate transient response and time alignment. I know which one sounds best to me.
    It a good book, but nobody knows all the answers, even him.
  20. tuga

    tuga pfm Member

    Floyd Toole - Sound reproduction – art and science/opinions and facts

    Julf likes this.

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