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Subjective Listening Tests

After many exhaustive hours of testing, I finally plugged them into the SBLive! card and cranked up the tunes. Ummm, yeah...all is not well at Diamond Audio. In their promotional material, they stress that well known audio engineers that have decades of audio experience created a sound they would be proud of. I'm unbelievably sorry to report the first few seconds if listening prompted me to immediately A/B these with my computer reference Altec ACS-48's. Wow, what a difference. The 3025's had a sound so far from the norm I can almost call it unlistenable.

I adhere to the principle that if the midrange isn't right, there's no point in listening even further. Not only was the midrange awful, the high and low frequencies were completely substandard for the $80 price level. What I heard was very describeable--a total and complete disregard for audio standards, not to mention supposed Hollywood studio standards.

The midrange thinned out the sound so much that voices took on the dreaded telephone honky quality. This meant that normally thick musical instruments (big, fat sounding electric guitars, woodwinds) ended up about half their recorded size. They weren't distorted noises, just tinny noises. The sound stage in the 170-3KHz range was massively overprounced, nearly hitting me in the face at the 0.5m listening distance.

I feel for the poor 3" midrange unit. It's forced to reproduce everything from 170Hz all the way to 18KHz. And it does...too much so. I've never measured so much output from any standard high end tweeter as I did from the DA 3" unit. And it was overboosted too. +3dB at 16KHz on a 3" midrange produces a distortion I wouldn't subject dogs to let alone human ears. For those car nuts out there, it might be like pushing a factory 4 cylinder engine to 10,000 rpm and leaving it there.

OK, so 170Hz and up is unacceptable, how about boom land? As you may have already determined, I prefer a flat, reference type of frequency response, so the intentional eq curve did not make the listening experience any better. A 10dB peak can make a few notes of the bass guitar or piano appear twice as loud as recorded. Manufacturers do this to make their products stand out in the crowd in essence screaming, "buy me, buy me!" The quality was among the poorest I've heard to date too. "Q" refers to the damping quality factor and to be reference quality, something close to 0.707 is the desired ratio. The 3025's woofer sounded so slow and woofy that I might have guessed it was produced with a spec in the 1.5-2.0 range, which produces the dreaded "one note" effect. This effect makes all bass, no matter what's producing it, sound exactly the same. Somebody could be beating a rug with a broom or playing complex bass lines, you couldn't tell the difference.

Conclusion

Until DA changes their fundamental design philosophy, I wouldn't recommend these speakers to my worst enemy. No self respecting audio engineer would ever let these things out the door, let alone actually mix on them. Frankly, I expected much more than hype from this left coast company. Why not reproduce their previous MidiLand success but in a smaller package? I've always emphasized that no matter what, you must listen to subjective speakers for yourself before purchasing, and the 3025's may be the best reason not to go the online only way like Diamond Audio has chosen. If you're interested in voicing your opinion to DA, send them an email with these suggestions contained within:

(1) Please lose any intentional eq curves
(2) Add a tweeter
(3) Give us a woofer with a 0.707 Q.

William Yaple
07/10/00

 





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