Can You Judge A Listening Room By Its Photo?

I've read some interesting comments from people who are convinced they can tell what a room sounds like from a YouTube video and/or a photo. So let's see if they're right. Can you pick which photo of my listening room sounds better?

Photo A.


Photo B.

Venere 2's picture

It's the same room, but from different perspectives! I suspect you used a wide angle lens in photo A, to stretch out the depth of the room. In photo B, you probably used a telephoto lens to compress the depth.

It would be impossible to judge properly the room acoustics in a picture because, you are not necessarily seeing the room as it really is.

FransZappa's picture

...very carefully to both pictures Michael, guess what I heard?

Michael Lavorgna's picture
FransZappa's picture

just the one, followed by someone softly closing a barn door behind him and trying to hold in his laughter.

dmhenley's picture


FransZappa's picture

you guessed right, the secret word for tonight is - by the way, I do not mind at all; it's the way of the modern world, I think you do a wonderful job and ultimately I am the one very happily visiting your and all stereophile affilated websites so I hope you don't take offense when I say - clickbait.

;) to you too

Michael Lavorgna's picture
You may be interested to learn that someone on the AS Facebook page has decided that, "B is way off axis. I expect A sounds better. Better focussed (sp)/proportioned image."

I guess you could say he took the bait ;-)

chtgrubbs's picture

OK, but what's really bugging me is that empty picture frame. Did somebody steal your Matisse?

Michael Lavorgna's picture
...everything ;-)
Anton's picture

Isn't that the frame from the door in Friends?

As to sound, best stay away from Analog Planet. That guy thinks we can compare how cartridges, tomearms, record players, and phono preamps sound over the interwebs!

Crazy talk!



Michael Lavorgna's picture
Here's something to consider - let's say I make a recording of the Kronos Quartet in Carnegie Hall. I sit them in the center of the cheap seats pointing at a side wall where I sit with my mic. You hear the recording and conclude, "Carnegie Hall sounds like shit!"

That's what you are doing when you think you know what room sounds like from a YouTube video.


Anton's picture

Weren't the comments about rooms sounding more acoustically lively vs. "how the system sounded?"

One of those two is readily heard.

Michael Lavorgna's picture
...made the obvious mistake of assuming one could tell the distance from the mic to me. Someone stated, as a matter of fact, something like "the distance between you and the mic was closer than that between the listening seat and the speakers."

The guy who made that comment is unfamiliar with the concept of focal length.

He also went further by commenting on how my room sounds. My response on the Steroephile site was in response to him.

If the point was, "Your room sounds lively in that video" and that was that, we wouldn't be having this conversation. It's also worth pointing out that I've been dealing with this kind of thing for more than a decade, people judging the sound of a room based on a photo!, and I have little patience for it

Anton's picture

Lively vs. not isn't so difficult. Not "how the system sounds." Did any of the videos 'show' the system playing? If not, then why claim anybody described the sound of "the system?"

Here, try this...

I could here it, anybody else?

Seems remedial!

Anton's picture

I think I was conflating subjects!

Michael Lavorgna's picture
The thing of it is, we have people who believe they know more than we know about *how our rooms sound* even though *they've never been in our rooms*!

If we can pause for a moment to consider how utterly absurd this is, I think we can agree about how utterly absurd this is.

Feiteira's picture

Unbelievable how people take the bait and still judge the room even with such an openly critical post.

Not even I can agree with myself on how good my own room sounds. I've been on a long journey of moving further away from the speakers, eliminating toe-in and putting the grills on. The more I listen to live music in small venues, the more I get the impression that most systems are setup in a way that is too resolving and bright.

RGibran's picture

"The more I listen to live music in small venues, the more I get the impression that most systems are setup in a way that is too resolving and bright."