Musical Articulation Test Tones

The objective of performing the MATT test in your listening room is to determine where you might move your speakers, listening position, and/or where to add acoustic treatment to your room to obtain the highest quality sound possible from the components in your listening environment. This is done by recording the playback of a carefully selected set of tones designed to evaluate the way in which a loudspeaker system operates relative to its surroundings.

ASC MATT Test Analysis

For a modest fee ($50 + $25 per test), ASC will analyze your MATT Test data and make suggestions to help you deal with acoustic weaknesses in your room. You provide us with a recording of the MATT Test in your room and we'll take it from there. The MATT signal is available on the Stereophile Test CD 2 (track 19) and on the PROSONUS Studio Reference Disc (track 50). Or, download the Mp3 file and burn it to a CD. To save the file to your computer, right-click (Windows) or control-click (Mac), then choose the save option. The diagram below illustrates a typical MATT test set-up.

Do You Need a MATT Test?

Presented here is an informal sample of the full MATT Test. For this particular test, we have produced a .wav file that is similar to the first third of the MATT test (available on Stereophile Test CD 2) to be used simply as a qualitative indicator of general acoustic problems.

Stereophile reviewed the MATT Test in an article called "Room Tuning: ASC TubeTraps & the MATT Test" By Brian Damkroger • February, 2000. Check it out here

For a complete M.A.T.T. test tutorial Click Here

Click HERE to download the M.A.T.T. Test sound file in mp3 format (1700k).

How to begin the test:

  1. First, audition the test through a pair of headphones. You will hear a clear sequence of tones. This is indicative of an ideal acoustic listening room where all tones are distinct and articulate.
  2. Now, repeat the test. This time send the signal through your loudspeaker system and listen from your usual listening position. You may be surprised at how unintelligible an audio playback system can appear using this test.

Evaluating the sound:

During the playback of the test, you will notice two types of sounds: clear articulate tone pulses "tat, tat, tat" and garbled passages "buddula buddula buddula". After listening to the test a few times you should be able to easily identify the differences in sound as the test progresses. When you feel ready, make a list of the approximate track times during which garbled signals occurred. Then, refer to the graph below to determine what frequencies correspond to the times you noted. This will provide you with an idea of any acoustic weaknesses within your room.


If you're not comfortable with your ears' ability to hear the difference, purchase a simple sound level meter to help you visualize the sound. You can get a fairly good sound level meter from Radio Shack for under $40. Set the weighting to "C scale" and "Fast" acquisition. Be sure to adjust gain and volume levels so the display does not peg the meter. First, hold the meter close to one of the speakers and play the test. You should see the indicator needle vibrate rapidly back and forth as it follows the tone burst sequence. Next, move back to the listening position and play the test again. Note that during inarticulate, garbled passages the needle barely quivers unlike when it was close to the speaker. This is a visual representation of the difference between articulate and inarticulate sound in your space.

What does the test tell me?

The MATT test provides two pieces of information: how loud the sound is and how articulate the sound is. The maximum readout on the sound level meter during a tone burst is an indication, in decibels, of how loud your system is at that frequency. The difference in readout between the highest and lowest swing of the needle during a tone burst tells us how articulate the sound is at that frequency. Generally speaking, you can follow the following table to determine how articulate your sound is at various frequencies.

Examining your system's articulation levels can help you determine whether or not acoustic treatment is necessary. As a first level of treatment, try adjusting your speakers or listening position and see if there is any improvement. Also, try out your own "home-made" acoustic treatments if you are so inclined. If, after you've experimented with these level of treatments, you still notice a lack of articulation in some frequency ranges, give us a call (1-800-ASC-TUBE) and we can help you determine the best acoustic treatment for your particular problem(s).