ever seen a bad speaker review? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 80 Old 04-05-2012, 10:47 AM - Thread Starter
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I don't think I've ever seen a speaker review where the guy said, this speaker isn't very good, or they point out real flaws etc. Every review I read seems to say....this system is awesome, comes close to or beats my reference system, best for it's price, you won't find better without spending twice as much (then you read the review for those 2X expensive speakers and they say they are well worth the money and as good as speakers that cost 2X as much as those).

I understand that they need revenues for ads and those come from manufacturers who don't want their products to get bad reviews. I also realize that sound is subjective and people like different things but there has to be some hard data and tests to compare the accuracy of A with that of B. There has to be a reviewer or magazine or website with the cajones to just say....you know what, there are better speakers for the dollar than brand A or brand B just isn't as accurate as it should be. It's just cliche after cliche about how the reviewer has never heard a particular CD sound this good.

It's like the line from Incredibles.....when everyone is super...no one will be.

Are there any review sites that actually critique speakers?

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post #2 of 80 Old 04-05-2012, 10:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wyen78 View Post

I don't think I've ever seen a speaker review where the guy said, this speaker isn't very good, or they point out real flaws etc. Every review I read seems to say....this system is awesome, comes close to or beats my reference system, best for it's price, you won't find better without spending twice as much (then you read the review for those 2X expensive speakers and they say they are well worth the money and as good as speakers that cost 2X as much as those).

I understand that they need revenues for ads and those come from manufacturers who don't want their products to get bad reviews. I also realize that sound is subjective and people like different things but there has to be some hard data and tests to compare the accuracy of A with that of B. There has to be a reviewer or magazine or website with the cajones to just say....you know what, there are better speakers for the dollar than brand A or brand B just isn't as accurate as it should be. It's just cliche after cliche about how the reviewer has never heard a particular CD sound this good.

It's like the line from Incredibles.....when everyone is super...no one will be.

Are there any review sites that actually critique speakers?

Since getting into audio in the late 70's, I don't think I've ever read a "professional" review that really criticized any product.

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post #3 of 80 Old 04-05-2012, 11:16 AM
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Completely agree. The problem is, companies would stop sending their products for review. Hi end audio isn't mainstream enough for the problem to be solved.

The best thing you can do is learn enough to understand measurements, and then only read reviews that have them. Usually you can compare what's written vs what's measured and conclude if the reviewer is complete BS (stereophile).
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post #4 of 80 Old 04-05-2012, 11:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wyen78 View Post

I don't think I've ever seen a speaker review where the guy said, this speaker isn't very good, or they point out real flaws etc. Every review I read seems to say....this system is awesome, comes close to or beats my reference system, best for it's price, you won't find better without spending twice as much (then you read the review for those 2X expensive speakers and they say they are well worth the money and as good as speakers that cost 2X as much as those).

I understand that they need revenues for ads and those come from manufacturers who don't want their products to get bad reviews. I also realize that sound is subjective and people like different things but there has to be some hard data and tests to compare the accuracy of A with that of B. There has to be a reviewer or magazine or website with the cajones to just say....you know what, there are better speakers for the dollar than brand A or brand B just isn't as accurate as it should be. It's just cliche after cliche about how the reviewer has never heard a particular CD sound this good.

It's like the line from Incredibles.....when everyone is super...no one will be.

Are there any review sites that actually critique speakers?

In a word... NO. All speaker/equipment reviewers IMHO are paid off liars who only review a product IF they also advertise heavily in thier magazine/website. That's the problem...you'll see a glowing review, then 2 pages later a full page advertisement for that product. It's a freakin joke...and anyone with any clue can see through the hype easily.

The ONLY place you'll get honest reviews is from end users like on here. The problem is..if you say ANYTHING negative about a product you'll be labelled as a TROLL, or bashing the company. It's stupid.
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post #5 of 80 Old 04-05-2012, 11:23 AM
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Just once I'd like to read a review that said...

"this product is absolute crap for the price. It's ok at 1/4 it's price which is where it belongs...but sadly all end users will pay more because they are brainwashed and too stupid to think for themselves".

Now THAT would be honest.
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post #6 of 80 Old 04-05-2012, 11:27 AM
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I put little stock in professional reviews as well outside of looking at measurements, but even then you cannot put full faith in measurements.

For my last set of speakers I spent months researching and demoing the ones I was most interested in. Even then, you don't know how a speaker is really going to sound until it is in your room, so I highly recommend buying from a company that has a liberal return policy.
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post #7 of 80 Old 04-05-2012, 11:31 AM
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Ditto for consumer review! Read the reviews on Amazon.com and you will find that the overwhelming majority are positive without much critique...

Set up #1: EMP e5ti, e5Ci, and SLS Q line Audio surrounds, EMP 10i10i sub
Set up #2: Def Tech SM450, CLR2002, SLS Qline surrounds and Klipsch 12wD sub
Set up #3: JBL130, JBL120C and Klipsch synergy sub
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post #8 of 80 Old 04-05-2012, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elihawk View Post

Ditto for consumer review! Read the reviews on Amazon.com and you will find that the overwhelming majority are positive without much critique...

I'd be suspicious of those as well. Forums like this one are one of the few places where you'll hear anything negative (even though you'll be hammered for doing it) about any product.
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post #9 of 80 Old 04-05-2012, 11:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elihawk View Post

Ditto for consumer review! Read the reviews on Amazon.com and you will find that the overwhelming majority are positive without much critique...

+1

When the average person spends hundreds/thousands on a luxury item (speakers), they're going to be satisfied as long as the product isn't defective.
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post #10 of 80 Old 04-05-2012, 11:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Actually strike that. I found a negative review of a speaker somewhere. It was for the white van scam speakers.....I guess that's something.

I bring this up because I'm thinking of an upgrade. I like my mirage frx system (with the frx-5 fronts) but they are a bit ugly to look at. I was thinking of auditioning monitor audio silver book shelves (RX2), or psb image bookshelves along with some others (paradigm, nht, energy, klipsch (reference series, the synergy makes my ears hurt especially with horn instruments)...whatever the stores around me have setup for demo.

I'd like to see more speaker shootouts that way reviewers can go over the differences between each speaker rather than just review them individually. Then again, I'm sure company A would get pissed off if the reviewer preferred company B's speakers.

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post #11 of 80 Old 04-05-2012, 11:43 AM
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Agree 100%, this is also something I've noticed while searching for speakers over the last few months.

From the reviews I've read it is present in the professional reviews as well as the customer reviews. (Amazon is particularly bad.) People must be afraid to say something bad about a speaker for fear of an argument - I'll admit I've done it.

One thing I would also say is critical reviews are more helpful if they are objective. Many of the critical/negative reviews I've read fell just short of calling the product crap, but didn't provide much information or any technical insight into why they though the product was crap.
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post #12 of 80 Old 04-05-2012, 11:47 AM
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Here. I'll give you an honest review of some of the speakers I've owned if you like...both good and bad. I have run these systems (I've own a lot more speakers so if you want to know about a particular one just ask) on very good equipment. Marantz, McIntosh, Emotiva, Onkyo etc etc.

Axiom M60Ti's
good at low volumes...nice detail in the highs. Mids are a little muddy due to no crossover. Clean sounding and give a good sound stage. At higher volumes they become overly bright. Basic vinyl sticker finish. No bracing internally and can tend to sound a little hollow at times.

Thiel Cs1.6
Nice speakers...very detailed with controlled upper range even with a metal tweeter. No bass to speak of at all really though. Fit and finish are excellent..but without a sub I wouldn't consider them again.

Martin Logan Ascent i's
Amazing speakers. A little lacking in the bass department but then they are not really made for that. Sound so crisp and clean it'll make your hair stand on end. Very large speaker..so low WAF but if you can get away with it amazing. Price is very high for most electrostats though...and the panels can die after years of use.

Onix Rocket 760RS
Very nice speaker with amazing fit and finish. Real wood veneers are a rare thing in this price range. Sound is excellent (best I've found for the money over the years which is why I still own them) but highs tend to be a little soft. These are very good at loud volumes and great for HT...music is decent as 2 channel but not the best. Provide quite a bit of bass.

Aurum Cantus 3SE
Amazing little speakers. Period. Great detail, very little bass but they are a book shelf so what do you expect? The ribbon tweeter is one of the best I've heard, and their tweeters are used in much more expensive speakers. The cabinets fit/finish is one of the BEST I've ever see at any price point. I wish I'd never sold them!!!

I could go on with other Martin Logans, Def Tech, Paradigm, Infinity etc if you'd like. :-)
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post #13 of 80 Old 04-05-2012, 11:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wyen78 View Post

Actually strike that. I found a negative review of a speaker somewhere. It was for the white van scam speakers.....I guess that's something.

I bring this up because I'm thinking of an upgrade. I like my mirage frx system (with the frx-5 fronts) but they are a bit ugly to look at. I was thinking of auditioning monitor audio silver book shelves (RX2), or psb image bookshelves along with some others (paradigm, nht, energy, klipsch (reference series, the synergy makes my ears hurt especially with horn instruments)...whatever the stores around me have setup for demo.

I'd like to see more speaker shootouts that way reviewers can go over the differences between each speaker rather than just review them individually. Then again, I'm sure company A would get pissed off if the reviewer preferred company B's speakers.

Is this for 2 channel? or HT? If HT you would want to keep your center (if possible) from the same brand and model series. Not absolutely necessary, but timber matching really helps with the front sound stage.

If your passion is 2 channel music...i'd strong recommend you look at Aurum Cantus, Volent, Sonus Faber, Thiel, Martin Logan esl's etc.
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post #14 of 80 Old 04-05-2012, 11:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ack_bk View Post

I put little stock in professional reviews as well outside of looking at measurements, but even then you cannot put full faith in measurements.

Ive put more stock in the reviews from members on here (especially at GTG and what Below90hz and Madeel did) than I ever have into "professional" reviews. With all due respect to pro reviewers such as Josh Ricci and Gene from Audioholics, I still trust the "average joe" if you will.

But to the OP question, no, I have never seen one.
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post #15 of 80 Old 04-05-2012, 11:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay1 View Post

+1

When the average person spends hundreds/thousands on a luxury item (speakers), they're going to be satisfied as long as the product isn't defective.

I'm definitely not the average person then lol
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post #16 of 80 Old 04-05-2012, 11:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ratm View Post

Ive put more stock in the reviews from members on here (especially at GTG and what Below90hz and Madeel did) than I ever have into "professional" reviews. With all due respect to pro reviewers such as Josh Ricci and Gene from Audioholics, I still trust the "average joe" if you will.

But to the OP question, no, I have never seen one.

Good point on Josh. Hey is a standup guy. The nice things about Josh is that his measurements do most of the talking.
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post #17 of 80 Old 04-05-2012, 11:58 AM
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I also think that given the recent joke over at Bluray with Axiom and its VP150 center channel, the very second that someone gives a product a bad review, they are immediately labeled a troll or a hater (ironically by the fanboys of whatever is in question ).

To me, if something sucks, then TO ME, it sucks. No matter what a reviewer says. Like the Redsox. Man do I hate that team.
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post #18 of 80 Old 04-05-2012, 11:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ack_bk View Post

Good point on Josh. Hey is a standup guy. The nice things about Josh is that his measurements do most of the talking.

I know. I hate that I understand almost zero of the results of the work he puts into a review.
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post #19 of 80 Old 04-05-2012, 12:01 PM
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Quote:


I found that the xxxxxxxx didn't like having any surface or large object near or, especially, close behind it. The .... tweeter beamed quite a bit within 1-2' of the rear wall, though this was not a problem at listening distances of more than 5-6'. However, there was also a noticeable reflection of the rear radiation bounced from the upper surface of the main cabinet toward my ceiling, which is made of smooth, reinforced concrete. Ceiling treatment or, perhaps, a higher ceiling could fix this. I put a 1"-thick pad of soft, open-celled packing foam on the top of the main cabinet and the issue disappeared.

Quote:


....but this bass felicity was sacrificed when the xxxxxxxxxx was pushed to play much louder and/or more complex instrumentation. ................. I blame this on the cabinet and port. "Way Down Deep," from Jennifer Warnes' The Hunter (CD Private Music 01005-82089-2), did indeed go way down deep at moderate levels, with substantial air movement at the rear port and only moderate vibration from all surfaces of the main enclosure. If I turned up the volume to the point where it impressed my friends, the port volume increased a bit but the cabinet vibrations rose in alarming proportion, accompanied by a loss of that delightful bass definition. I didn't remove either mid/bass driver to see how the cabinet was made, but it doesn't matter. Whether a matter of materials or of assembly, no speaker enclosure should vibrate like this unless the design brief is to have the whole thing act as a sound source.

fwiw.

Kal Rubinson

"Music in the Round"
Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile
http://www.stereophile.com/category/music-round

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post #20 of 80 Old 04-05-2012, 12:03 PM
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Here's an honest review of the Paradigm Monitor 7 v3's I've owned for almost 7 years now. I know you probably don't care, but what the hell, Pure-Evil started it lol

Paradigm Monitor 7 V3: These speakers have given me years of movie and music enjoyment. The crisp detailed high's sound wonderful and low to medium volume levels, but can get a bit harsh when pushed, especially on recordings with many different high frequency sounds/instruments. The mid range is very impressive and clear at this price point, and to MY ears, is clearer sounding then the v5 and v6 series monitors. I have not heard the v7's so I can't make a comparison. The bass response is very impressive with proper placement. I noticed more of the bass when the speakers were new, but they don't seem to have the same extension/bass performance as they used to. I don't know if that's because I got used to it or just went deaf lol. They image quite well to, I had a few of my friends fooled as to were the vocals were coming from during some 2 channel music listening when they were in the main seat position. They always pointed to the center speaker. Once they were certain that's where it was coming from, I'd tell them to walk over to the center and put their ear near it. When they realized the center wasn't even playing, they'd turn to me and smile. Overall, they are a very nice speaker that image wonderfully, are very clear, and can play loudly fairly while staying clear, although not quite reference level. As the speakers start to get pushed past the point of where they are comfortable, they can get harsh.
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post #21 of 80 Old 04-05-2012, 12:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pure-Evil View Post

Is this for 2 channel? or HT? If HT you would want to keep your center (if possible) from the same brand and model series. Not absolutely necessary, but timber matching really helps with the front sound stage.

If your passion is 2 channel music...i'd strong recommend you look at Aurum Cantus, Volent, Sonus Faber, Thiel, Martin Logan esl's etc.

Mostly HT. When I bought this system...8-10 years ago, my thought was, music is more challenging than HT for a speaker so I'd get something suited for music and it should be fine for HT. After 10 years, I find I use my system a lot more for movies and gaming and only occasionally use it for music...probably 90% HT, TV, Gaming and 10% music.

Right now everything I have is from the mirage frx line, cause like you said, I wanted the sound to match. I'm willing to build a system slowly over time since I don't have a lot of money to spend all at once. Eventually I want to replace the mirage 8in sub with the HSU STF2.

I'm looking for a front pair to be around 1000-ish or less. Then I'd get the center, sub, surrounds as funds allow. I'm thinking of going to bookshelf type speakers since I'm going to have a sub anyways and I can get the next higher level bookshelf for around the same price as the lower tier floorstander (ie get monitor silver bookshelf over the monitor bronze floorstander).

I found that a lot of Boston Acoustics were too bright, also the Klipsch synergy made my ears hurt when listening to females singing high notes or with trumpets/horn instruments.

Feel free to go on with more, especially speakers more in my price range. Would love to get your thoughts on paradigm, kef, def tech etc. I'm looking at some of the KEFs they have at accessories4less.

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post #22 of 80 Old 04-05-2012, 12:14 PM
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If they don't have anything good to say, then they will just be polite and be neutral.

You have to read between the lines.

IOW, if they did not say "Best speaker" or "one of the best speakers" I've heard, then it is essentially a negative review.

If it's a > $20K speakers and it did not win "Speaker of the Year" or at least runner up, that is a slap in the face.

The fine print.
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post #23 of 80 Old 04-05-2012, 12:16 PM
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Stereophile gave a very negative review to some Polk speakers years ago. Polk was a heavy advertiser in Stereophile and everywhere else back then. Polk stopped advertising with Stereophile after that. I have seen a few negative reviews in stereophile, but for the most part the products they review have already been vetted a bit (through shows etc.) I remember in particular a pretty glowing review of a very expensive amp where the first sample given to Stereophile did not run to spec on the first test, then the second sample failed. I may not remember the specifics exactly but i'm pretty sure the amp was by Air Tight. I was a bit surprised that they would give a good review to something with such obvious quality control issues.

Here is the Polk stereophile review.

http://www.stereophile.com/floorloud...ker/index.html
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post #24 of 80 Old 04-05-2012, 12:36 PM
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Audioholics does do some what negative reviews, for example:

http://www.audioholics.com/reviews/s...y-classia-c336
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post #25 of 80 Old 04-05-2012, 12:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackdevil77 View Post

Here's an honest review of the Paradigm Monitor 7 v3's I've owned for almost 7 years now. I know you probably don't care, but what the hell, Pure-Evil started it lol

Paradigm Monitor 7 V3: These speakers have given me years of movie and music enjoyment. The crisp detailed high's sound wonderful and low to medium volume levels, but can get a bit harsh when pushed, especially on recordings with many different high frequency sounds/instruments. The mid range is very impressive and clear at this price point, and to MY ears, is clearer sounding then the v5 and v6 series monitors. I have not heard the v7's so I can't make a comparison. The bass response is very impressive with proper placement. I noticed more of the bass when the speakers were new, but they don't seem to have the same extension/bass performance as they used to. I don't know if that's because I got used to it or just went deaf lol. They image quite well to, I had a few of my friends fooled as to were the vocals were coming from during some 2 channel music listening when they were in the main seat position. They always pointed to the center speaker. Once they were certain that's where it was coming from, I'd tell them to walk over to the center and put their ear near it. When they realized the center wasn't even playing, they'd turn to me and smile. Overall, they are a very nice speaker that image wonderfully, are very clear, and can play loudly fairly while staying clear, although not quite reference level. As the speakers start to get pushed past the point of where they are comfortable, they can get harsh.

I do care . Thanks for that review. I am looking at the monitor 7's cause the hi-fi house by me has them. I haven't demoed them yet but I will.

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post #26 of 80 Old 04-05-2012, 01:50 PM
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That Stereophile review of the Polks is refreshing because as stated here it is rare to see a negative review.
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post #27 of 80 Old 04-05-2012, 02:07 PM
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Keep thinking and reading, you'll get it eventually.
Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzy_ View Post

Many old threads on this.

Short answer, they don't bother writing up speakers they don't like. What's the point, and how boring would that be? It's hard enough to find space to cover the stuff they do like.

BTW, lots of the Stereophile reviews of budget speakers compare them to other speakers. Just a hint, when they say one speaker is better than another one, it's a subtle way of saying the 'nother one is not as good.

You kind of have to read between the lines sometimes.
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post #28 of 80 Old 04-05-2012, 02:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wyen78 View Post

Mostly HT. When I bought this system...8-10 years ago, my thought was, music is more challenging than HT for a speaker so I'd get something suited for music and it should be fine for HT. After 10 years, I find I use my system a lot more for movies and gaming and only occasionally use it for music...probably 90% HT, TV, Gaming and 10% music.

Right now everything I have is from the mirage frx line, cause like you said, I wanted the sound to match. I'm willing to build a system slowly over time since I don't have a lot of money to spend all at once. Eventually I want to replace the mirage 8in sub with the HSU STF2.

I'm looking for a front pair to be around 1000-ish or less. Then I'd get the center, sub, surrounds as funds allow. I'm thinking of going to bookshelf type speakers since I'm going to have a sub anyways and I can get the next higher level bookshelf for around the same price as the lower tier floorstander (ie get monitor silver bookshelf over the monitor bronze floorstander).

I found that a lot of Boston Acoustics were too bright, also the Klipsch synergy made my ears hurt when listening to females singing high notes or with trumpets/horn instruments.

Feel free to go on with more, especially speakers more in my price range. Would love to get your thoughts on paradigm, kef, def tech etc. I'm looking at some of the KEFs they have at accessories4less.


Paradigms are quite good. Their Studio line (v3) is excellent and can be had at a good price used. The newer ones I find to be very very bright (Studio 60's at least) the Studio 100's are good. The monitor series are nice looking, well build, but again a bit brash in the highs.

Definitive Technology are nice speakers, well made but can have lots of bass. Their BP series are very good. I have not heard their other offerings.

I have not had any experience with Kef...sorry.

Are you stuck on bookshelves? or maybe floor standers?
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post #29 of 80 Old 04-05-2012, 02:12 PM
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I remember seeing a poor review of an Usher speaker a few years ago. I forget which publication.

Also, Kal posted a couple of not so flattering excerpts.

...and buzzy makes a good point

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post #30 of 80 Old 04-05-2012, 02:24 PM
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Having worked in both PR and Marketing in a past life (not in the HiFi industry) I can tell you that product reviews are closely linked with advertising budgets. It's very hard to bite the hand that feeds. In Australia, anything that is a blatant favorable review should be labelled 'advertisement' or paid advertisement or the like. I am a subscriber to Home Theatre Magazine and I have seen some reviews which did make mention of the deficiency of some product lines but always found a positive. This is probably the best you can hope for. Your best bets are peer networks like AVS and your own ears / eyes.

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