Originally Posted by goatwuss
"After 5-10K, I figure you're chasing the last 1% of true neutrality. At 1K, you can get 95% of that, maybe more. Is it really worth it to keep chasing what's essentially impossible - 100% accuracy?"
avr5700 - I'm not trying to pick on you - this is a common misconception among audio-novices, and is completely and utterly not true.
The breakdown as far as I see it - with the goal of reproducing orchestral music as well as possible given the limitations of today's technology
for about $1k, if you do your homework, you can get a pair of speakers that gets the midrange mostly right. OK tone, no major frequency issues... You're never going to get tight-defined bass down to even 35hz for $1k. For playing pop music, this can fine for people who are not too picky. But - there is no $1k speaker on the market that can do orchestral music with severe severe consequences. No real dynamic range, no real tone of acoustic instruments. You are 20% there
For $5k to $10k you can get to about 80% there on the first "audiophile" level. There are some speakers in this range that can extend to 30hz pretty well (extremely important for orchestral realism) and these will be much better in the midrange than the $1k speakers - but still not there for the most part. Every $5 to $10k speaker has a major, limitied comprimise, just depending what it is. B&W 800 series for example - spotty midrange and disjointed highs,
Magnepan 3.6 - diffuse imaging, lack of dynamic range
martin logan - poor bass driver integration, irregular shaped (too big) images
Then the $30k - $100k speakers probably get you around another 15% there (up to 95%) with designs such as the Wilson MAXX (finally now have the dynamic range for thunderous timpani and attack of huge string sections to sound real), Avantgarde trio, sound labs ultimate, etc. This 15% is VERY important, and easily as important as the $1k speaker -> $5k speaker difference. Now we are finally starting to sound like real, live orchestral music - and not a box with some vibrating drivers.
To get the last 5% - the only way is custom built horns - and I really doubt there are more than 10-20 of these installations in the US, if even that. Again, this last 5% is of utmost importance, and anyone, audiophile or not, will instantly know when it is there because the music will finally now be able to convey true tone, attack and dynamic of a Steinway grand, will be able to communicate the message of the conductor with the performance, and will be able to make the listener truly "get it." Each good acoustic musician opens a window into themselves with their music - and it takes the best stereos to be able to see through this window - as opposed to just hearing sounds coming out of drivers that resembles music.
So - Just be aware that there is a whole world of possibility out there and this is the reason why people go "all out" with these installations and in search of audio nirvana. This is not about some trivial and elusive "chasing the last 1%," it is about being able to receive the musical and emotional messages of acoustic instruments - and there are 0 $1000 speakers that can even scratch this surface.