I'm trying to put together my first quality system (music only), and have noticed two approaches that have been taken towards putting together good sounding speakers. One seems to be, more or less... let the speakers naturally recreate what's there, and if the source is good, it'll sound good through an accurate representation. The other philosophy seems to be to engineer a speaker that takes the music and tweaks it in all the necessary ways so that it sounds the way people like music to sound. The two speakers I've heard that best exemplify these attributes are the Vandersteen 1C for the former, and the JMLab Chorus 826 V for the latter. It's hard to describe this all, but I'd say that in general, the vandy's seemed more laid back. A good and noticeable soundstage, but not over the top. Good clarity, and realistic portrayal of the instruments. The guitar sounded like there was a guitar amp somewhere in the same room as me. The 826's were much more in your face. Vocals smack in the middle... kickass bass, every instrument nice, crisp, and punchy. It's like they took all those parameters and tweaked them to perfection.
Is it accurate to say that speaker companies do have these 2 philosophies in their designs? Have I picked good examples? What do you feel are the pros and cons of each approach? What about price? How much do you think one has to spend to get a great pair of speakers employing the first philosophy, vs. the second?
I'm having the damnedest time with deciding between the two. On the one hand, I tend to be more impressed with the in your face approach. I listen to some pretty in your face music most of the time and I feel like it makes it easy to enjoy that. On the other hand, sometimes I can tell it's unnatural. I worry that if it makes a so-so recording sound great, it might make an excellent recording sound less good, by devastating the source material. I also wonder if it's something they incorporate so the speakers sound good at the store, but after time one tires of how over the top it is. I get the impression that the more laid back speakers aren't going to be as impressive most of the time, but that they will shine on good live recordings... stuff with more natural production. I'm pretty undecided and wish I could afford to have both. Yeah, I get a kick out of the tweaking they've done, but I want to be able to appreciate music's subtleties... I don't want anything masked. However, tameness bothers me. Am I making a fair assessment of the situation? WHat else should I be weighing in order to make my choice?
I'm sure over time you've faced the same kind of choice. What have you chosen? Why?