Originally Posted by Mr.SoftDome
Unless you live on the moon get out there and audition. Nobody can describe a sound to you as you may perceive differently as stated. I'll take a crappy audition over no audition any day.
I think the only time I would buy without hearing is if under $1k and that is pushing it. My first speakers years ago were an ID brand. Axiom. They were the most Gawd awful speakers to me ever. I was a newbie and tried to tell myself I just need to adjust. Everyone else loves them. Must be me.
Missed my return window ( and what a hassle). I would have a drink on the weekend and listen and it got worse not better.
Even alcohol couldn't fix this disaster.
A year later, auditioned many brands and fell in love with Dynaudio. It was a real toss for me as I liked Focal and Sonus Faber as well. It was fun to get out and listen. Axiom- give away at a yard sale. That's what you get sometimes for not auditioning. It may not be a perfect audition due to poor set-up or room but you should be able to get a feeling of the character of the speaker.
There have been some solid suggestions here for audition. Run with it.
I went through similar experience with Salk Song Towers, I wouldn't say they are "Gawd awful", but instead of listening to what I like I had to start listening to what sounds good on my speakers. I still think they are awesome at some stuff and might make some1 very happy, but after 4 month trying to convince myself that they are worth keeping I gave up and switched to KEF. Some people tried to "help" my with STs by saying the problem is in either my recordings, AVR or the room.
O yeah, be careful with "30 days trials", you might have to pay for both ways shipping with will make free=$400 and it may only cover standard versions of the product. The real free I know of are Aperion and NHT, and I think bookshelfs only from EMP.
For the price/value argument I think at the lower end of price point (which covers my $2K/pair budget) the big companies would almost always win. You will pay for middle man, marketing overhead and all that. With ID companies keep in mind that they buy their parts from Parts Express or some1 like that who in turn gets those from manufacturers. For cabinets making those individually in US is way more expensive than factory made boxes at big companies. So while you are saving by eliminating the middle man and all other overhead big companies have the cost of ID companies parts & labor may run the price up more than the "middle man". Exception maybe the Philharmonics because those use china made cabinets and Denis is selling them really close to his cost. I was trying to do math on the speakers in my price range, ID vs big guys, so KEF R500 ($1900 street price) and Song Towers $2000 price. STs use $70/piece drivers (MSRP on Madisound) from that $70 Madisound gets a cut and SEAS gets a cut, so whats the true value of that driver? Now if KEF would offer their drivers through Madisound my guess is that R series drivers would run WAY more than $70.
Another example KEF Q100 is $375/pair, big company, so should be bad value. There is an ID company that uses drivers from Q100s in their bookshelf speakers, add 8" woofer, plate AMP and sell for $1300 i think. Everybody hails that $1300 as a great value.
Than there is a question of the R&D available for big companies vs what ID companies have.
So the whole "ID offers more for your money" is arguable as a least. I think it's fueled by one audio enthusiast support for another. Of course I would want to believe that a fellow audiophile in his garage can make a better speaker than a faceless corporation, but if it was true we wouldn't have a problem with big corporations running small companies out of business.
Now it might be different with $10K budget, I dunno.
So I'd say ID is an interesting option and with their customers being their fans as well customers will be willing to open their home for an audition. But I would definitely not buy anything just because people on this forum says it's a best option in your price range.
There is just no way around auditioning for yourself. Or actually after a month in your home you will know for sure if you love the speakers or not.Edited by yveletnik - 6/9/12 at 9:47pm