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What does a 65,000 speaker sound like?

post #1 of 124
Thread Starter 
I visited stereophile.com and there is a 2007 CES show report where most speakers displayed are 10,000+. A few sub 10k but not many. I would like to listen to a 65,000 speaker just to understand how far down the chain I am as far as sound quality. I currently own an HK645 and a pair or Infinity Primus 360's with a primus PC350 on the way. Sudenly im not so excited about it lol... I still love my new setup. I guess the big issue is clerity. Makes it sound like your there.
post #2 of 124
for 65,000 dollars i can get Aerosmith AND Bon Jovi to play in my backyard....hows that for making it sound like your right there...
post #3 of 124
But that is only ONE time. With the speaker you can buy a 20 dollar cd and have it whenever you want. Seems rediculous in my mind to pay more than $5000 for a 7.1 SET of speakers, that is just MHO though, so don't start the bashing!
post #4 of 124
A properly designed 65K speaker (and I hope most of them in that price range are properly designed) should be able to transport you in the performance. However the problem is that speakers in this price range normally need good electronics, room and recording to truly show their class.

Personally if I had 65K I would spend it building a system (including room treatments) instead of putting all or most of it in speakers alone.
post #5 of 124
Personally I would invest it...that is just my opinion though. I think I could do a LOT more with the interest over time than with 65k in 1 shot.
post #6 of 124
Invest it. Ha! Now don't go being all practical. What would a sheik do with all that money sprouting out of the ground if not for such luxuries?

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?

At least the price tag does get you a raised eyebrow among aficionados. That may be the real purpose here. Never tell anyone what the eclectic name of the brand and model are. At some price, that becomes neigh similar to the true name of God and you pay to not know it!
post #7 of 124
"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.
post #8 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by goatwuss View Post

"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.


I think the average listener, like me, will have an extremely hard time believing that.
post #9 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by zero the hero View Post

I think the average listener, like me, will have an extremely hard time believing that.

The way I see it that is exactly what he is trying to say. We are not audiophiles, and therefore probably would have a hard time believing what he said. However like he also said, I think we could tell a difference in the big jumps in price he is talking about. I don't think many of us could tell the difference between $1k and $2k speakers, however a jump from $1k to $5k I think we could tell that SOMETHING is different in the sounds. Maybe not exactly able to say exactly what it is, but know that its different in a way. Very feasible statements, just hard to understand how as a non audiophile.
post #10 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by DthDlr01 View Post

for 65,000 dollars i can get Aerosmith AND Bon Jovi to play in my backyard....hows that for making it sound like your right there...

And... they better put on a heck of a show too.

Seriously... $65k stereo system???? I consider myself someone with critical listening habits, but this makes about as much sense as a 25k toilet.
post #11 of 124
zero the hero - It has nothing to do with "belief," you can believe whatever you want to believe. What I am talking about, is realistic stereo reproduction of large scale classical music. Though this does apply to acoustic jazz, chamber music, and other acoustic music.

Do you attend live performances of Mahler symphonies, Beethoven symphonies, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov concertos, etc? If so - do you have something to say about properly reproducing them in stereo installations?
post #12 of 124
Quote:


I think the average listener, like me, will have an extremely hard time believing that.

It's not a matter of belief. It comes down to the perception of value. The difference between a 1K speaker and a 5K speaker may be obvious, but whether you care about that difference is entirely personal. If you listen to enough material that exposes those differences and you made a six-figure income, the 4K premium is nothing. If you are a college student who is responsible with money and rarely listen to large scale orchestral music as Goat described, then you'd see it as immaterial.

How much difference is heard is a combination of speaker design, the room, the electronics, the placement, the source, and listener experience.
post #13 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by goatwuss View Post

zero the hero - It has nothing to do with "belief," you can believe whatever you want to believe. What I am talking about, is realistic stereo reproduction of large scale classical music. Though this does apply to acoustic jazz, chamber music, and other acoustic music.

Do you attend live performances of Mahler symphonies, Beethoven symphonies, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov concertos, etc? If so - do you have something to say about properly reproducing them in stereo installations?

I can spend a $5.00 cover charge to go see a reasonably experienced jazz band in a bar - and clearly hear where my home speakers are not anywhere in the league of producing sound like I'm capable of hearing live.
post #14 of 124
Quote:


Is it really worth it to keep chasing what's essentially impossible - 100% accuracy?

It is if $65000 isn't that much money to you.
post #15 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by Goatwuss View Post


"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.

While I agree with Goatwuss general concepts, I think he's stretching the argument quite a bit.

Many speakers within the 5K-20K range are good enough to provide an amazingly real stereo experience for the average "audiophile" listener. Lets say we are covering here 95% of the "satisfaction level".

I've auditioned many good speakers that sound incredibly real and accurate that cost no more than 20K (Avalon Opus Ceramique, Dynaudio Contour 5.4 just to name a pair of them).

The last 5% is what some recalcitrant, ultra-orthodox audiophiles are trying to get when they spend more than 15K on a pair of speakers.

This is my personal opinion and experience
post #16 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by Soransis View Post

I don't think many of us could tell the difference between $1k and $2k speakers, however a jump from $1k to $5k I think we could tell that SOMETHING is different in the sounds. Maybe not exactly able to say exactly what it is, but know that its different in a way. Very feasible statements, just hard to understand how as a non audiophile.

Actually, I think that most people here are very capable of telling the difference between various $1K speakers, let alone between $1K and $2K speakers.

Also, going up in price opens up entirely new types of speaker types (like electrostatics) that just aren't available for $1K.

I do think it's odd, though, that people spend $65K on a pair of stereo speakers when the music being played on them was probably mixed/mastered on speakers costing no more than $15K--and probably substanitally less than that.
post #17 of 124
The $60K Pioneer TADs at CES were amazing. I heard incredible $9K speakers that sounded recessed after listening to the TADs.
post #18 of 124
$65K for a pair of speakers when the room they play in has as much influence as any other single factor on how they will sound......Many speakers, as many of you point out are over priced, but you have to be kidding me. That they are suppose to "transport" to the live experience is an insane expectation for any transducer that's going to "color" sound by it's own construction. The are meant to be true to the signal source, assuming your're playing them in an identical room that the source was generated. Otherwise, it's :you have too much time and money on your hands".
post #19 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by mconno View Post

$65K for a pair of speakers when the room they play in has as much influence as any other single factor on how they will sound......

If someone is buying $65 speakers you can bet they are addressing the room too.
post #20 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tex-amp View Post

If someone is buying $65 speakers you can bet they are addressing the room too.

Agreed. I was just about to state that. Someone with enough of a pocket book to throw down on $65k speakers definitely has enough to treat their listening room and get the electronics of their choice to power said speakers. If they do not, then they are idiots. So assume 65k speakers are going to be placed in a well treated room and driven by top of the line electronics...

Still I am an audiophile...but i do not care how much money i make, I will prolly never throw down that kind of cheese on a stereo setup...I dont even listen to orchestrated music anyway...so for me and my listening habits, 5-10k speakers would more then suffice for my needs.

It all comes down to people's ears, habits, and budget. Nuff said.
post #21 of 124
Quote:


I do think it's odd, though, that people spend $65K on a pair of stereo speakers when the music being played on them was probably mixed/mastered on speakers costing no more than $15K--and probably substanitally less than that.

I second that. How much are they changing the original source? THAT should be the Ultimate goal.
IMHO.
post #22 of 124
why get one for $65,000 when you can get 7 for $455,000 ( sales tax in NC would be $30,700+).
for some of us $50/speaker is too much, for others, they don't even look at less than $500/speaker. If I was a billionaire, I don't think I would flinch if I wanted it. As a middle class nobody, my HT budget is $5,500 for now. (down from $7,500 3 months ago)
post #23 of 124
If you spent $65,000 on your speakers, you might as well plan on some other high end componants as well, such as...
$15,000 CD transport
$35,000 D/A converter
$10,000 on power treatment/cables
$30,000 on preamp
$55,000 on power amplifier
$20,000 on speaker cables
$25,000 on turntable (if you want one)
$15,000 on acoustic treatments
$10,000 for someone to hook it up for you and show you how it all works

Having the best sound system ever engineered - Priceless.
post #24 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tex-amp View Post

If someone is buying $65 speakers you can bet they are addressing the room too.

You'd probably lose that bet on a fairly regular basis.

Look through the member systems on Audiogon sometime. You can see incredible gear setups that seem to have terrible speaker positioning and no obvious (or even inconspicuous) room treatments.

EDIT: By the same token, there are some very impressive rooms there too...
post #25 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by armystud0911 View Post

If you spent $65,000 on your speakers, you might as well plan on some other high end componants as well, such as...
$15,000 CD transport
$35,000 D/A converter
$10,000 on power treatment/cables
$30,000 on preamp
$55,000 on power amplifier
$20,000 on speaker cables
$25,000 on turntable (if you want one)
$15,000 on acoustic treatments
$10,000 for someone to hook it up for you and show you how it all works

Having the best sound system ever engineered - Priceless.

I think those are the MOST ridiculous things that 'audiophiles' spend their money on. Power treatment... as in a line-conditioner is pretty stupid. You would get much better performance by getting a gigantic transformer... if I was a ridiculously rich dude, I would do this.

Buy a Solid State Transformer with more power capabilities than my house. Amplifiers for each channel with buttloads of wattage so the speakers only eat up about 10% of amplifier. Each channel has its own circuit from the transformer. Each speaker is wired with the largest wire guage it could accept. Have my room designed by an acoustics engineer to be as close to perfect as the room can allow.

And the only seat in the room would have a cooling cup-holder.
post #26 of 124
Most of the best speakers I've heard have been in the $6000-$15000 range but I have heard a couple of near $50k speakers systems. One was a thx system consisting of 22 different speakers and one was a very large set of Infinity's. The thx system was great but was not very practical for a home and the Infinity's were so big that it would take a very huge room (like a ballroom) to use them. It does seem though that now a good set of speakers start at about $2k a pair. I just bought some speakers and went around and could not find anything under $1200 that I would even consider buying.
post #27 of 124
Isn't it ironic that most people who are really into music are musicians and pretty much 99.99% of musicians are broke and couldn't afford speakers for $650/pair let alone 65k.
post #28 of 124
Pretty close to the electronics connected to it.
post #29 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by crackyflipside View Post

I think those are the MOST ridiculous things that 'audiophiles' spend their money on. Power treatment... as in a line-conditioner is pretty stupid. You would get much better performance by getting a gigantic transformer... if I was a ridiculously rich dude, I would do this.

As a "bass addict" we know where most of your budget would be. I think that a $25,000 TURNTABLE is sillier by far than $20k to ensure your interconnects are up to par with the rest of the gear.

Quote:


Buy a Solid State Transformer with more power capabilities than my house. Amplifiers for each channel with buttloads of wattage so the speakers only eat up about 10% of amplifier. Each channel has its own circuit from the transformer. Each speaker is wired with the largest wire guage it could accept. Have my room designed by an acoustics engineer to be as close to perfect as the room can allow.

This sounds like a page from the car audio n00b manual.
post #30 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by mderka View Post

Isn't it ironic that most people who are really into music are musicians and pretty much 99.99% of musicians are broke and couldn't afford speakers for $650/pair let alone 65k.

The audio engineer at a college I went to told me something once that made the difference between musicians and audio people (engineers and audiophiles) crystal clear. He said he and a music professor were listening to a big band recording of somewhat questionable audio quality. He said he could barely concetrate on the music with all the distractions of noise, poor dynamics, and limited frquency response. The professor looked at him and, noticing the engineer's furrowed brow, says: "Oh, so you hear it too? Yeah, that 3rd trombone is really playing flat."
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