What are the best speaker brands for folk/classical music? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 44 Old 06-02-2020, 12:04 PM - Thread Starter
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What are the best speaker brands for folk/classical music?

I’ve tried Focal Aria 906, NHT C3, Dynaudio Emit M20. The only speakers I liked from these three were the Focal's but they don’t really sound great for folk/classical music. They sound good for some folk/classical albums but most of them were kinda muddled and didn't have that musical sound that some speakers have that sound best for this type of music. I'm looking to spend under $1200.


Also wondering since Amazon has a great return policy but a low selection so I was curious if you guys know of any these fit my description Martin Logan 35XTi, SVS Ultra, KEF LS50, QAcoustic, Monitor Audio, Elac, Dali, Klipsch.
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post #2 of 44 Old 06-02-2020, 12:28 PM
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I was a classical music recording engineer for 34 years. I retired from that line of work, but have used Revel loudspeakers for several years and appreciate the neutral on and off axis response, build quality and the fact they sound good with all styles of music and work well for movies too.

https://www.revelspeakers.com/

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-sp...nce-shows.html

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Watch the video presentation by Dr. Floyd Toole in this link:

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post #3 of 44 Old 06-02-2020, 12:31 PM
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Can you be more specific about the "musical sound" you are trying to achieve? What does that mean (to you)? Are you going to be critical listening in one seat or background listening? 2.0 set-up? If so, what are your bass extension requirements? How will the speakers be placed in the room? near walls? What are you using to drive the speakers?

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post #4 of 44 Old 06-02-2020, 12:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Can you be more specific about the "musical sound" you are trying to achieve? What does that mean (to you)? Are you going to be critical listening in one seat or background listening? 2.0 set-up? If so, what are your bass extension requirements? How will the speakers be placed in the room? near walls? What are you using to drive the speakers?
I don't really know how to explain it without just saying musical over and over. It's like how a speaker can sound incredibly clear but still be missing something in the sound of the instruments that make it so it's not enjoyable to listen to. If it means anything my old speakers were Axiom M3's which had that musical quality.
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post #5 of 44 Old 06-02-2020, 12:49 PM
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I find the AMT on the higher end Elac's are great for classical. The detail is amazing. I'd suggest the Vela line (400 series).. The Carina line is good too (and cheaper) but a slightly different sound vs the Vela.
(Elac Carina is sold on amazon too.)

also don't ignore the rest of the system too. Clearly the source and speakers are the biggest impact.. but so are, dacs, pre-amp, amp, etc...

what are you feeding these new speakers? Are you upgrading that too?


I just finished my classical setup a month ago and have been very happy with it. (the hero being the Elac 403.2).. but this was the rest of my stack: Qobuz -> PC -> Schiit yggdrasil+ (Dac)/XLR -> Schiit Freya+ (tubes)(pre)/XLR -> Schiit Vidar x2 monoblock (amp)

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post #6 of 44 Old 06-02-2020, 12:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carlcarl9 View Post
I don't really know how to explain it without just saying musical over and over. It's like how a speaker can sound incredibly clear but still be missing something in the sound of the instruments that make it so it's not enjoyable to listen to. If it means anything my old speakers were Axiom M3's which had that musical quality.
Perhaps these will float your boat?

https://www.whathifi.com/reviews/dali-oberon-5

Just out of curiosity, why not another Axiom?

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post #7 of 44 Old 06-02-2020, 12:55 PM - Thread Starter
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I thought about but I read some reviews of the only other one in my price range and they were saying it wasn't much of an upgrade compared to my version.
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post #8 of 44 Old 06-02-2020, 01:08 PM
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The most musical speakers I know are from Vandersteen and Magnepan. These speakers need plenty of room around them (large room, placed well out into it), and a seating position that is fixed. They also have specific requirements for amplification. Totem speakers are also known to be musical. The new Skylight has been well received and is within your budget, if you don't have a large room. https://www.soundstagehifi.com/index...x9hpndBuZ1hmkE

Why do you want to change your current speakers if you like them so much? What made you come here to look for something else?

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post #9 of 44 Old 06-02-2020, 01:23 PM - Thread Starter
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I've never used a floorstander before the Dali's look good and they are on Amazon so I'm gonna pick up a pair. I don't really know how this works but would 140w from my receiver be enough to power them?

>Why do you want to change your current speakers if you like them so much? What made you come here to look for something else?
They don't have the best clarity.
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post #10 of 44 Old 06-02-2020, 01:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by RayGuy View Post
The most musical speakers I know are from Vandersteen and Magnepan. These speakers need plenty of room around them (large room, placed well out into it), and a seating position that is fixed. They also have specific requirements for amplification. Totem speakers are also known to be musical. The new Skylight has been well received and is within your budget, if you don't have a large room. https://www.soundstagehifi.com/index...x9hpndBuZ1hmkE

Why do you want to change your current speakers if you like them so much? What made you come here to look for something else?
If I had to choose between the Dali and the Totems which would you suggest personally?
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post #11 of 44 Old 06-02-2020, 01:44 PM
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I would suggest something with a RAAL tweeter - the Ascend Sierra Luna falls within the target price range, but you will need a sub.

in fact you don't mention that you have a sub in play now. that may be the missing link if you aren't currently using one.

I would also suggest ( as previously mentioned) the magnepan LRS

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post #12 of 44 Old 06-02-2020, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by carlcarl9 View Post
If I had to choose between the Dali and the Totems which would you suggest personally?
I've been a fan of Totem for many years. That said, the Dali would probably more closely resemble the sound character of the Axiom. I can only recommend speakers that I think would meet your requirements, but I can't remotely know which you would like better. Only you can make that determination. If finances allow, order both and return the one you like least. If that is not an option, then you will have to google all you can about both speakers and make your decision based on how the descriptions of their sound signatures appeals to you.

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post #13 of 44 Old 06-02-2020, 02:14 PM
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Dr. Floyd Toole's extensive and lifelong research shows that most people prefer loudspeakers that measure flat on and off axis. Not many companies have the engineering design staff that research and develop products or facilities to measure and do double blind listening tests like Harman does. All Revel and many JBL Professional and JBL Synthesis speakers are based on Dr. Toole's research. They do not color the sound of the recording.

https://routledgetextbooks.com/textbooks/9781138921368/

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post #14 of 44 Old 06-02-2020, 02:20 PM - Thread Starter
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I've been a fan of Totem for many years. That said, the Dali would probably more closely resemble the sound character of the Axiom. I can only recommend speakers that I think would meet your requirements, but I can't remotely know which you would like better. Only you can make that determination. If finances allow, order both and return the one you like least. If that is not an option, then you will have to google all you can about both speakers and make your decision based on how the descriptions of their sound signatures appeals to you.
Thanks for the help
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post #15 of 44 Old 06-02-2020, 02:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Dr. Floyd Toole's extensive and lifelong research shows that most people prefer loudspeakers that measure flat on and off axis. Not many companies have the engineering design staff that research and develop products or facilities to measure and do double blind listening tests like Harman does. All Revel and many JBL Professional and JBL Synthesis speakers are based on Dr. Toole's research. They do not color the sound of the recording.



https://routledgetextbooks.com/textbooks/9781138921368/
I have a dealer near me so I'll go and test out the Revels.
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post #16 of 44 Old 06-02-2020, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by carlcarl9 View Post
I’ve tried Focal Aria 906, NHT C3, Dynaudio Emit M20. The only speakers I liked from these three were the Focal's but they don’t really sound great for folk/classical music. They sound good for some folk/classical albums but most of them were kinda muddled and didn't have that musical sound that some speakers have that sound best for this type of music. I'm looking to spend under $1200.


Also wondering since Amazon has a great return policy but a low selection so I was curious if you guys know of any these fit my description Martin Logan 35XTi, SVS Ultra, KEF LS50, QAcoustic, Monitor Audio, Elac, Dali, Klipsch.
I tested my Martin Logan Lx16 vs the Q Acoustic Concept 20s and like both very much.

But for Classical the Martin Logan's AMT was better, as it was for acoustic and vocal music.

$800/pair for these with $10/box returns withing 60 days if not happy.

Also available in black but this finish is gorgeous in person; photos don't do it justice.

https://www.crutchfield.com/S-gB6JLw...RoC-AIQAvD_BwE

Measurements.

https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/in...nts&Itemid=153

Review:

https://www.soundstageaccess.com/ind...t-loudspeakers

Geoff A. J., California
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post #17 of 44 Old 06-02-2020, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by carlcarl9 View Post
I’ve tried Focal Aria 906, NHT C3, Dynaudio Emit M20. The only speakers I liked from these three were the Focal's but they don’t really sound great for folk/classical music. They sound good for some folk/classical albums but most of them were kinda muddled and didn't have that musical sound that some speakers have that sound best for this type of music. I'm looking to spend under $1200.


Also wondering since Amazon has a great return policy but a low selection so I was curious if you guys know of any these fit my description Martin Logan 35XTi, SVS Ultra, KEF LS50, QAcoustic, Monitor Audio, Elac, Dali, Klipsch.
I listen to classical, folk, and jazz most of the time. And I spent my first 10 years in this hobby chasing the "neutral, uncolored sound" chimera, lol. At some point I was finally able to home demo a "warm" speaker and that was that...I realized that all the impeccable measurements in the world add up to a hill of beans if simple, non-analytical ENJOYMENT just wasn't there.

However, everybody's ears and tastes are different.

I'd recommend using Crutchfield.com's wonderful flat rate return shipping policy ($10 for bookshelves, $75 for towers) to test out 2-3 pairs of very different speakers at home, on YOUR gear, playing YOUR music, subject to YOUR individual room acoustics.

Some possible contrasts to sample:
  • Revel M106 for the "neutral/uncolored" favorite of Dr. Toole fans everywhere
  • Wharfedale Evo 4.1 or 4.2 for "warm yet clear/detailed"
  • Klipsch RP-600M for the "forward, dynamic and sparkly"

Also, SVS Ultra bookshelves & RSL CG25 are both available with free return shipping directly from the manufacturers' websites. So are the JBL Studio 530s, currently on sale for a gob-smacking $300/pair --- they have been getting a lot of raves recently on this forum, but their aesthetics are polarizing.

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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I listen to classical, folk, and jazz most of the time. And I spent my first 10 years in this hobby chasing the "neutral, uncolored sound" chimera, lol. At some point I was finally able to home demo a "warm" speaker and that was that...I realized that all the impeccable measurements in the world add up to a hill of beans if simple, non-analytical ENJOYMENT just wasn't there.

However, everybody's ears and tastes are different.

I'd recommend using Crutchfield.com's wonderful flat rate return shipping policy ($10 for bookshelves, $75 for towers) to test out 2-3 pairs of very different speakers at home, on YOUR gear, playing YOUR music, subject to YOUR individual room acoustics.

Some possible contrasts to sample:
  • Revel M106 for the "neutral/uncolored" favorite of Dr. Toole fans everywhere
  • Wharfedale Evo 4.1 or 4.2 for "warm yet clear/detailed"
  • Klipsch RP-600M for the "forward, dynamic and sparkly"

Also, SVS Ultra bookshelves & RSL CG25 are both available with free return shipping directly from the manufacturers' websites. So are the JBL Studio 530s, currently on sale for a gob-smacking $300/pair --- they have been getting a lot of raves recently on this forum, but their aesthetics are polarizing.
I'll check them out. Have you heard the Dali Oberon 5? If so what did you think
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post #19 of 44 Old 06-02-2020, 03:38 PM
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I'll check them out. Have you heard the Dali Oberon 5? If so what did you think
Alas, no. Dali speakers are high on my list of speakers to hear at some point.

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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Alas, no. Dali speakers are high on my list of speakers to hear at some point.
Does the feeling of constant worrying that there is something perfect for your ears and wallet that you don't know about or haven't tried go away?
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post #21 of 44 Old 06-02-2020, 03:55 PM
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Does the feeling of constant worrying that there is something perfect for your ears and wallet that you don't know about or haven't tried go away?
No. No, sir, it does not.

Please take a look at some of the bookshelf speaker shootouts on the forum, including the one I did a while back. For folk/classical I'd lean toward the Wharfdale Evo 4.1 They are nice and warm, perhaps to a fault, however with acoustic music I found them to be enticing. The JBL 530 won my shootout and for good reason. I found they did exactly what I wanted a speaker to do for all of the music I threw at it however I am heavy on the rock side of the spectrum. As @Zorba922 suggested, the aesthetics are a hate it or love it situation. JBL has an in-home trial.

Seriously consider either the Wharfdale Evo 4.1 or the Ascend Sierra 1 (or 2 for an upgrade). You can get the Wharfdales from Crutchfield and there is only a $10 return shipping fee. Well worth the in home trial. They are gorgeous speakers. The Ascend speakers you have to pay for return shipping.
For your tastes as you describe them I think you would prefer the Wharfdales.
Keep in mind that what you hear at a store is going to be quite different from what you will hear at home. In-home trials in your space with your equipment and with your music are the only way you can be sure you are getting the speaker that is "best" for you.
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post #22 of 44 Old 06-02-2020, 03:58 PM
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For this type of music my vote is for Magnepan
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Originally Posted by Rex Anderson View Post
Dr. Floyd Toole's extensive and lifelong research shows that most people prefer loudspeakers that measure flat on and off axis. Not many companies have the engineering design staff that research and develop products or facilities to measure and do double blind listening tests like Harman does. All Revel and many JBL Professional and JBL Synthesis speakers are based on Dr. Toole's research. They do not color the sound of the recording.



https://routledgetextbooks.com/textbooks/9781138921368/
So says the Revel dealer.
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Does the feeling of constant worrying that there is something perfect for your ears and wallet that you don't know about or haven't tried go away?
Nope. It will always be a nagging, festering spot in the back of your brain.
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post #25 of 44 Old 06-02-2020, 06:56 PM
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So says the Revel dealer.
What say you? Do you disagree with Dr.Toole's research? Have you read his book? I have been reading Dr. Toole's work since he first started writing papers for the Audio Engineering Society Journal and presenting them at AES Conventions in the 1980's. Have you been to Harman, met and spoken with the engineers and seen the facilities? I have. I base my recommendations on my knowledge and experience as an audio professional. I bought Revel speakers based on my own research long before I started working for a company that sells them. I was invited to work for The Screening Room because of my posts on the forum about Revel speakers and Dr. Toole's research.

Do you have anything to add to this thread to help the OP choose loudspeakers? What do you use and what do you recommend?

Last edited by Rex Anderson; 06-02-2020 at 10:25 PM.
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post #26 of 44 Old 06-02-2020, 07:13 PM
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Does the feeling of constant worrying that there is something perfect for your ears and wallet that you don't know about or haven't tried go away?
Naw, it's not "worrying" --- just simple "what if" curiosity.

And after a while, if you're lucky, you realize that the prize is not "perfect" but rather, "even more enjoyable for ME."
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~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #27 of 44 Old 06-02-2020, 07:27 PM
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I would suggest something with a RAAL tweeter - the Ascend Sierra Luna ...
I'd echo this. I'm a newbie, but the Lunas and RAAL ribbons are very detailed to my ears. Plus those sweet bamboo cabinets! Haha. You can message Dave Fabrikant over at Ascend and he'll help you. Great people over there. Take with a grain of salt as I like Ascend quite a bit, and have their products. Dave is also the primary reason I went with with Rythmik for subs.
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post #28 of 44 Old 06-03-2020, 08:40 AM
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So says the Revel dealer.
There are quite a few "I only recommend brand x" posters on AVS as if one company has all the answers for all listeners.

Revel makes excellent products, and usually brand x is worth considering, but it's the "this is the only answer consider no others" stance that is a bit odd.

The only answer is to get candidates into your house after doing some research, and returning the losers.
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post #29 of 44 Old 06-03-2020, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Rex Anderson View Post
Do you have anything to add to this thread to help the OP choose loudspeakers? What do you use and what do you recommend?
I recommend that you disclose that you are a Harman dealer whenever you suggest them. That way, people will know your obvious bias.
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post #30 of 44 Old 06-03-2020, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by carlcarl9 View Post
Does the feeling of constant worrying that there is something perfect for your ears and wallet that you don't know about or haven't tried go away?

Nope. It only happens if you take the time to stop looking at the temptations (run away from this board) and only spend time enjoying what you have.
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Front: Polk S55
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