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After listening to some Boston Acoustics VR-M Surround Speakers, I've been thinking about upgrading all my speakers. I know, I know, got the "audio bug" like everyone else here :D ) I have an inexpensive $300 6.1 Home Theater System so I could initially enjoy optical DD/DTS DVDs before shelling out some serious money for a good system.


I'd be gratefull if I could have some feedback:


- How much better do speakers sound as I move up the price range. i.e. Are $3200 twice as good as $1600 speakers? What's the difference between $800 and $400 speakers?

- What specifically should I listen for as I audition speakers out?

- I like listening to Movies, Jazz, Pop, and some classical. What should I be looking for in speakers? ("Bright" in the highs? Deep Bass? etc?)

- How important is having a very dynamic range? i.e. 60 Hz up to 18 Khz, vs 30Hz-20KHz

- What do people suggest for good web sites that have in-depth reviews, and explain how to become a better informed audiophile?

- Lastly, my upgrade won't happen for another year or two (to give me lots of time to digest the info, and prioritize features.) Any new technology that I should be looking forward to ?


Sorry for the "20 questions", but I'm an audio newbie, and thought I'd start somewhere. ;)
 

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Start by hitting the road and listening. Figure for yourself if there is a difference between $400-$800 or the others. Ask a person who drinks wine from a box and they will tell you they don't care about the difference between their $4 box and a $500 bottle. Same thing with you. You might think that you don't see the difference between a $400 speaker and a $3200 (hope for this one, it makes things much easier ;) ).


So best thing you can do is go out and listen and then come back to the vast information highway and do some research on what you liked. :)
 

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There is a point of diminishing returns that starts to kick in at more than $1800 a pair of speakers or about $4500.00 for surround sound.


I don't think a $9K system sounds that much better than a $4500 system when you factor in the costs to get from the first point (4500) to the second (9G's)


My speaker system is about $7500 MSRP and I have heard speakers that costs twice as much and were not even as good. I have also heard some that are better... but for five times the costs.


For Performance for the $$$ stick with somthing Like Boston Acoustics, Definitive Tech, Polk Audio, ect... There are economies of scale that come into play with the bigger speaker companies....


For instance.... Polk Audio LSi speakers are not embarrased in back to back testing against most $30,000.00 speaker systems and actually contain alot of the same parts (tweeter and electronics) as speaker four or five times the cost of the Polks. You get alot more performance than your paying for with these economies of scale compared some of the lesser known and obsure brands where you pay more for less.
 

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And there is not really any new technology comming out in speakers....


New models and lines with the same ol' same ol'


I would audition a few different things. Might try a few DVD's... or DVD-Audio or SACD... and a few good CD's


I usually reccomend you listen to a favorite song you have heard many time before so you can compare.


Also... buying from a retailer that has a trade-up or upgrade policy where you get the full amount you spent towards a higher set within 12 months of the initial purchase date is a nice plus if you think you might upgrade... it's better than starting over for sure.


That's how I got my system.... I started with a set of Polk audio Bookshelfs for about $120 that turned into $3000 towers over the years... but it's nice to know that my initial $120 is still in there somwheres...
 

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I've always believed in spending as much as you can on your speakers. Take what's left for electronics. This assumes you will upgrade the elctronics before speakers in the future. I used my last set of speakers with 3 receivers. I am just upgrading my speakers with the fairly new 3rd receiver. I started out with a set of $1500 5.1 paradigm mkse3 series speakers. I am now upgrading to their studio line for over twice that amount. I knew then there was a difference I "needed" between the $800 set and the $1500 set. I didn't care to double the amount again to get the studio line at that time. I couldn't justify that extra $2k. Now that I have a bit more refined tastes, and a bit better budget, I've choosen to move up.


I suspect you (as I did) will be able to easily hear the differences going from $400>>>$800>>>$1600. You may still hear a difference in more expensive speakers, but I suspect it won't be as dramatic. Once you hit the $1500-$2000 range, you can get some impressively capable speaker systems. Those may well please you for years. If you have the budget and the appreciation for something finer, $3-4k will put you in a set of speakers that all but the most demanding purist would be pleased with. Don't count on being able to rate them as twice as good. There is a good bit of difference between my older ones and what new ones I have gotten in so far. It's all a matter of importance and affordability. Nothing sounds great if you're constantly upset over how much money you spent.


You have many options in all price ranges, so I would recommend deciding what your budget truely is in regards to your priorities outside HT. There are significant reasons to get to the ~$1600 price range, so I would urge you to consider that as a great "plateau" to reach. Once there (IMO), there is less of a "reward" as there was from going from $800 to $1600. That isn't to say it's not worth it to some (I'm doing it). $1500 speakers should get you very nice, accurate, powerful speakers capable of reproducing sound well enough that you dislike going to most theaters. That did it for me even in Prologic. Going up to the $3-4k range has made my room sound much larger, like a theater.


I agree with the poster above with the wine analogy. Wine isn't my bag of tricks. I am just as happy with a $15-20 bottle of wine as with a $200 bottle. My wife would be happy with the system you have now. My father wouldn't want to deal with turning it all on. He thinks the TV speakers are fine.


Now to the other questions:


First listen to a few different brands to get a feel on what you like in a speaker. Listen to some of the more expensive speakers and some of the less expensive speakers. Go to an audio store, not circuit city or Best Buy. Audio stores typically have more helpful salesmen. Remember this when you purchase so you can do business with the company who has the speakers and the salesperson you like.


If you like to listen to music more than HT, look for speakers geared more for music. For instance, my older Sub (Paradigm ps-1000) has a great rumble, but it isn't very tight and accurate. For HT, it's great to bring out the bangs. In music, I can tell there isn't as much detail there. If you listen to alot of music with quick bass, a "slower", "muddier" sub wouldn't be as good as a tighter, quicker sub even if you have to sacrifice a few dbs.


Dynamic range is very important. 30hz-20khz is a good range for a $1500 system, but don't be looking at the numbers for answers to what is best. Your ears are far from perfect, but they are what you have to impress. Trust you ears, but listen to many, many speakers to educate yourself on what you enjoy.


Right here is a great source of information. Do a search and you will quickly find information on most topics. Many will have links to reviews or even scientific findings.


Great, you have ample time to educate yourself to be a more informed purchaser. Speaker technology may change as far as materials used. There are also improvements on crossovers and cabinet bracing. With that said, a great sounding, well built speaker today should last you years. If you treat them well, you should be able to sell them/give them away to someone who could then enjoy them for even longer. Receivers and formats change much more than speakers, so count on listening to what ever speakers you get for a while. That's why I suggest get the best you can afford/appreciate when you do get them.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Mfusick
There are economies of scale that come into play with the bigger speaker companies....
This is not necessarily true... many of the larger speaker companies are able to take much more profit because of reduced manufacturing costs and don't necessarily make the speakers cheaper. Larger companies sometimes will get the most $$$ for their product that they are able to charge no matter what the manufacturing cost (Bose is a great example... the cost to manufacture some of their products costs about as much as a meal at McDonalds for a family of four). Of course there is R&D but in many cases this cost is made up relatively quickly.
 

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Quote:
There is a point of diminishing returns that starts to kick in at more than $1800 a pair of speakers or about $4500.00 for surround sound.
Well, to make the situation even more complicated, a point of diminishing returns kicks in at different price points from person to person. It starts to kick in at about $1800/pair for Mfusick, but perhaps for you or me it may kick in at a lower or higher price point.


That said, a point of diminishing return surely exists for everybody, and finding out that price point is, in my opinion, a fairly important step for a successful and satisfying speaker shopping. You might have to compromise well below that price point for the time being, but knowing where you are is still quite important.


As others have said, the only way to do it is to listen, listen, and listen... :D



[edit] Oh, btw, "30Hz-20KHz" is not dynamic range, but the range of frequency response. Dynamic range denotes the speaker's ability to handle very loud or very soft sound without distortion or loss of resolution (and it is rarely spec'ed). At any rate, do NOT worry about those speaker specs; they are all nearly meaningless when comparing the speakers from different brands, because the conditions and qualifications for these specs differ markedly from brand to brand. Unfortunately, when it comes to speakers, the only reliable tool is your own ears. If you like it, it is a good sound for you... and your "taste" may change over time, too!


As for the online reviews, here are a couple of great places to start, with many reviews complete with anechoic measurements at the NRC facilities:

http://www.audiovideoreviews.com/speakers.shtml
http://www.audiovideoreviews.com/speakers2.shtml


Have fun! :D
 

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There is also the "perceived quality" factor. Without a doubt, there are manufacturers out there who purposely place a higher retail price on a product that is only marginally better than a lower-end model just to make their product line look better and pad their profit margins. You don't always get what you pay for.


The diminishing returns thing is true, and as stated above, is different for everyone. The best thing to do is listen to what you currently have and get familiar with it, then go out there and listen to other stuff, and then go home and listen so more.
 

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Certainly, all else being equal (as in you aren't buying junk at a high price), there is not a 2x increase in quality for a 2x increase in price.


It is therefore, almost certainly true that diminishing returns set in almost immediately. But how quickly those returns diminish and what is important to you is the personal "speaker curve."


I can't imagine spending more than a few thousand dollars total on speakers, regardless of current size of bank account. There are speakers that are simply fabulous that can be bought for an average of $600-800 apiece in a 5-channel configuration. But that's just me.


As everyone says, you have to shop and then set a budget that makes you comfortable. You can buy a tiny system like an Energy Take 5 with a small Energy sub and be delighted and happy or you can blow $5K on an NHT system and be more delighted still. There are probably 2x alternatives in terms of brand to the two I mentioned.


Mark
 

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For me, I have had speakers in each of these price ranges, and the increase in sound quality was enough to convince me to move up - *only* as my income moved up accordingly! My Magnepan 3.6s were a pipe dream years ago, but they are an attainable goal now.


Another effect that I believe came into play is that after you have spent a few years with a speaker at a certain level, the sound quality increase of the next level becomes more apparent and easier to appreciate. For example, moving from $1600 to $3200 speakers was easy for me to appreciate and justify after a few years with $1600 speakers. However, when I owned $800 speakers, the $1600 speakers impressed me enough at the time that I didn't even see a need to spend a whopping $3200 on speakers.


I hope this helps!


- Chris




- Chris
 

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Also remember some speaker makers $400 speakers will out preform others $800 speaker. So get out and listen. I also agree with Jamey F that somewhere in the curve getting a better front end is going to improve the sound more than getting better speakers. Meaning that if you are running $800pr speakers with a receiver from a HTiB you are not reaching the sound potential of those speakers. As for new technology speaker design hasn't changed much in a long time. The materials used is where the changes are. Things like metal cones, Kevlar, Aerogel, and other composite and synthetic materials are bringing down the price of good entry level speakers.


For learning-keep reading this and other audio/HT websites and go to the newsstand/bookstore and browse the audio/HT magazines there to find one you like and subscribe.
 

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Great posts guys!


The following point deserves repeating:


Jamey F:
Quote:
"I've always believed in spending as much as you can on your speakers. Take what's left for electronics.
The differences between a $2500 system (which is what I have now in my HT -- consisting of Paradigm Monitor 7, CC350, Atoms, PDR-12) and the $15,000 system I am installing in my new home's HT/Music Room (Revel Gems, Voice, S30, M20, B15) are staggering, even with the same electronics (Pioneer VSX-49tx). There is simply no comparison in the dynamic range, the soundstaging, etc...


The Revel's are so much more 3-Dimensional! For example, on Sting's live CD, with the Paradigm's I can close my eyes and visualize the artists across the stage, with the Revels I can tell that Sting is sitting next to the Guitar player! I can hear the saliva sticking the singer's tongue to the roof of their mouth (gross I know, but the resolution is amazing!) It is almost as if I am there... I am hearing things in my CD collection that I never heard before! I cannot imagine what additional improvements can be had except to say that I intend on upgrading my amplification to Mark Levinson to see if I can squeeze any additional goosebumps out of the Revel system.


Bottom line... The $2500 Paradigm system was a phenomenol improvement over my $500 Polk/Radioshack system I had in college and the $15000 Revel system is a truly stratospheric improvement over the Paradigm system. Now, my next level of upgrading wouljd have to come in the >$40K realm, (Wilsons, etc.) and I am not yet convinced that I can perceive
a significant improvement from the Revel system. but as Chrispy stated so well:
Quote:
Another effect that I believe came into play is that after you have spent a few years with a speaker at a certain level, the sound quality increase of the next level becomes more apparent and easier to appreciate.
This is perhaps the best advice of them all. Enjoy the music and films on whatever system you decide on! This is a wonderful hobby!

The speakers have the biggest impact in the entire system chain. Don't skimp! I would spend at least 50% of my total system budget on speakers.
 

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The best point about actually finding that diminishing returns point is that when you actually DO find it, the upgrade bug becomes effectively squashed. If you know you have to pay SIGNIFICANTLY more to obtain just a slightly higher marginal utility then suddenly contentment kicks in and you can put those excess funds to good use elsewhere in your system.


For me, the point of diminishing returns kicks in around the $1500/pr range. I use monitor speakers in my setup and find that after this cutoff point, unless the speaker uses drastically different materials (ribbon vs. silk dome or aluminum dome tweeter for example), then the sound is close enough to not justify the added costs. Again, this is my opinion only.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by _Michaelangelo_
After listening to some Boston Acoustics VR-M Surround Speakers, I've been thinking about upgrading all my speakers. I know, I know, got the "audio bug" like everyone else here :D ) I have an inexpensive $300 6.1 Home Theater System so I could initially enjoy optical DD/DTS DVDs before shelling out some serious money for a good system.


I'd be gratefull if I could have some feedback:


- How much better do speakers sound as I move up the price range. i.e. Are $3200 twice as good as $1600 speakers? What's the difference between $800 and $400 speakers?

- What specifically should I listen for as I audition speakers out?

- I like listening to Movies, Jazz, Pop, and some classical. What should I be looking for in speakers? ("Bright" in the highs? Deep Bass? etc?)

- How important is having a very dynamic range? i.e. 60 Hz up to 18 Khz, vs 30Hz-20KHz

- What do people suggest for good web sites that have in-depth reviews, and explain how to become a better informed audiophile?

- Lastly, my upgrade won't happen for another year or two (to give me lots of time to digest the info, and prioritize features.) Any new technology that I should be looking forward to ?


Sorry for the "20 questions", but I'm an audio newbie, and thought I'd start somewhere. ;)
There are some incredible speakers out there, but as you move up the speaker food chain, you generally have to invest more in electronics. The 1600.00 range you mentioned is nice if your on a budget, generally speakers in that range don't require esoteric electronics.


Go listen to the 5-10,000 dollar speakers though, so you know what you are missing, but also find out what the electronics cost to run them :)
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by _Michaelangelo_
- How much better do speakers sound as I move up the price range. i.e. Are $3200 twice as good as $1600 speakers? What's the difference between $800 and $400 speakers?

- What specifically should I listen for as I audition speakers out?

- I like listening to Movies, Jazz, Pop, and some classical. What should I be looking for in speakers? ("Bright" in the highs? Deep Bass? etc?)

- How important is having a very dynamic range? i.e. 60 Hz up to 18 Khz, vs 30Hz-20KHz

- What do people suggest for good web sites that have in-depth reviews, and explain how to become a better informed audiophile?

- Lastly, my upgrade won't happen for another year or two (to give me lots of time to digest the info, and prioritize features.) Any new technology that I should be looking forward to ?
There's a mouthful! First off, if you're looking for home theater, GOOD sound doesn't really start until about the $1000 price range +/- (street price). Every dollar you shave off of that really hurts BADLY. Now, you can EASILY buy a $1000 system that sounds AWFUL, but you can also get one that is excellent (for the price). If you go low in price, you want to give up dynamics and very deep bass trying to retain performance. "Entry level High-end" if you're careful. If you go to $2000, you will get more dynamic range, deeper bass and improved midrange/treble. Twice as good? No, but noticeably better. Now you're talking Stereophile "Class D". Above entry level high-end, but still a ways to go. If you go to $4K, *can* get very high performance, enough dynamics for medium sized rooms and very deep bass. Again, you can also get mediocre sound if you're not careful. It will be a noticeable upgrade and easily get you into "Class C", borderline "Class B". If you go to $8-$10K, you should be getting very close to the best available, but not quite as good as it gets. Stereophile "Class B". A little compromise, but not too much. Then you get into the "best of the best" which will certainly cost $20K or above. Genesis, Meridian, Avalon, Wilson, etc.


What should you listen for? Listen to individual sounds on CDs. Don't listen to the overall sound until you've had a chance to listen to each instrument carefully. Compare individual instruments to the sound on other speakers, especially if you can do an A/B. Settle into one speaker that really sounds right, then go to another store. Also, listen to lots of different music. The more varied the music, the better you'll focus your hunt. I even use country music to really show off the difference between really good vocal reproduction and muffled, poor reproduction. And I have a rap disc by Me Phi Me that is a great tool for imaging and space. Al Di Meola's Kiss My Axe and Patrica Barber's Modern Cool have so many different tunes with different instrumentation and qualities that they'll really lay bare a speaker. But, use stuff you know really well too, but don't expect every speaker to make your CDs sound great, some will show off just how badly they may be recorded!


Since you listen to a variety of music, you will want to look for speakers that are neutral and accurate (most likely) because you'll be able to play more different types of music with good success. Many speakers sound great with Rock and fall flat on more delicate Jazz and Classical. If you can find a speaker that can do all well, but perhaps not perfectly, that may be the better choice. Genesis speakers for instance do classicl like none I've heard, but sound "only" very good on most rock CDs.


I find that getting a speaker that hits about 30Hz well is important to me to do most music. Once you hit 30Hz, it pretty well becomes more about how WELL the bass is done rather than how much deeper it can go. Relatively few CDs go much below 30Hz.


Do a web search on Robert Harley and order one of his two books. They are very informative. One is geared towards High-end, the other towards HT. Both are very helpful. www.audioreview.com is a good site. However, most reviews are made either by owners "Dude, these are the BEST!!!!" or by detractors "Dude, these SUCK", but interspersed amongst these are useful reviews that explain the sound they hear, what they compared the product to, why they liked it, etc, etc and will usually have SOME balanced commentary even if the rate the product a 4 or 5.


DSP technology. Right now, if you want to buy digital active speakers (powered with digital crossovers and speaker correction), you have to buy Meridians which start at $5K/pr. However, NHT is working on a digital active set and I'm sure others are as well. They will start off expensive, but in 5 years will probably be common place. You can do so much in the digital domain that you can't do with resistors, capacitors and inductors. It will be revolutionary for the quality we'll be able to achieve. Not likely to affect you even next year, however, unless you're willing to pony up $20K+


You might also want to google search for sites that talk about speaker design. I am very serious about good design as the starting point for good sound. Bad design can sometimes yield good sound, but usually with big compromises. Terms to google search would be "acoustic suspension" "ported" "cones" "domes" "paper" "polypropylene" "kevlar" "carbon fiber", "metal" "crossovers" "ribbons" etc in different combinations and this will lead you to sites that actually talk about design theory. I have my own ideals I hold to, but if I say them, I'll start a flame war like you wouldn't believe!
 

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Michaelangelo,

Cool profession!!!


It all comes down to

1) How much you care about audio

2) How much money you have


Taken to extremes, If you are Bill Gates, and you cared very much about having perfect audio, you would not think twice about spending an extra $100,000 to achieve a slight improvement in sound because:


a) the money means nothing to you and you will never notice it missing

b) any slightly audible improvement will increase your quality of life


No one on this forum can tell you how much you care about audio and no one (hopefully) has any idea of your financial situation. On top of that, people hear differently and enjoy different aspects of loudspeaker performance. Therefore the only good advice is for you to go out and listen for speakers you like and make your own value judgments.


That being said, you should make an effort to find manufacturers with good reputations (those who attempt to give you as much speaker for the dollar as possible using the highest quality parts available at that price range).


Hope this helps, and good luck in your quest for audio nirvana.
 

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Quote:
My speaker system is about $xxxx MSRP and I have heard speakers that costs twice as much and were not even as good. I have also heard some that are better... but for five times the costs.
i hear this all the time about everybodys particular speakers, and am sure i've written it myself once or twice.

i had a $2000 budget for just speakers last summer, and looked at and heard every thing i could within a 50 mi radius.

i also ordered two different internet direct speaker packages to try and had to pay shipping back and forth on one of them.

the speakers i finally ended up with were $150 each. by far the lowest priced speakers of everything i had been considering.

whats more important, they weren't a 'compromise' purchase.

they were honestly my faovirte sounding speakers out of all i had heard.

use the posts and reviews on the net for informational purposes only- use YOUR ears when it comes down to making the final decision.


like everyone else says- listen to as much as you can.

when you come across a speaker that you think sounds the most pleasing, investigate it- is it a full range? 2 way?

what about it did u like over some of the others- the mids? the highs? the low end?

what kind of tweeter does it have?

etc.


when you find these things out, you can start narrowing down your search to speakers incorporating similar features.

your definitely doing the right thing by taking your time.


i will disagree about the budgeting for speakers vs electronics.

yes, if this is a case where you plan to be continusly upgrading ad nauseum every 16 months- by all means sink a disproportionate amount into the speakers and skate by with as little as possible for the electronics.

you will be continuously short-changing your set-up, but on the plus side you will always be looking to improve it by buying something else later- a past-time that is quite common on these kinds of boards.


if however, you're like me and really don't enjoy the process of upgrading as much as the finished product of having successfully upgraded, try to strike a decent balance off the bat.

i ended up using that $2k budget and had $1100 on speakers and $900 n a new reciever.

i could have done even better by getting seperates, but they were out of the budget.

however i felt, after multiple a/b'ing that the $900 reciever was significantly better than the $500 and $700 ones i was listening too.

it also made a hell of a greater difference than sticking with my $200 reciever and getting a pair of $2000 speakers.


when i upgrade the next time, it will be probably be to get a somewhat different sound than to actually improve what i have.

(although adding an amp to power some of the channels, while bridging others, might still be a possibility in the future).


just my opinion, YMMV
 

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Oops I didn't read all your questions


I think, many people are too analytical in their search for speakers. I think you should pick the speakers you enjoy the most listening to. Relax, play music you enjoy on each speaker, choose a pop, jazz and classical cd, and the one which makes your toes tap the most wins...Make sure all the speakers you listen to are played at the same volume (by hearing, not the volume setting). Once you pick the best toe tapper, you may feel free to use the proper audiophile dictionary terms to impress your friends as you describe your speakers :).


You should know, in general, when you go up in price you are getting increased dynamic range -- it is one of the major things your are paying for. To me, dynamic range is very important and two similar speakers whose only difference is the frequency range you described in your question would be a big difference, but that is my opinion and my set of audio value judgments as to what is important. Once you listen, you can make your own.


It is, however, a fact that there is a significant amount of music and non LFE movie material that goes below 60 hz.


As far as web sites go, in general, the advice you get is worth as much as you pay for it. Never take any one else's advice blindly. Sadly, in the audio industry, you will get both good and bad advice everywhere and it is often difficult to tell the difference.


Unlike computers, speaker technology does not advance quickly and it is part art and science. It is almost certain that the speakers you buy today will only be junk 3 years from now if they are junk today.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by tpigeon2003
Oops I didn't read all your questions


I think, many people are too analytical in their search for speakers. I think you should pick the speakers you enjoy the most listening to. Relax, play music you enjoy on each speaker, choose a pop, jazz and classical cd, and the one which makes your toes tap the most wins...Make sure all the speakers you listen to are played at the same volume (by hearing, not the volume setting). Once you pick the best toe tapper, you may feel free to use the proper audiophile dictionary terms to impress your friends as you describe your speakers :).
The only counterpoint I would make to this is that speakers are often colored on purpose to catch your attention and make you tap your toes. They're "pro-active" in that they accent certain characteristics of the music. Sometimes taking a more analytical approach seems counter intuitive, but just like finding the right woman, sometimes it takes time and discipline to find a speaker you can grow INTO rather than out of. Klipschorns made me tap my toes like very few speakers. But they were so colored, they would drive me nuts the moment I started listening deeper into the music.
 

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John,

I agree that some speakers are manipulated. Part of my advice was first looking at reputable companies to audition, so you don't fall for any tricks (for me, that means a flat frequency response chart over the speaker's usable range, among other things -- maybe I should have made this point clearer).


I think our friend has diverse enough musical tastes that if he plays a lot of familiar music of each type on each speaker and takes my advice on reputable companies, he will be safe.


Ironically, I almost fell into the colored trap by being too analytical -- you can fall into this trap by thinking you hear "more detail" from a boosted midrange or "more air" from boosted high frequency, or more bass from a hump in the midbass zone and then picking a speaker based on any one of these characteristics. Or you can think you hear more of everything by choosing the higher efficiency speaker and not adjusting the volume. It was only after I relaxed and enjoyed the music that I realized I could not live with the colored speaker -- something bothered me after a couple of hours.
 
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