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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yes, this is a very open and subjective question. But, I figured viewing it from a design perspective as opposed to "who has the best-sounding speakers?" would be a little more fact-based. Hoping?


In general, what type of speaker has a good, all-around sound for 2-channel listening? I have Klipsch KLF-30's driven by two Parasound 2200II's in turn driven by a Krell Showcase. So, not true high-end equipment, but definitely not low-end. I don't neccesarily dislike the Klipsch's, but I feel there can be significant improvement in overall tonal quality and soundstage. I actually plan on setting up a completely separate 2-ch setup including a passive preamp. The Klipsch's are fine in the theater, but I want a really excellent sounding speaker for this.


Next, of course, is budget. How about under $5K for now. If there is a different design out there, but only available at $20K, that's fine. I'm not as concerned about cost as I am configurations. I believe they can all be found at different levels.


So, what I'm getting at, is would a MTM monitor with a separate bass cabinet be better than the typical TMW 3-way rectangular tower? How about a tower with a SD tweeter and 4 midbasses like the Rocket 750's? Electrostatics? The one I really am leaning towards is a line-array planar tweeter/6.5" mid-bass.


I expect a lot of differing opinions which is good. I can narrow it down to qualities that I think suit me and then I will just have to try something.


Thanks in advance.


DAVE
 

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Dave you have no idea how loaded a question that is.


Speaker preferences tend to be highly subjective based on the listeners personal taste. Don't let anyone tell you go one way or another. Narrow it down to a few choices and go look for retailers where you can audition.


Some factors to consider (outside budget...)

What is your source equipment and amplification?

What's your percentage of movie to music listening?

What kind of music do you listen to?

What volumes do you like it at?

What's your room shaped like? What's it's size?

How far apart will the speakers be placed?


~HappyShopping

~Don
 

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Dave,


I really do like the:


TM

TM

TM

TM

TM

TM

TM...


Line arrays with a seperate cabinet enclosure for the woofers. Seperating the bass from the speaker gives a lot of flexibility and loading up on multiple drivers in a line array yields a very nice soundstage with a huge amount of headroom. While top end speakers employ the majority of design styles, you will not find the line array speaker designs employed at lower price points very often. They can be made in a DIY project, like jmiyake has done, or purchased used from Audiogon. The cost of drivers and materials is just too great to make speakers like this at the lower price points, though. The old Infinity IRS Beta would be a good one to look at (although it is a 5-way design) in the used market. It is very similar to the VMPS IIIse Super Tower.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by DigitalGriffin
Dave you have no idea how loaded a question that is.


Speaker preferences tend to be highly subjective based on the listeners personal taste. Don't let anyone tell you go one way or another. Narrow it down to a few choices and go look for retailers where you can audition.


~HappyShopping

~Don
Yeah, actually I do. That's why I opened with that statement. ;)


You did bring up some other factors I didn't mention. I just figured I would get to them as other posts came. Otherwise, I would have been writing a book. I mentioned my equipment, which in the meantime is serving as my stereo and HT. I have been looking at preamps such as the Adcom 750, Classe, Parasound and Counterpoint. The decision to stick with SS or go tubes is still up in the air. Theoretically, it should make no difference if it is

a good, transparent preamp. Basically, I want a preamp that outperforms my Krell in the 2-channel arena. I will probably keep the 2200II's for stereo use.


Hopefully, that sums up the equipment end. As far as room and placement, the room will be 13x18x7.5, double-wall isolated (in the process of building it). To keep the speakers away from the wall, 8-9' apart should be good.

I generally listen to my music in the 80-84dB range when I'm sitting in front of it. I wouldn't want to compromise tonal quality or imaging to gain wide dispersion. The wider the better, but I don't mind having to sit in the sweet-spot to get the best performance. This is another reason for having a dedicated music setup.


As far as music, we listen to a wide variety. Everything from classical and jazz to heavy metal. My KLF-30's are good for Metallica, so I will throw heavy metal out of the picture, as I believe this will change the style of

speaker design a bit. To be honest, some of my favorite demo cd's are Madonna, Mannheim Steamroller and Pink Floyd. I very rarely ever put in Metallica or any heavy metal for auditioning equipment. Even though I listen to a lot of it, I learned it just doesn't bring out the true sonic quality of the equipment. I think if a speaker sounds awesome with jazz, it will still sound good with rock & roll, just not optimal.


The main reason I brought this up is I plan on designing my own. I have built speakers in the past and fairly recently, so am not a newbie, but definitely no expert or I wouldn't be asking this question. Yes, it's much

easier to go out and buy a set of B&W 802's or the Rockets, NHT's or whatever. But, that takes all of the challenge out of it. Can I match the quality? Probably not. At least not without a lot of trial and error. But, it's generally cheaper, more fun and much easier to tune to my liking.


Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of experience with high-end speakers, hence the reason for this post. Here's a couple of links for some ideas I've been considering:

http://www.speakercity.com/GRProject...vProject.shtml
http://www.gr-research.com/AlphaLS/Alpha.htm



DAVE
 

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I think the Dunlavy designs are the best. I say this not from the perspective of "I am an audiophile/listener and they sound the best to me," but from the perspective of someone very familiar with speaker design. They have very good frequency response, but the aspect that truly separates them from all other speakers is time alignment. That would be very difficult to do with separate bass/high frequency cabinets. However, I don't know if you could achieve the performance of these speakers without an anechoic chamber and heavy-duty test equipment. But you might get pretty close!


Tim
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by Mr.Poindexter
Dave,


I really do like the:


TM

TM

TM

TM

TM

TM

TM...


Line arrays with a seperate cabinet enclosure for the woofers.
Yes, I do too. At least, I love the looks and the concept. Unfortunately, I've never had the chance to listen to any. I listed the link for the kit I have been looking at. I believe it's the same one you mentioned. But, like you said, with the significant cash outlay for drivers, it's pretty risky. In the grand scheme, it's very cheap if the imaging and soundstage is as good as I imagine.


What about the Rocket style with T-MB-MB-MB-MB?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by nutt
I think the Dunlavy designs are the best. I say this not from the perspective of "I am an audiophile/listener and they sound the best to me," but from the perspective of someone very familiar with speaker design. They have very good frequency response, but the aspect that truly separates them from all other speakers is time alignment. That would be very difficult to do with separate bass/high frequency cabinets. However, I don't know if you could achieve the performance of these speakers without an anechoic chamber and heavy-duty test equipment. But you might get pretty close!


Tim
Wow! The responses are popping up faster than I can reply. Of course, I AM at work. :D


A speaker designers' advice is all the better. But, I also want audiophile opinions as well. I have considered time-aligned designs (Thiel?). Like you said, though, the lack of an anechoic chamber is a problem. It is anyway, but since I design for myself, tuning to my listening room is fine. I am trying to finish my music/recording room, so that will be much better for testing. But, still not true anechoic.


Out of curiosity, what do some of you amateur/part-time designers do for sound rooms? I don't mean "amateur" offensively, either. I just mean people who don't have access to an anechoic chamber and expensive analyzers.
 

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Quote:
think the Dunlavy designs are the best. I say this not from the perspective of "I am an audiophile/listener and they sound the best to me," but from the perspective of someone very familiar with speaker design. They have very good frequency response, but the aspect that truly separates them from all other speakers is time alignment. That would be very difficult to do with separate bass/high frequency cabinets. However, I don't know if you could achieve the performance of these speakers without an anechoic chamber and heavy-duty test equipment. But you might get pretty close!




Hi List rather long post but the subject is fascinating


I share â€nutt†views although I am not familiar with Speaker design at all. Dunlavy speakers are usually big and imposing. Theiy are utterly accurate across the whole audible spectrum. Much more than many other highly touted speaker. I hope John Dunlavy resurfaces.

I am very attracted by DIY myself. I am planning an IB (if my landlord agrees which is not a given). Yet I am very aware that designing speakers is as well an art as a science. Much knowlege and experience than just having a PC and understanding some mathematical formulas involving the Thiele and Small parameters. Frequency response is just one of many facets of loudspeaker performance. Phase response and impulse response are as important to name a few. A speaker is one very difficult component to properly design. To take John Dunlavy again his speakers have all a naturalness and what one famous reviewer called “authorityâ€: They reproduce the “weight†of a live of the orchestra right. The Duntech do sound that way, the Dunlavy speakers took this characteristic to another level, with a better midrange and clenaer highs. I am yet to hear this authority from other speakers and it is not a matter of bass extension. I have heard many Sub + Satellite combination and although the system sounded right in term of frequency response, the soundstage was miniaturized. I am not too sure that what make a great speaker can be accomplished without KNOWING what to measure, what to look for and how to compromise the often antagonist plethora of parameters.


I do prefer Planar speakers. Being dipoles they excite the room differently. Magnepan do sound to my ear right. Now my ideal speaker would have the :


Bigness of sound and bottom end of the Genesis 1.1

The Authority of the Dunlavys and their phase response

The Mid band and speed of a Quad ELS and its phase response

The upper mid bass (200~600Hz) and the highs of the Magnepan Ribbons

The sensitivity of the Avant-Garde Horn speakers, >100 dB/Watt/m

OHI Before I forgot the wrap around , almost holographic images of the Pipe Dreams

Normal Human being Price ( Plug your opinions here, this is very relative)


A tall order. Magnepan is for the price, the best compromise to my ears so far...save for the sensitivity. I would love to know if someone has mated a Magnepan with an IB. On paper IB bass is just out of this world. I have never heard one but from time to time I admit to be surprised by the amount of bass coming from the lowly ceiling speakers in my office…
 

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I've always liked planars and stats for their openness, clarity, speed and transparency. Oh...a good ribbon tweeter is sweet!


I've liked certain box speakers, especially for their bass and dynamics.


Over the last 35 years I've owned vintage JBL L100s & 88s, AR2s, KLH 17s, various B&Ws, Spica TC50s and 60s, Maggie 1.2s and 1.5s...I almost owned a pair of orginal Quads, but they arced out during the demo.

I've listened to many, many others in various friends' systems...including various ProAcs, Maggies, Genesis Vs, Apogee Divas, Shahinian Obelisks, Audio Physic Virgos and Avantis, Vandersteens, Avante Garde Unos and Duos, Sound Labs, Acoustats, Linns, Snells, Meadowlarks and KEFs.


I still tend to prefer the spatial properties of dipoles. I never thought that after falling in love with planars that I'd ever go back to cones and domes, but that's what I did.


I use acoustic music to evaluate speakers: large scale orchestral, chamber, vocal, choral, solo piano, jazz, percussion. I take some well recorded music to the audition, music I know well. I first want to hear how a speaker reproduces acoustic intruments recorded in a "real space". I want soundstaging, detail, transparency and all that other good stuff too...but if the midrange isn't right, if an oboe doesn't sound like an oboe, if the piano lacks weight, if the bows on the strings don't sound real, if the vocals are a bit nasal or chesty...I move on. (Poor reproduction of massed string - egads, the horror!) Any speakers I buy must be able to handle big classical works without congestion or compression. They'll need enough bass extension to have impact and realism, but the quality is as (maybe more) important than the quantity.


There seems to be a misconception that speakers for classical music don't need to be dynamic - just smooth. Maybe even rolled off a bit at the extremes. Rubbish! Classical isn't easy listening. Without dynamics, orchestral music is uninvolving. Any music without it is. My present speakers, from Alon, are very dynamic, and equally satisfying on Beethoven or Peter Gabriel. This is key to me, becuase athough I play nearly 70 percent classical, I listen to all kinds of music...rock, jazz, folk, world, R&B, blues etc.


With my Alon Vs I was able to have my cake and eat it too...the coherency, transparency, speed and openness I loved with planars plus the bass extension and dynamics of box speakers. I love my speakers. They're not perfect, but they sound supremely musical to my eaars. I know just what Frantz means by "miniaturization fo the orchestra". Some planars also make small ensembles and soloists "bigger than life". With my Alons and current elctronics, I have a huge, wide and deep soundstage, a speaker which handles complex orchestral with ease, and one in which the music sounds natural. Piano is especially pleasing...real weight and no change of tonality from top to bottom. After planars and the Alons, this coherency is something I don't want to be without.


I now want to use Alons in my HT set up - music is a big part of my listening...my ears are so spoiled by my Vs, I want the same thrills for movies. I wish I could afford a pair of Alon Circes right now...however, I'm part way there with the acquisition of the Alon Thunderbolt subs. I hope soon to have a LCR Grand for a center, then we'll see how the year goes financially...two more LCRs for rears?


There are many excellent speakers around, some at very affordable price points. The right speaker is a highly subjective choice reflecting not just personal sonic preferences but also the room (very important), the associated elctronics and front end, as well as limitations of budget and availability. What works for me might not work for you. I don't like narrow sweet spots (been there done that), imaging is cool but not paramount (been there done that). I have a large, demanding room, I like dipoles AND dynamics and I want tubes somewhere in my system. (Currently have Herron tubed pre and Herron 150 SS monoblocks, Cary 303 CD player, TG Audio SLVR power cords, Quattro Fil, HMS ICs and soon to be TG Audio speaker cables..)


The best course IMO is simply to go out and listen to as many speakers as you can, with the music of your choice. Listen to equipment above your budget to expand your horizons. Educate yourself. Hang out at Audio Asylum. Talk to various dealers. Have fun. Dream a little. Think about purchasing used or demo.


Then buy what sounds good to your ears and enjoy the music.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks you guys for the responses and advice. I agree, there are a lot of excellent speakers out there and not all of them will necessarily suit my taste. Unfortunately, I have this problem where I want the absolute best of everything, but probably like the majority here, can't afford it. If I had the money, I could go out and buy a $100K set of speakers and might absolutely love them, but will still wonder tomorrow if I could do better. :rolleyes:


Back to reality. After hearing about the Magnepans and reading a little, I'm intrigued. The MMG's at $550 new/$400 used sounds very tempting. But, I'm afraid that, like electrostatics, I would either love them or hate them. Also, how do they compare to their upper line costing $1000's?


Rackon, you really did it by mentioning Alon. I've never heard of them, but after looking at their site, I'm in love with the Exotica system. Of course, that's just looks. But, there is just something about a line array setup that strikes me as nothing short of awesome. Yes, I need to go listen to some. Not necessarily a $120K set like that as it is so far out of my range it's pathetic. Are there others similar but cheaper? Anyone in the Chicago area happen to have a set of the Alpha LS kits from GR Research? At about $2K for drivers and material, how could I go wrong? I would be using a proven design and I can't imagine they suck.


DAVE
 

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Dave,


You are the perfect candidate for VMPS RM40s. I have these in my system and from what you have listed you want, they do it all.


They list for $4600 and there are a couple options (cap upgrades) that can punch through the $5000 barrier. Although they go down to 24Hz, I run mine with a VMPS Larger sub which takes things down another 10Hz or so.


I have been listening seriously since Jon Dahlquist and Saul Marantz came out with the DQ10. (circa 1974)


I was hooked on realism, soundstage, and dynamics. I wanted highs, mids and bass that was balanced and sounded like the performers were right in front of me (usually 7th row center was my choice)


I ran Pink Floyd DSOTM, Madonna Vogue, and Feildlers 1812 Overture recently, and the sonics are incredible.


The Opening heartbeat on DSOTM and when the alarm clocks go off and chime you have to hear to beleive. The thunderous disco bass on Madonna's Vogue with backround "wall of sounds" mad up of many small detailed sounds that most have never heard.


And then the 1812 Overture. The Stirring power and powerful waves of symphonic harmony, capitulated with the thunderous cannon shots is mind boggling.


I have a print out of a symphony orchestra for my freinds and clients to look at as they listen to/audition my system and the imaging and placement of every instrument is "precise" and accurate.


And while the orchestra is playing a full volume these speakers have the ability to resolve enough detail to be able to hear the fine notes of a Harp to the left, just inside the left speaker just to the left of the piano.


Now I can't guarrantee you will be hearing what I hear unless you are listening in my Music Room #1, but I know the speakers have that potential.


I have heard the Watts, the Green Mountains, the Big Goldmunds, the big Maggies, the MLs, the JMLab Grand Utopias, the IRS and many, many more of the heavy hitters and not one system, to my sonic recollection has had the clarity, tranparency, impact, dynamics, soundstage and lack of distortion that this system has.


No listening fatigue after hours of rather loud cuts of various kinds.


As a HT and Audio Consultant, I can place, many brands of speakers with my clients. I carry Snell, Wraith, Legacy, SLS, JBL Synthesis, Jamo, JBL TIK, Final, M&K, and probably 20 more.


These are what I have in my system and I can honestly say I have never heard anything better (to my listening biases)


From what you have said, I think you might like them.


just my 5 cents (much more than 2)


Regards John
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Bioforce,


The VMPS RM40's looks like they would be a very good speaker. They use the line array concept which I like with 2 big bass drivers instead a bunch of little one's. I've been reading some of the designer tip articles by Brian Cheney. Very interesting writing and gives me a lot of good ideas.


I'm also considering the open-baffle design. It's different and something I will have to give a try. I'm guessing setup will be completely different than what I'm use to.


Has anyone looked at, or had any experience with, that PHL Revelator I linked to above? I like the design and supposedly sounds very good.


Too many options. :rolleyes:


DAVE
 

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dmheath


There is a post that mention the ancillary equipment and this is another very important issue, the more revealing the speakers the most important the electronics become. I have somewhere else posted about a system I know very well;


Plinius 8200 Integrated Amp

Nordost Red Dawn Speakers and Interconnect Cables

NAD 541i or other highly acclaimed sub $1000 CD Player

Magnepan 1.6 QR


Please visit your friendly local High-End dealer and see if they can assemble it this and please do let us know. Try to audition the MG 1.x with substantial electronics (above 100 watts/ch), Magneplanars including the MMG.are different from Electrostatics in that they have bass. Maybe not subwoofer or cinema reference level bass but good , solid bass nonetheless, Most ELS do not go there (save for Soundlabs, worth the investigation by the way).

The MMGs can stun you, so right and musical they are. I have concocted a nice sounding system for my sister, it should arrive at her place in a month or so..


NAD 302BEE Integrated Amp circa $400

NAD 541i CD Player around $500

Nordost Red Dawn Interconnect and Speaker Cables around 500 maybe less

Magnepan MMG around $500



That is MSRP $2 K of serious music. You may spend a lot more to surpass the level of musicality this produces. Go hear it for yourself and you will understand why Magnepan owners are such a loyal bunch and what the dipole thing is all abvout. One more thing I have not seen NAD discussed very much here but the collective should go and hear them out this brand consistently offers supremely musical products


Good Luck


P.S Has someone tried the maggies with a an SVS sub? I am very curious about SVS on music. I will shoot a thread on this by the way.
 

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A friend of mine has a set of MMGs and a dual SVS 16-46 package. The sub is very clean and quick and integrated very nicely with the Maggies (you could not tell where the mains ended and the sub began). My only complaint would be that the MMGs could not keep up at higher SPLs (large dynamic peaks). The SVS would reproduce the sound cleanly and the MMGs would start to distort. I'm sure this would be less of an issue with Magnepan's larger panels...

Quote:
Go hear it for yourself and you will understand why Magnepan owners are such a loyal bunch and what the dipole thing is all about.
Yes, definitely audition and preferably in your home. Dipoles are very finicky when it comes to placement (you'll want to make sure the setup works in your home).
 

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FrantzM, I would agree. I have a rather old pair of model 30 in the bed room and am still surprised by them, considering their price.


Another speaker which seems to get no attention (well atleast on AVS Forum, are the Allison Ones. I just replaced all the woofers on a pair of Ones I have (circa 1977), and am extremley impressed. To my ears, with a resonable ss power amp and very clean source, they are very open and non-fatiging. In fact, I would say I prefer them to my friends 801 mod 2s. The new version of the Ones is available for a bit over your price range, but if you have a chance to audition them, IMHO it is time well spent.
 

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Frantz, can you comment more on the NAD / Magnepan combination?


I'm saving right now to buy both the NAD 521BEE and the 320BEE, and I want to match it with either Magnepan MMGs or Vandersteen 1Cs. Anything you can tell me about how the MMGs work with the NAD amp would be helpful, seeing as the nearest Maggie dealer is 600 miles away from me.
 

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I would add one question to Don's excellent list. "Where do you like to sit when listening?" Or, more specifically, do you want great sound at one specific spot (like your favorite chair), or do you move around a lot and/or want 'good all around' sound for multiple listeners?

I found that this question, considered first, really helps focus on certain types of designs and eliminate others -- and then Don's questions come into play to narrow the focus even more. I looked in vain for a set that would do all of these things, to no avail (combined of course with my certain listening preference for dynamics and especially clean mids). I settled (a while ago) on a set of Apogees, and they are simply perfect -- but this is for me and my tastes/needs of basically being in one place. If I stand up, for instance, the quality drops off immediately. But sitting in the central chair in the music room, I've had people with $75,000 stereo systems want to duplicate my system.

If you like to move around more, then (and after thinking about the tradeoffs the design creates) I would look at dipoles or other radiating type speakers.

just my .02.
 

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You say you like everything from jazz to heavy metal and I am right there with you. However, which area does the pendulum swing to more...jazz/classical or rock/heavy metal?

I ask this because in my case, my listening habits tend to gravitate towards rock more. To me this is VERY important since I feel that speaker designs are not weighed by design A being better than design B, but which attributes does that design have in accordance to what I feed it.
 
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