AVS Forum banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 30 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
520 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Maybe a philosophical audio question for discussion…


I’m looking to build a system up from scratch. I’ve pretty much got nothing now. This will be for 95% music plus the occasional movie. I’ve started with speaker shopping. So far I’ve heard speakers from Sonus Faber, Linn, Paradigm, Klipsch, Dynaudio, Jamo, Totem, B&W, and ATC. (That may be enough for now.) Some of the speakers were just not great (Klipsch, Paradigm). Others (Sonus Faber, Dynaudio) struck me as dull and not very inviting- fine, just not for me. But…


Some speakers like the Linns (Ninkas) and Totems (Forest) I liked right away. I might call these more aggressive speakers. They have a wonderfully crisp, clear sound that I really, really enjoyed. Every song sounded great. Put a smile on my face right away. Super.


The ATC’s (7 and 12) sounded more accurate that anything I’ve ever heard. These are the only speakers in which the bass drum actually sounded like what a real bass drum sounds like- not just a low thump. However, some of my recordings sounded like crap. The accuracy is fun, the poor recordings were unpleasant to hear.


And then there are the laid back speakers. When I first heard the B&W (703) I was not impressed. Sounds fine in all regards, but didn’t suck me in and compel me to listen too much. But then I listened longer and it sounded a little better. And longer and it sounded even better. I liked them more, the more I heard them.


Soooo… Now I’m not sure what I’m after. There were speakers I liked right away. But will I get sick of listening to those on a longer time scale? There were the accurate ones which were nice- and different- in some regards, but didn’t sound good in others. Then there were the laid back ones. They didn’t pull me in right away, but maybe that is better for, say, 1-3 years down the road?


I’m curious as to what you serious music people look for in speakers. It seems I’ve found 3 different flavors. And I’m not sure which way to go. Obviously I have to do some more listening… And this is fun. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
257 Posts
you are doing the right thing. keep listening. and it will hit you when you find the right one. do not worry so much about bright and warm. it is your ears you must please. take a look at quad and vandersteen and vienna acoustics too. maybe von schweikerts too and energy. also if you can find someone with swans and rockets listen to them too they are factory direct but worth it. also proac are good too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,091 Posts
DrJon,

If you get accurate speakers in an HT system and some CDs don't sound very natural or smooth, engaging PLII mode (I prefer PLII movie) it will make the sound more enjoyable. It tends to make the sound seem warmer and more natural on a bad CD. Very useful. That way you can go for accurate and still have a crutch for the other stuff.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,102 Posts
RIKMEISTER had a good point - don't rush it, just wait for it and it will happen for you. Each time I've purchased speakers, I've listened to many different models before I found the one that was "just right."


I kinda thought the 703s were on the aggressive side - as you keep expanding your experience with speakers, I wonder if you still characterize them as laid back.


Alimentall, that's a good tip on PLII - I'll have to try that out. To date, I've gone with more forgiving (darker treble) speakers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,091 Posts
CME, what did you get - Snells? I haven't heard many of those, but liked those I heard. If you did get the newer ones, how are they? I've always thought they were very similar to NHTs. Often toyed with picking them up, but by the time I did, Kevin Voecks left, so I backed off. Not to derail the thread, just curious.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,876 Posts
You're making a great first step by actually aspending some time LISTENING rather than just taking a sample of others opinions.


You do need to keep in mind, however, that the associated gear in front of the speakers you audition can make a huge difference in your impression. For instance I have never considered Sonus Faber or Dynaudio speakers as DULL.


If your true intention is to listen to music 95% of the time you absolutly need to consider having a simple 2 channel preamp and not running music through the SSP or receiver. You don't need to spend a fortune, a cheap but decent tube preamp like the Audible Illusions will go a long way towards making even poorly recorded music sound less offensive to your ears. I can't remember ever hearing anything through my CAT preamp that didn't sound gorgeous and used CATs are now selling for peanuts.


Your greatest concern with poorly recorded CDs will be when mating up aggressive speakers with either a receiver or the usual solid state SSP and multi-channel amps. That's where you really do need to worry about listening fatigue.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,102 Posts
The first speakers I purchased were Snell J/IVs - back in 1996. I agonized over that decision and listened to everything I could find in Seattle - including B&W, Thiel, Vandersteen, PSB, KEF, AR, etc. Most were too bright, a few sounded closed in, a few sounded electronic, only the Snells were "just right." My original budget was $800 for a system (receiver, speakers, CD player), and I spent all of that just on the speakers. It's pretty much been downhill from there. :)


Since that time, I picked up a pair of C/Vs (love these) and, more recently, the Type A Reference System. I suppose I'm living in the past, but those were the speakers I liked best at the time (couldn't afford them, of course) and I haven't fallen in love with another line to quite the extent since. Most of my affection is nostalgia; finally getting to buy the dream system. I don't know how much speaker technology has improved over the last decade (maybe you can comment on that?) but the guy I bought these from didn't feel compelled to upgrade until he heard the VS VR9s.


I know the Type As were by Kevin, and I suspect the rest of that line was as well. I haven't been as impressed with Snell since they went to the metal grills in the .5 or XA series - that was 1999/2000, I think? They still get good reviews - I think the newer XA Reference was reviewed as comparable to the Type As - but ... well ... yeah.


My bedroom system did have Paradigm Studio 20 v2s all around (very seductive sound; didn't like the mid-bass hump so much, especially with my setup), but I recently picked up some used Snell in-walls in anticipation of moving into a new house next month. I'm not as excited about these as the As or Cs, but liked them better than anything else I could find at that price (I got the fully enclosed AMC 800s at $400/pr). I wish I could have afforded Triad (or maybe M&K), but those were outside my budget.


That's my journey. Thanks for asking. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,394 Posts
There is no right answer. Speakers are not bright or warm by mistake (unless they are really cheap). Each manufacturer has a different idea what is right, and what people will like and purchase. There are very high end speakers that some would consider bright and ones that would be considered warm. Go with what you like.


Also, I found that spending longer listening sessions really helped me out. I was coming from a warmer speaker when I went shopping. Anything that I heard that was accurate came across as bright to me in comparison. My ears were used to something different. After longer listening, I found I actually enjoyed a more accurate speaker, so I went with M&K, and have been really happy.


Greg
 

·
Registered
Denon AVR-X3500H; Sony UBP-X800M2; EFE speakers; Outlaw Model M amps; SVS sub; Epson 8350 projector.
Joined
·
1,677 Posts
DrJon, your speaker tastes seem similar to mine. I ended up with EFE speakers and simply love them. If you live in or near Arizona, or feel like contacting EFE to see if anyone near you has them, they are worth checking out. EFE only sells by word of mouth so they can be hard to demo, but they cost a lot less than other high-end speakers and have an amazingly accurate sound. You can check out reviews on them on this forum and on others.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,828 Posts
Dynaudios and Sonus Fabers are some of the most neutral speakers in production. If you found them dull then something must have been very very wrong in the setup.


Personally I always aim for neutrality when selecting components. I want to hear the recording as accurately as possible.


Speakers that sound "crisp" during a short audition IMHO are likely to become irritating in the home. Worse house acoustics. Worse recordings than the favorites you took along. And bright gets wearing very quickly.


Did you listen to any acoustical instruments or female vocals?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
294 Posts
Dr Jon,


I am not an expert. My first speakers were less than ideal having been bought based on reviews. So next time around, like you, I listened and listened.


However, it all became a bit of a blur and for a while, I didn’t truly know what I liked. In fact it was worse than that, I really liked most everything at one time or another, warm and laid back sometimes, detailed and strong at others. Took a fair bit of listening to even start to understand the difference between detailed or acceptably bright versus overly bright or harsh though. Often, what caught my attention immediately would soon pall.


So figuring that I probably would not get the choice right first time, I went middle of the road. I did two things, homed in on good quality budget/middle tier speakers so I wouldn’t tie up a fortune and went for essentially neutral. This allowed me a little more flexibility in selecting other components such as receivers, as well.


How did it work out? Very well. I have a diverse taste in music and HT and the spectrum is covered well. I am currently considering upgrading my system but not because of my speaker selection, in fact I think they will stay for some time. Plan only to look at 7.1 and a new receiver or separates. So middle of the road (accurate) has worked very well for me. Can’t say it’s a philosophy though, more a risk minimisation strategy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,653 Posts
DrJon


It's a fun journey for sure. I too found myself listening to SEVERAL brands with my opinion swinging back and forth like a pendulum. Maybe because the one speaker on my list that I was having a hard time auditioning (no local dealers), would not let me make a commitment until I actually heard them. I'm glad I didn't. I made an appointment, a four hour drive and ultimately a family weekend out of the audition.


They don't get the play around here much, but that's ok. I know how good they sound to me and that's all that matters. If you can, check out the offerings from AUDES. It was a tough call for me between the SOULS, which reminded me VERY much of and were extremely close in sound to the PSB Stratus Gold i's. BIG bass, warm and inviting..... a wonderfully involving speaker. Ultimately though, I chose the BLUES. With the SEAS drivers in a MTM mini monitor atop a 10" side firing woofer type configuration, I got the best of both worlds IMHO. A HUGE sound stage, good tight bass, (not as full and deep as the SOULS though), very detailed mids (with a touch of warmth) and highs that are very articulate, crisp and clean without being harsh or bright in any way.


Either way.... enjoy the journey!


:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
520 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by cme
RIKMEISTER had a good point - don't rush it, just wait for it and it will happen for you. Each time I've purchased speakers, I've listened to many different models before I found the one that was "just right."
Yeah, guys. I guess I've got to keep listenting and see what's the right speaker for me. Upon a few day's consideration, 1 or 2 of the top 5 contenders may be dropping out of the race. We'll see...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
520 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl Brinkman
You're making a great first step by actually aspending some time LISTENING rather than just taking a sample of others opinions.


You do need to keep in mind, however, that the associated gear in front of the speakers you audition can make a huge difference in your impression. For instance I have never considered Sonus Faber or Dynaudio speakers as DULL.


If your true intention is to listen to music 95% of the time you absolutly need to consider having a simple 2 channel preamp and not running music through the SSP or receiver. You don't need to spend a fortune, a cheap but decent tube preamp like the Audible Illusions will go a long way towards making even poorly recorded music sound less offensive to your ears. I can't remember ever hearing anything through my CAT preamp that didn't sound gorgeous and used CATs are now selling for peanuts.


Your greatest concern with poorly recorded CDs will be when mating up aggressive speakers with either a receiver or the usual solid state SSP and multi-channel amps. That's where you really do need to worry about listening fatigue.
It's tought to listen to the different speakers, amps, etc. under similar conditions. They are all in different shops... Heck, the Totems were run by a $750 Jolida tube amp. The B&W's by about $15,000+ of McIntosh amps. That can't be a good comparison. And I am really wondering: the incredibly tight, powerful, deep bass I heard came from the B&W 703, but it's only rated down to 38 Hz. Conversely the Totem Forest is rated as "
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
520 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by *******
There is no right answer. Speakers are not bright or warm by mistake (unless they are really cheap). Each manufacturer has a different idea what is right, and what people will like and purchase. There are very high end speakers that some would consider bright and ones that would be considered warm. Go with what you like.


Also, I found that spending longer listening sessions really helped me out. I was coming from a warmer speaker when I went shopping. Anything that I heard that was accurate came across as bright to me in comparison. My ears were used to something different. After longer listening, I found I actually enjoyed a more accurate speaker, so I went with M&K, and have been really happy.


Greg
Go with what I like. Hmmm...


I'm just concerned the speakers will be like music- the songs you like right away, you get sick of. The songs you hate right away you hate almost always. But some songs in the middle don't knock your socks off right away, but become the more meaningful, long-term favorites for years.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
520 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tnilsson
DrJon, your speaker tastes seem similar to mine. I ended up with EFE speakers and simply love them. If you live in or near Arizona, or feel like contacting EFE to see if anyone near you has them, they are worth checking out. EFE only sells by word of mouth so they can be hard to demo, but they cost a lot less than other high-end speakers and have an amazingly accurate sound. You can check out reviews on them on this forum and on others.
I'm not near Arizona (midwest) but I'll have a look. Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
520 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by AcuraCL
Dynaudios and Sonus Fabers are some of the most neutral speakers in production. If you found them dull then something must have been very very wrong in the setup.


Personally I always aim for neutrality when selecting components. I want to hear the recording as accurately as possible.


Speakers that sound "crisp" during a short audition IMHO are likely to become irritating in the home. Worse house acoustics. Worse recordings than the favorites you took along. And bright gets wearing very quickly.


Did you listen to any acoustical instruments or female vocals?
The Dynaudios and SF's were just what you say- neutral. Kind of generic and boring. Not that there's anything wrong with that. There was just more to grab me and compell me to listen from the Linns, for example.


Yes, I do worry about the "crisp" speakers not sounding good in the long term. Hence, my plea for perspectives.


Yes, I did listen to female vocals, but no acoustic instruments, come to think of it. The female vocals (e.g., Dianna Krall- Cry Me a River) was one of my main auditioning tracks. It seems to tell alot about a system.


Hmmm...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
520 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by RIKMEISTER
you are doing the right thing. keep listening. and it will hit you when you find the right one. do not worry so much about bright and warm. it is your ears you must please. take a look at quad and vandersteen and vienna acoustics too. maybe von schweikerts too and energy. also if you can find someone with swans and rockets listen to them too they are factory direct but worth it. also proac are good too.
I'll have a look at those- thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
520 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by lpm
However, it all became a bit of a blur and for a while, I didn’t truly know what I liked. In fact it was worse than that, I really liked most everything at one time or another, warm and laid back sometimes, detailed and strong at others. Can’t say it’s a philosophy though, more a risk minimisation strategy.
Very interesting. And amusing. :) Yes, it can be a blur- Im in that right now. And still i should probably listen to speakers by 20 other companies! Your risk minimization strategy makes sense, though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
520 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by quadriverfalls
It's a fun journey for sure. I too found myself listening to SEVERAL brands with my opinion swinging back and forth like a pendulum.
I'll have a look at the Audes. Never heard of them.


Yeah, I'm having fun. :) I almost wonder if this is more fun that actually having the system in my house.
 
1 - 20 of 30 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top