Best all around speakers

Just curious what people think around here for best all around speakers for wide variety of musical genres and amplifications needs (tubes and solid state). Not everybody listen exclusively to Diana Krall and Norah Jones and/or acoustical jazz or classical music. Some of us like to listen to a wide variety of music (from rock and roll to bluegrass to blues to you name it) and don't feel the need or want to have a differet speaker for each genre of music. Seems to me many speaker designers have a very narrow taste in music, which unfortunately doesn't reflect what most people listen to, which I think is one of the reasons why many speakers end up disappointing quite a number of listeners.
Nice post.
I'm coming to a tentative conclusion that you might have to have some variable in the system in order to happily listen to electric music one moment and a string quartet then next. But I don't think it has to be speakers. I've been pretty happy with Harbeth speakers for the last year or so, used with a subwoofer. (I'm using the Compact 7's with an Essex sub now, but I also like the Monitor 30's.) The variable for me comes from using 2 different CD players and a turntable. One CD player is a bit more forward with more punch (a GNSC-modded Wadia 860), the other is bit laid back and does SACD (EMM CDSA) and the turntable/cartridge is on the somewhat lush side (Linn LP12 with Koestu Black and EAR 834P). Between those different sources, I can usually find something that works.
ATC are very precise and therefore play a wide variety of genres. They are pro studio grade and likely your favorite artists were mixed down on them. Check out the latest review on on their home page.
go to the montana audio site and check it out
I just bought a pair of German Physiks Carbon MkIV's. Stupid expensive-but they play great on anything from Jazz to Rock. My classical friend was blown away. These things might just be the "last" speaker for a long time.

Don't you know already?There is a category of the speakers you are looking for;they are call music lovers speakers.

Really,there are only 2 candidates;


feed them with high current ,quality amp like Bryston,Sugden masterclass and these speakers will slay all those pompous looking loudspeakers.

Are you into Springsteen?Have a listen to Hungry heart.Roy Bittan ,attacking at the piano,listen how the music dance through Harbeth/ATC.Listening through Magico/Wilson,Roy Bittan's pace sound less attacking you think he has arthritis...

Into classical?Try listening to Beethoven's 9th;;Karajan;you would see how attacking Karajan was,and you would understand what the fuss are all about.

There are 3 problems though;[About Harbeth/ATC]

1.Not very good looking.

2.You can't really brag like Magico etc;they have been around forever,and very little has change. will be a fanatic[and close to lunatic].You live will never be the same.Remember I have warn you!!!
I second Fafafion and Bongofury but with a caveat - there really is no "best" - just horses for courses.

I'd add a comment that Harbeths are (to my mind) slanted a little towards easy listening whilst ATC are slanted a little towards rock/jazz/big orchestral.

Both excel at midrange but Harbeths are voiced to play better at modest levels whilst ATC are voiced ruthlessly flat and prefer to be played at realistic levels (or they sound bass light). Nothing I have heard beats ATC's realistic rendition of percussion but they are a harsher/less warm sounding speaker than Harbeth. ATC's are used by Telarc (orchestral classical/jazz), by several Nashville studios (country) and a multitude of rock/pop/dance electronica studios around the world. They are also in several dance clubs and Disney's concert hall in LA (extremely rare that you find studio speakers also used as sound reinforcement at venues/clubs - most will distort badly or simply blow up a these SPL's).

I'd add that top of the line Dunlavy's are also regarded as a speaker that can do everything (used a lot in Mastering). Although, they shine slightly better in classical than rock.

Being good all round unfortunately means a speaker won't flatter a particular genre, instrument or recording...although vocalists tend to always come off well in my experience.
I'll give a plug for SP Technology speakers. Good enough that you could even do mastering work on them. It's all going to be about waveguide technology before too long.
IMHO, for the time being at least, the notion that the best speakers for a wide variety of amplification needs is a faulty premise. I suggest one find the best speakers for their budget, room, and tastes, and then select the appropriate amplification.
I've never understood trying to match speakers to particular types of music. Either speakers are accurate or they're not. If they're accurate (dynamically and frequency response-wise) and full range, then they'll work equally well with any music.

I prefer the strategy of matching amp to speakers rather than going least common denominator, but if you must have speakers that will match to the widest variety of amps, I'd say horns (high efficiency) or something efficient and with > 8 ohm impedance (not very common) for improved damping factor with most amps. I think Harbeths mentioned may fall into this category, but not sure. Rogers I'm pretty sure does.

If you match the amp properly using something that is high current and doubles output from 8 to 4 ohms, like many Class D amps or some Musical Fidelity's I'm familiar with for example, I'd say Ohm Walsh series 3 is the best moderate cost floor standing full range I've heard. Depending on room size they range from $1000-$6000.

If the sky is the limit regarding budget, then you have many fine choices if you match components carefully depending on taste and preference. Good monitors with limited low end will cost less, good full range floor standers will cost a lot more.
Either speakers are accurate or they're not.

The picture is rather less black and white than you paint. I suspect most audiophiles will agree that speakers vary by degrees with none being "accurate" when compared to most electronics.

I've never understood trying to match speakers to particular types of music

I assure you it works. Quad ESL's at low SPL's with soft acoustic music can be sublime...but they won't play rock very well. Some audiophiles have several systems that are suited to various genres. In theory, this may be the "best" option - multiple systems with each designed around a particular genre...
"Some audiophiles have several systems that are suited to various genres."

Shadorne, this is certainly a viable approach and perhaps even the best option to produce multiple optimized listening experiences as needed or desired, but don't you think the very top echelon large full range speakers with proper amplification and quality electronics can play all types extremely well, especially if they can handle large scale orchestral works with minimal compromise?

I understand the limitations of the Quads in particular, but there are other large speaker designs out there that cost a lot more that should be able to handle everything extremely well including the things the Quads excel at, don't you think?
Agree with Shadorne, Dunlavy (and Duntech's Classic series) are speakers that are very good on all genres of music that I heard on them. And from their measurements it appears that they were designed with accuracy in mind, so that might have something to do with it.
I'm really not sure either there is one speaker that can sound "best" on everything all the time in any room and at different volumes, etc.

That's probably one of the reasons why I keep multiple pairs around instead of dropping all the dollars into a single pair.

Usually, if I think I might be missing something on one pair, I can pick it up on another.

I do still think I would like to add a pair of good horns someday, just to help make sure I've got all the bases covered.

Also lets not forget that no two pairs of ears hear exactly the same either.
Agree with Shadhorne completely. I have never heard a speaker that does everything right. Further, I don't believe that there is any such thing as a completely "accurate" speaker. I certainly haven't heard such a speaker, and I think limitations of technology make it impossible. But, hypothetically, even if there were, that doesn't mean you'd necessarily find it entirely satisfying for every listening need. That's because source material is recorded and mastered using all kinds of different-sounding equipment, such that there are all kinds of variabilities in the sound of source material--with an end result being that some source material is going to sound better with speakers of a certain "voice" and other source material will sound better with other types of "voicings". It's all there in interviews with various speaker manufacturers--they tend to start with certain parameters, but ultimately voice based on their ears, and are quite happy to tell you that. And no pair of ears hears quite the same way, or is subject to quite the same tastes of the brains that they're attached to. That's why we have so many different manufacturers of speakers, and so many adherents to one or more of them as being "the best."
bang for the buck..used dunlavy/duntech/hales
"That's because source material is recorded and mastered using all kinds of different-sounding equipment, such that there are all kinds of variabilities in the sound of source material-"

Very true.

But you cant have a different system for every case here when something is recorded differently.

At some point you just have to accept the inherent flaws and imperfections in the entire performance/recording/playback process and enjoy the art that the makers provide as it is.

Its like going to an art museum. You accept and appreciate an abstract painting by Monet for the art form it is. You don't look to run image sharpening algorithms or buy a different pair of glasses in an attempt to make it clearer what the heck it was he was painting.
I understand the limitations of the Quads in particular, but there are other large speaker designs out there that cost a lot more that should be able to handle everything extremely well including the things the Quads excel at, don't you think?

Sure there are many other speakers that handle everything extremely well and are an all-around much better speaker than the dynamically limited Quad ESL. My point was that the Quad's are absolutely exqusite in the midrange and, as long as the music dynamics and frequency range just happens to fall right in the Quad's sweetspot, it is hard to do better with any other speaker period.
So isn't the fact of the matter then that there are many speakers out there that handle a wide variety of music types well, if not perfectly in all cases?

The answer to these threads about "best this, that or the other thing" always seems to come back to "it depends on personal preference" and of course the rest of the target system, and budget.

Some good recommendations for some very good speaks here though!
So isn't the fact of the matter then that there are many speakers out there that handle a wide variety of music types well, if not perfectly in all cases?

I'd fully agree with "there are many speakers out there that handle a variety of music types well" - especially provided you add the caveat of modest SPL levels.

As for near perfect - I think there really isn't one.
Mapman, you're quite right, an awful lot of this is personal preference. I noted my own preference for Harbeths above, but (as also noted), I find that I'm happiest with several diffent sources, each of which has a bit different voice. I guess I've gotten very picky in my dotage, but I haven't found a speaker that gets everything close enough to "right" (for my ear) that I don't feel a need to tinker with what I'm inputting into it.
I disagree with many audio designers have a narrow taste in music. I design loudspeakers and listening to most everything. Many of my friends in manufacturing have music collections as large as a university. But at most shows you get little girl with piano and when audiophiles want to demo most pick little girl with piano. I scared many off with my Zappa guitar LP and its amazing. They loved it till one asked who it was. Once Zappa was mentioned off they went. Shows and demos suck, real work for whoever does it, would you enjoy listening to music you hate over and over, some guys will play 1 cut over and over and over and yet again. You know who you are.. Maybe you guys can cut them some slack but you wont. Sure little girl music will pass in time but look how long Pink Floyds DSoM arrghh or DS brothers in arms, sure I heard both at the same time last show off in the distance with a mix of PB and DK tossed in hell on earth..
I agree that most speaker manufacturers tailor the speaker to a particular genre and I am not convinced that one set of characteristics are best suited to all types of music; even the volume level which can be achieved and the amount of distortion desired or unwanted comes into play. I find listening to a string quartet at low spl's completely satisfying. However, "sympathy for the devil" or "my generation" just seems to lose something when heard at 70 db. While auditioning a wide range of speakers for many months - basically everything I could find in a 100 mile radius - I came across the Monitor Audio GS60's. I did not find those speakers suitable for my needs. My impression of the speakers were that there was nothing wrong with them. They seemed accurate, sounded fine, added nothing to the sound, could produce acceptable spl's in a medium size room, etc. In short, there was nothing special about the speakers one way or the other - to my listening. I heard other speakers that worked well for vocals (classic spendors driven by low powered tubes for example - not particularly accurate but sounded very nice) rock (the largest paradigms driven by a bryston), classical (B&W 800 series, Genelec monitors and Dali floorstanders). The GS60's would be a serious option for me if I regularly listened to music of more than one genre. However, I do think that separate systems would give me more of what I would desire in that instance. There are really two broad schools of thought with speakers and sound in general. One is to build the most accurate system possible, the other is to treat the system as a musical instrument in and of itself. In my opinion an example of the first would be a digital source amplified by solid state system with low THD and with speakers designed for flat response across the audio spectrum. Of the second, an analog source with tube amplification (but specifically, tube amplification that is not designed for low distortion and that is almost meant to go into distortion) coupled with speakers that are not designed via laboratory measurements but more for an agreed upon sound. Both are viable options. The GS60's are worth a listen for speakers that can go across genres - if your pricing is more or less, Monitor Audio makes a higher end and less expensive models. Usually a company that goes in one direction or another tends to do so across their offerings.
Its almost like investing.....maybe never put all your eggs in one basket.....

Also, I believe sharing listening time with multiple speaker designs in my house helps keep my ears unbiased.

Sometimes when you hear the same thing only day after day, it can get stale sounding, no matter how good it really is.

A little variety in anything usually helps keep things interesting, doesn't it?

That's probably why so many of use change components so often always looking for something better or at least something a little different that we think sounds better.

I hate to think you're right, Mapman, but I can sure think of a number of times after adding a new piece of gear when I've thought "Ah, this is what I needed" and yet a few months later I've figured out that there is this or that problem with the sound that sends me out searching for some and different piece of equipment to "improve" things.

Music to equipment makers' ears...
08-15-08: Musicnoise said:

"... the amount of distortion desired or unwanted comes into play." and "There are really two broad schools of thought with speakers and sound in general. One is to build the most accurate system possible, the other is to treat the system as a musical instrument in and of itself."

This view boggles my mind. How can adding distortion on top of distortion replicate a performance say, "Sympathy for the Devil"? If the recording itself is full of distortion, then don't you want to hear what the artist intended??? I don't see that as a valid approach at all. A system like that couldn't reproduce anything well, IMHO.

If you want to reinterpret the recording, then load it into a music suite and modify it to your tastes, but then play it back through an accurate system, rather than a crap shoot, distorting system.

This is such a subjective hobby, I really got into this hobby when I accidentally heard some Magnepan 1.6r's when I went into a high end audio shop with a buddy of mine. He was looking for an expensive video set up, and we both walked out with Maggies. They just had such a different sound from anything else I had/have ever heard. Since then I have owned and listened to tons of different speakers, but I always come back to the Maggies. To my mind, only Vandersteens and well set up Klipschorns are in the same league as far as all around musical ability.

I currently own 3.6R's (for the second time) and couldn't be happier. I love to change out the upstream equipment because they so vividly reproduce what is upstream, it's really fun to try and "get it right".

My listening tastes are primarily vocal jazz, classic and hard rock, and I could not be any happier with the SLAM of these speakers. Although, I still believe that the best rock speakers I have ever heard are Klipschorns.

Well, that's my opinion, the Magnepan 3.6r's are the best all around. If you add in price, I think they are a slam dunk. I have never seen any speaker with better overall reviews. The fact that Magnepan has not changed them in nearly 10yrs says quit a bit about the design.
It's subjective as Macdadtexas points out. Let me add it's also personal and for me that means small room dependent. Six years ago I moved my system into a small dedicated listening room and started searching for a speaker that worked well there.
After giving up on monitors I purchased a pair of Meadowlark Kestrel Hot Rods. These speakers have been with me since as they produce music in a way that makes me forget I'm listening to my stereo.
Don't get me wrong here, in the five years or so I've owned the Kestrels they have spent a lot of time in the closet as experimentation has been the rule. My room has hosted some exceptional speakers costing many times what I paid for the Kestrels. And yes they wow me for a few months with resolution, deeper bass, more detail or whatever audiophiles listen for. But that eventually wears off and the Kestrels will be returned to make me wonder why I keep searching.
In a larger room some of the speakers I've owned would probably kick the Kestrel's butt. In a small room though I've found them to be the best overall speaker I've heard.
Dcstep: You misconstrued the content of my post by inserting your own thoughts within that post and making connections that were not present but rather were distinguished. The statement regarding sympathy for the devil was a separate and independent statement unrelated to the statement regarding a system purposely chosen for distortion or how distortion affected sound. The statement regarding the song had to do with spl listening levels, described as one factor that would logically influence the choice of one set of speakers over another in that particular application. The sentence specifically referred to volume levels and did not mention live performance or distortion. You drew a link as to distortion and a live performance that was not in the text. I did not say that a distortion based system was in any way connected to reproducing the sound of a live performance of a stones concert - that was your statement, not mine, so I have no idea how distortion would recreate the performance. The second sentence you quoted, about distortion, followed a general statement as to two broad themes in building systems. I stand by both statements. A lot of folks purchase tube systems and speakers that clearly have distortion and clearly are meant to, whether the purchasers know it or even care about why the system has its particular sound. This is particularly true in the single tube amplifier designs. These purchasers want a tube sound. The tube sound primarily comes from the distortion characteristics of tubes. I agree that a better approach to tailoring the sound of a song is to make adjustments with software. I also agree that choosing a system with certain distortion characteristics is a crude way of achieving a particular result for a particular piece of music. The biggest drawback with the distortion based system is that everything pretty much sounds the same. I am not currently a tube enthusiast or an analog source enthusiast, but rather prefer digital sources and solid state because I believe that accuracy is best achieved with those technologies. That being said, the relative merits of a distortion based system, chosen for a certain overall sound, vs a system chosen for accuracy in sound reproduction, and the method of creating or reinterpreting music by using such a system, are separate issues from the broad classifications to which I referred. While these are arbitrary classifications, I believe the classifications are valid (note - a different idea than saying that that the goals and methods of either class are themselves valid -to which I here offer no judgment). Furthermore, I believe considering these classifications may be helpful to the OP in making a speaker selection.

THe room is one of the BIGGEST factors for sure.


Funny you say that becasue I recall the first really good systems I ever heard that caught my ear was at a dealer circa 1978. The first thing that caught my ear was a pair of Magnepan (Timpani's, I think). The second were Klipschorns.

And so here I am 30 years later...Maggies and Klipschorns still intrigue me. I've owned Maggies + believe I may one day own one of the cornerstones of good sound for, what 50 years or so, the Klipschorn.

The fact that these speakers (Klipschorn) were created for state of the art reproduction of the music of that era alone, which produced some fantastic and distinctive recordings, is justification for entry in my mind. If I do, one of the pair I own (probably the Dynaudios)may go or may stay if I can figure out something useful to do with them because I really like them too and hate to part with good components.
Good and lively discussion here, glad I started this thread, and it's interesting and imformative to learn the various points of view that people have on this subject. One thing I appreciate is that the discussion is getting beyond the "buy this, buy that" and getting more into the "why" some of you have made the choices that you have made. And to me that is more useful information, as it allows me to understand the process of getting ones audio system to place you want it to be.

Once again thanks to all of you, and keep your thoughts coming.
Musicnoise, what you meant to say in your quoted text is muddy, at least. We're talking about home music systems here, not live performance equipment and I still can't see where you made any clear distinction. Sorry for the misinterpretation.

I think we agree, but I'm not sure, that we both think that distorted reproduction systems really make little sense, even though many people choose them. I think this choice is often made because getting the sources right, particularly on a budget, is hard to do, so they buy distorted amplification to smooth over the shortcomings of their frontends.

There is no ambiguity in the text of the post to which you initially commented. I did not refer to live performances. All references to specific equipment and to systems in general were to home audio systems. The OP did not refer to live performances or live performance equipment. The examples of rock music that I referred to have been performed live and recorded in a studio. The plain language of the text was clear, did not reference other posts - other than that of the OP, and was not in reference to a discussion of other than home audio systems. Reading the post as a whole, in the context of the OP's question, there is no ambiguity in the sentence "There are really two broad schools of thought with speakers and sound in general" or any other part of the text. Hence, the text did not require distinguishing between live performance equipment and home audio equipment. A reasonable reading of the text would not leave one with a question as to whether I was referring to live performance equipment or a home audio system.
Musicnoise, I never said anything about live performance, so why are you talking about it? I talked about replicating a live performance. Get your panties out of your crack and move on.

That's because source material is recorded and mastered using all kinds of different-sounding equipment, such that there are all kinds of variabilities in the sound of source material--with an end result being that some source material is going to sound better with speakers of a certain "voice" and other source material will sound better with other types of "voicings"

This gets my vote for one of the wisest statements I have seen on Audiogon for months, may be years...

If more people understood this then there would be much less equipment frustration and flipping. With the best all round speakers you are likely to find that most music sounds good. A distorted/colored system may improve some tracks and even shine in a particular genre. One can think of it like good polaroid sunglasses...during the sunniest parts of the day or in a bright environment they actually improve your vision and work great, however, wearing them 24 by 7 and all year would NOT result in an overall improvement in vision.

When one goes to a dealer - chances are he/she has chosen a demo disc with tracks that work well through the system lens that he/she is selling. This is why it is a sensible idea to bring one's own discs and to bring a wide variety of music (not just audiophile selections). It is also why one must be prepared to accept that some particular tracks may sound better on one speaker/room setup compared to another but that does not necessarily guarentee the better sounding speaker is the best - the track may have been mixed in a way that it just works best on a particular setup with a slanted the converse could be true when auditioning a wide variety of music.

This is one excellent reason to trust professionals and their equipment choices...after all, who else listens to all kinds of music, live and recorded, day in and day out! If many pros, each with a wide background and working with different genres, generally agree on certain gear as being "excellent" then you are pretty safe following their lead....the nice thing is that this still leaves you with plenty of choices...but it certainly narrows the selection down enormously to a few brands and often just a few models (particularly if you focus on mains monitoring and mastering)...anyway it takes some of the guess work out of the equation/merry-go-round. Sit back, relax, enjoy the music and if a particular track ain't quite as perfect sounding as you would like then you can always remind yourself, "If it is good enough for _______, then it is good enough for me!
DcStep: Actually your phrase was "How can adding distortion on top of distortion replicate a performance say, "Sympathy for the Devil"?" You would have been better off in your most recent retort by not inserting the word "live" in "replicating a live performance" - at least then you could have argued that the use of the word "performance" was not intended to mean "live" as opposed to "studio" or "live""studio". As you have clarified, you were brought the term "live performance" into the discussion - while neither I nor the OP mentioned a live performance. It is your post that became fixated on live performances in any regard whether it is the live performance itself or replicating the live performance.
Go ahead, extract whatever you want out of context, the fact is I said, "replicate a live performance". Your just being argumentative for some reason.

I simply see no reason to accept an obvious misconstruction of the text that I posted.
lets look at the issue from a different perspective.

the first principle of audio is do no harm. when evaluating a speaker system, one approach is to try to detect flaws. thus, select "average" to mediocre recordings for that purpose.

if you can listen to any recording , even one of poor quality without running out of a room, you probably have found an "all around speaker". thus the quest for an all around speaker might be to seek one that minimizes unpleasantness. while i admit this approach is the antithesis of the conventional way of thinking, it certainly keeps you from suffering when listening to "bad recordings".

are there any speakers that come to mind ?

i lived with one for 7 years, namely, 2 pair of stacked quad 57s. i don't recall ever being displeased with a recording played through that system, which also included the original quad amps, a mac c22 preamp and a thorens tt, ortofon arm and cartridge.

my motto: judge a stereo system by what it sounds like with the worst recording, not the best recording.
here's another idea:

a speaker which is compatible with many components, is an all around speaker. a speaker which is compatible with a select set of components is not.

if you can listen to any recording , even one of poor quality without running out of a room, you probably have found an "all around speaker".
Well said.
Listening to Radiohead "OK Computer" or Santana "Abraxas" has caused me to sell speakers I was originally smitten with on more than once. Absolutely must be able to listen to those.
" if you can listen to any recording , even one of poor quality without running out of a room, you probably have found an "all around speaker"

Get a Bose... no highs or lows... it's a Bose... LOL!

A speaker that will not let you hear a bad recording is poor investment.

What flavor of sound you like is a personal choice. I agree with some on here that if you listen to your music through a good set of headphones then you will find what you are shooting for.
Calldr said:

"A speaker that will not let you hear a bad recording is poor investment."

"A speaker that will not let you hear a bad recording is a poor investment."

It's all a question of degree. I've had systems in my house on which about 10% of the CDs I played sounded great. The rest ranged from tolerable to "run screaming from the room" intolerable. Some would have considered those systems to be wonderfully accurate. From my point of view, they stank. And they're gone from my house, and I am thrilled.

The system I've built now will certainly let me know if I'm dealing with problematic source material. (And I think it is much more appropriate to call it "problem source material" than "a bad recording". What sounds "bad" on one system may well have sounded great to the recording engineer as he was playing it back perhaps as long as 30-40 years ago.) But it is rarely "in your face" about it. I can usually hear the music beyond the sonic problems. That, to me, is a sign of a very well designed system/speakers/whatever.

When I audition equipment at a dealer's, I always take some CDs to play that have problematic sound (in addition to some that sound great on almost anything). That way, I hear the strengths of the equipment, but I am also well aware of whatever fatigue factor exists in the equipment.

A system that is fatiguing to listen to is pretty darn worthless, seems to me. And it is hugely fatiguing to be regularly reminded of all the flaws in the source material you want to hear.
Eweedhome, what's your digital source? That's often the real issue with unlistenable CDs. No front end can overcome an overly compressed extremely poorly mastered CD, but a good player/DAC combination can work wonders with most CDs, removing the glare and digital uglyness marring many CDs.

You know, I was always pleased with the way some speakers I owned sounded fine on all recordings (CDs). These were Aerial 10Ts and Apogee Stages. No, they didn't do all the amazing things some top-notch speakers do, but they never sounded like mid-fi, either. So I think it is definitely possible to deal with any kind of input across the board.

Another example of tolerant transducers are headphones--notably Senn 650s and (my) Sony R10s. So if they can do it...

And yes, a good CD player can remove the grain and buzz, like the EMM and Playback Designs units.
i think the issue here is :

what is the virtue in suffering ?

it is a poor investment to spend money to suffer.

there will always be "problem" recordings. some collections of recordings can have many of them. it would be nice to be able to enjoy listening to the "problem" recordings.

thus, if one strives toward accuracy, have a second system for the "problem" recordings and listen to the "non-problem" recordings on the "accurate" system, where they can be enjoyed.

if one is to own only one system, let the buyer beware.

beware of what you desire, for you may get it.
this last statement especially applies to high-resolution systems.
i think the issue here is :

what is the virtue in suffering ?

it is a poor investment to spend money to suffer.

MrT - you are missing the whole point of this hobby. Frustration and suffering is where it is at. If you don't have a whip to self flagellate your back while listening to Nina Hagen then you haven't lived.
I with MrT, if you suffering, then get another hobby. Music should be a joy.