Appearance is important to me too, but it's secondary to sonic quality/character. I chose Vandersteen 5s-- they are sonically excellent and very attractive too, IMO.
That said, I probably would not have bought the V5s if they were ugly. I guess I want both, and fortunately I think most manufacturers know that. Maybe the WAF helps keep most speakers pretty good looking;>). Cheers. Craig
Tie up your eyes before even seing any speaker prior to auditioning and than decide. Vandy 5s are realy ugly especially without grilles. Them you'd better audition with tied eyes.
As long as it doesn't look like a coffin, it's fine.
I listen with my ears.
I don't care what the speakers look like.
The sound is paramount, but for me, looks (including fit n' finish and "fit" in the room/rack, are also important.)
It's the same as if you buy a car -- it can drive great, but look like crap, or built cheaply, or not fit in the grarage. I wouldn't buy it. Same with my audio gear.
I don't think that makes me less of a diehard audiophile, just that the items mentioned above are also important to me in the purchase decision.
BTW: I ownthe Amati's and they are one of the best looking speakers on the planet. And with the right gear, they are also one of the best sounding speakers on the planet. A true reference product. Depends on what musical cues are important to you (i.e. they don't have that last ounce of lowest octave bass). I've heard them with Classe, and wasn't impressed, same with Levinson. Amati's truly shine with tubes. Magical.
Doesn't a good speaker disappear anyway?
When it's off and sitting in the middle of the living room, then no. Then, it becaomes another piece of furniture. Depending upon domestic situation, that can either be no big deal or THE big deal :)
Also, I take "looks" to me other things: i.e. size (is it too small or too large for the room) and fit n' finish (does it look poorly made or assembled).
I'd better listen with my heart. My speakers are so ugly they'd be unwelcome in most any other room. Thank goodness my wife also listens with her heart. After mentioning a couple of times that for her sake I'd try to find something that sounded decent and was more appealing, I was basically told that if I replaced them, she'd keep them. What a country!
Keeping the wife AND the speakers....
I don't usually make a point to specifically disagree with another reader's personal opinion, but I will make an exception with Marakanetz' comment about the Vandersteen Model 5's. I think the Vandy Model 5's are an exceptionally attractive speaker, with clean, functional lines, and absolutely first-class cabinetry. They also produce outstanding sound quality, which make them a doubly fine buy. The Vandersteens do not benefit by playing with their grills removed, so I can't imagine why anyone would even consider doing so.
Happily, differing opinions is what keeps more than one speaker or audio electronics company in business, so Marakanetz is welcome to his point of view...
...still I believe that most wives will complain about looks especially if it takes so much space as Vandy 5 or Tannoy Westminsters or Churchhills.
Is both really. You have to like the appearance of what you buy. Its like that with cars too. I recently listened to the Sophias and the Watt Puppys. I liked the look of the Sophias better, but the Watt Puppies sounded better to me and when the chips are down, I wouldn't be satisfied with the Sophias after hearing the others.
Sd; thanks for saying it for me. And BTW, I listen with the grills on. Also, the V5s fit very nicely into my room/stereo system. It may be a cliche', but I'd defend Marakanetz' right to express his opinion-- this is America-- too bad he's wrong though;>) Cheers. Craig
I think appearance is crucial if the speakers are imposing and in your main room,which is probably most people's situation however of course thare are those who only consider functionality.
Nobody can be wrong either way.
It's clear in ALL hi-fi that design and looks are given serious consideration by manufacturers.
And as we see from above when aesthetics become involved then the viewpoint is obviously subjective-it at least made me investigate how Vandersteen 5's look-but I'd prefer to keep out of this one.......
I must have bought for the sound and the price. My newform research speakers will never win a beauty contest. There are times when I wish they were beautiful and then I fall in love with them all over again, it goes in cycles....they always make people comment on them even touching the ribbons and saying"what are these things?". I always wished I had a pair of mini monitors that were 1. cheap. 2 and could move me like the newforms....What do I do? Live with the newforms. They're like owning a beetle....they look odd but the owners love them...One of the handsomest speakers I ever swa were the Castle Winchesters in mahogany. Women would gush and fondle the wood[the speakers]....they were a very elegant sounding speaker
When I purchased my last speakers, the only factor my wife requested is that the speakers do not look like "R2D2" or anything that came off the "Star Wars" set. Among the numerous speakers I listened to, I wound up getting a pair that are very plain looking, but sound beautiful. Dynaudio Contour 3.3's.
I personally feel that there are enough good sounding speakers or other high end pieces available at all price points that there is no reason to consider something that does not make a statement in your room or on your rack. Part of the appeal of high end should be to sound better and to look better than ordinary gear, thus contributing to the pride of ownership thing. BTW the speakers I own are the Apogee Duetta Signatures and Vienna Acoustics Beethovens.
Heart and ear. Could not care less about the rest. Listen generally in the dark anyway. Cheers,
It's a proven fact that better looking speakers have dramatically improved imaging and midrange response. Speakers with a curvy appearance generally have a much warmer sound to them with more bloom. Boxy speakers are almost always "faster" sounding, especially if they match the color of your couch. When choosing a speaker for use in a room with hardwood floors, it is imperative that you match the wood. Unmatched wood finishes between speaker and floor create dissonant resonances that can only be treated with really ugly traps and other room treatments that will drive your spouse into the arms of another.