Experienced audiophiles best speaker

We can get a better picture of which speaker is truly better if those contributing their favorites have heard a good number of the top speakers.
Include in your response the speakers that didn't take the gold.
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The ones in my living room are my current favorites.

The second best were the ones I didn't buy or couldn't afford.
I'll just rank a few of the more popular ones that Ive had.

Martin Logan Aeon i 9
Martin Logan Ascent i 9
Paradigm 100 v2 7.5
Paradigm 100 V3 6.5
Legacy Focus 20/20's 10
Magnepan MMG 6
Magnepan 1.6 8
Gallo 3.1 7.5
Paradigm 20 V2 7
Paradigm S2 V1 7.5
Paradigm S8 V1 8
It seems to me the OP was looking for people to compare loudspeakers they have heard. Or at a minimum, the OP asked for people to list the speakers that "did not take the gold."

Perhaps that's a question that yields a less than interesting outcome. So far no one has answered the question. An answer might look like:

"I was amazed when I listened to the Wilson Sophia at a dealer and I thought I heard the woofer cone strike the back of the assembly when a loud drum thwack was played back on Reference recordings' 'Pomp & Pipes'. If it was not that, then all I could figure was the small tube amp they had connected to it could not deliver the required power."
"I owned the PSB stratus Gold i's with McIntosh MC300 and C15 preamp, and could never get them to sound good in two different rooms, whereas the B&W M802's with the same electronics were fantastic in every room."

Those are two of my experiences. (btw, I also heard the Sophias at another dealer with Ayre electronics and they were quite fantastic, though I did not hear the same CD).

Such testimonials also offer the potential buyer/researcher a direct lead to contact the poster by personal email on the sidelines, as to not get into a "my brand is better than your brand" dispute, though of course that discourse is perhaps the oft consequence of any useful comparisons people present from experience.

Any kind of direct reference and comparision is the most meaningful data that people can share on a forum like this in my opinion (especially on "what's the best" threads). Answers like "B&W 800D's are the best" or "Harbeth M40's are the best" are those that have had members chastising "what's the best" threads for years. Without frame of reference of what you have owned/heard and did not like, the rest is meaningless.

Perhaps the OP can tell us if that is what they were asking.
OK, here is a stab at the question. One of the best I have heard recently is the Sonus Faber Cremona M driven with MAC gear, 2300 preamp, etc. Just a delicious speaker. Only average in the bass, but good for the woof size, but the musicality of the midrange only begs for long listens. Nothing spectacular, just musical, musical. The richness is lifelike, organic, and just plays music. Is there a speaker called the best????...what really is the best is and always will be a mystery. Even live music is not the best as some live music is very bad. Bad mics, poor acoustics, etc. No, I don't own Cremonas, but I would like a pair. I have heard a lot of speakers, currently just sold my beloved 1.6 maggies, have the 3.6 which are fabulous for different reasons, love my Aerial 10T's, and have the Nestorovic 5AS MkIV, each one spectacular in a given setting and the right gear with them. One of the best has been the Legacy Whisper HD, just grand, spectacular, and so panel like, but with efficency. And the maggie 20.1, given enough power, is so inviting as well. All speakers I could and do live with, at least some of. The rest are owned by friends. Did I hear better systems at the CES show????...No. Jallen
Your question is impossible to answer because..."One man's trash is another man's treasure!!!!!" Or it's like when men try to compare wives, or when women try to compare husbands....on what attributes do you make the comparision across wives, husbands, or speakers for that matter!
I think you guys are missing the point. The OP is not asking me what speakers didn't make YOUR cut. He is asking what MY opinion is (and YOURS too, but you understand). It is entirely subjective, but so what? I don't think it is making a blanket statement to say that speaker X,Y, and Z did not make the cut in YOUR room, but speaker A is the best that YOU have heard in YOUR system.

Elizabeth is way off the mark......

Unfortunately I haven't been to the shows, and have only owned one pair of what others would probably conclude were high end speakers. (The Talon Raven C) Through lack of knowledge and experience, I sold them and wish I had them today. But the op's post was misunderstood and misread by some of the posters and is actually not a rehash of other "best speaker" threads. This actually could be a very good to excellent thread with plenty of anecdotes from audiophiles who've had some of the better speakers out there.

Best ever anything threads always evokes posts.

they should be disallowed shouldn't they? Just bar them from ever littering the servers.

Unless? Unless the input to them is denoted as IMO...

But gee.... aren't all the threads here barring possibly some technical postings, embedded with that underlying theme?

Best ever speaker?

it's obvious to me... it's the one we bought... or the next one we will buy.

Everything else pales.

Just my opinion......

I'm factoring in utility as well as sound quality meaning they not only compete with the best but also can be run optimally by many in less than grand environments and are also within the reach of many in terms of cost. So more really top notch systems are within reach for more with these than anything else I have heard.

If price is no object, and you have the room to set them up optimally, I would expect one of these to be THE best on a grand scale:

[url=http://www.higherfi.com/spkrlist/speakerlist.htm]World's Best Speakers[/url]

After all this site comes up in a Google search for "worlds best speakers", so hard to argue that!
jbl everest, no others compare. Very hard to get a demo, done in the right room.
There are many great speakers, but the best ones are the speakers that sound spectacular because they have a synergy with the electronics and just as important the space where they reproduce their sounds.
Anthony Gallo Acoustics Reference 3.1 for $2000 +- or Revel Ultima Salon2 for $20,000+-. Soundlab. All three are excellent.
To buconero117: you've heard all the other speakers (and in the same room with the same equipment?!
At the recent Munich High End Show I was impressed with the TAD Reference 1 and the Tidal Sunray. There were many great speakers on display, but those two made the most impression.

I was also very pleased with the Focal Grande Utopia - for unknown reasons I had wrongly prejudged these.

The most advanced efforts by the designers are not successfully pointing the write target (of a care-free, less concious way of listening) but on the contrary their products are forcing the consummers to serve their demands in order to perform a barely acceptable hi-fi sound that does not matches with what our brain has loaded in our mind.
The quality of our lives as audiophiles depends strictly by:
A speaker that makes his owner happy!!!
Not impressive like the latest Grande Utopia, neither as sweet & addictive as the earlier Proac Response 4. (when these two were matched with 600W amp)
Just my favourite over the AvantGarde TRIO.
Mostly because it has the write balance of everything & delivers an unmistakable sense of liveness without any special demands.
This can only be a copy of the "Best Speaker YOU Ever Heard" thread, really, with one major difference: asking what speakers people did not like is a sure recipe for major conflict. Avguy, you spoke wise words!

So, before fists fly, MY personal best is and comfortably remains Tidal Sunray.

And no, I will not just list any good, very good or downright excellent other speakers that were just not THAT good (on a scale of 100 or something equally meaningless).
For me its compression driven front horns. The better designs are the best performing loudspeakers made. They have the lowest distortion, highest sensitivity, least thermo compression, of any loudspeaker design today. Cones domes estats ribbons plasma planars nothing else measures as well or sounds as good.
I agree with Johnk.
The Shindo "Latour" has also a compressor driver : Altec 288
Thank you all that were able to answer the op, to those that like to complain, my apologies that this thread resembles others.
What prompted this thread was; upon reading another thread on similiar lines (best speaker ever) a speaker was mentioned in which I never heard before: Tidal. I was just wondering, those privileged enough to have heard many of the great speakers what were their favs and if Tidal would be mentioned in this thread, which it was.
I have heard too few great speakers to really say confidently that any particular speaker that is best for me would mean much, but from those I have heard the Wilson Alexandria's-x2 and MBL X101 are the finest. Those that I heard and liked very much: Verity Audio, Magico mini's, Vienna Acoustics, Avantgarde, Magnaplan. It's not an extensive list of the top players but nonetheless really good speakers.
Some audiophiles are privileged to hear many of the finest speakers out there, I was wondering those that have heard more than most of us ever can get the opportunity to hear what was their favorite. I find it fascinating to read their responses. A friend of mine who works in an audio shop just heard the latest B&W home theater, he said he never heard anything like it. This let's me know what to check out when in Boston. Tidal too will be on my short list of must-hear speakers.
The best speaker threads of the past mention many speakers by listeners that have never heard Avantgardes or Wilson x2's or Magico or other world class designs.

You mention Boston. I suggest you put Goodwins High End in Waltham on your list of places to visit. They have a few of the brands you mention and are a very accommodating dealership. Enjoy the search.
music lover speakers = Harbeth, Spendors
audiophile speakers = wilson audio, magico, Dynaudio
Pedrillo, have you ever gone to RMAF? Not the same as listening in your home and room, but you might hear 200x as many speakers there than you ever will at home or a dealer, and as good a way as any to get a broad exposure to the "best" speakers (well maybe identify some that might be worthy of further inquiry). There is no beating hearing things with your own ears and RMAF is on of the best and easiest ways to do so.
Mid Fiish speakers can sound way better in a proper room then any "best" speakers can in a poor or ignored space.
The best speaker's are the one's that best fit your situation. Like your room size, budget, taste, wife, cat, etc.

Everyone's situation is different of course.

I'am very happy with my Innersound Kaya's.

Other speakers I have heard at shows and dealers that I like are.

Vandersteen 7
Vienna Acoustics The Musik

I have heard MBL's a couple of times and have not been impressed. Maybe the third time is the charm.

Also have heard many different Wilson Audio speakers and havent liked them enough to pull the trigger. The Alexandria's driven by VTL sound quite good but are out of my price range and probably would not work in my room either.

The speaker's I have not heard but would like to are.


These are not represented in my area or RMAF the last two years.



I've heard mbl twice, once optimally in a dealers showroom and once by the same dealer at a show.

They were far less impressive at the show than properly set up.

All speakers sound best when properly set up and matched to teh room, not just mbl. If you just focus on this you can reach nirvana a lot faster and most likely for significantly less cost than otherwise.
At RMAF you will hear "a good number of the top speakers" - if not all - and if not under optimal conditions; that is a given. But life is not perfect and it does provide what is really not available in any other reasonable, exposure to many speakers (and other equipment)that is not available dealer hopping (unless you make it a full time job)and optimal or not, alot better than depending on other people to tell you what speakers are best or right for you. There may be better hypotetical means to evaluating equipment, but in the real world a show like RMAF is hard to beat for what it offers, and it is fun to boot.
Brian, Must have missed Tidal last year. Hopefully they will be there this year.

Mapman, I agree that optimal setup is crucial. I am sure that some of the speakers I did not care for were not setup optimally.

Given enough time and money you could build a system around most of the top notch speakers out there and get good results for your taste.

Here are a couple more I liked that I forgot about. It is nice that there are so many options.

Classic Audio Reproductions ( If I had the room )
Oswaldmillsaudio AC-1

Also would like to heard some Coincidents as well.
This list can not be complete without mentioning Vandersteen at any price range -1Ci 1095. too SEVEN 45000.K
Johnnyr Dealer
I am not sure that I understand the intent of the OP? It seems to be something different than simply asking, "what is the best speaker you have heard?" It almost reads as if he is asking what is the best speaker according to those that have heard 100 or more, some type of qualification to the recommendations based on the level of "experience" of the individual making the recommendation, and some type of test to determine if the Tidal speaker would somewhow be mentioned. I am a little confused by it. And yes, one should certainly here the Vandersteens at their respective price points ~ not a dealer.

Hope these don't have to be really expensive speakers to qualify for this discussion.

I heard the Wilson Benesch Curves at the RMAF last year. They sounded pretty good to my ears.
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Yes, a little credibilty gap when there is no disclosure, where statements can be taking with a grain of salt when there is a commercial interest. The Wilson's did sound good though....
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Why do I always wait to see what you'll post?
You're a damn genius, that's why!

"Don't know why this can be such a difficult concept to grasp for some."

Did he reach 4,000 threads yet on the Gon-Show yet ?

Maybe it's the Gee-Wiz world record he is after ?

Designated big hitter !


Yeah. That seems to be an adequate assessment of my biggest shortcoming… not that I am as you say, but that I THINK I am. FROM TIME TO TIME.

However, I’m attending 3 humility meetings per weekk now so hopefully I can regain control somewhere down the road quite soon.

In fact they said recently, I wouldn’t have to wear this canvas coat nearly as much if I continue to progress steadily.



A long time back people said to me right here… “Never take seriously any audition of equipment if heard at a show. They are the worst place to formulate your buying decision upon ”

They went on to give reasons… such as less than optimal conditions… front ends comprised of gear you’re likely to never own due to it’s price… poorly addressed power conditions… cabling containing too much unobtainium… less than optimal time to determine things to your satisfaction… seldom will you get the hot seat to listen or the use of your own materials….

All of which sure made sense to me at the time… and more or less still does.

It serves no purpose to me to even hear components which are in some arrangement of which, I’ll never be able to own…. Even when the setup has been remarkably well done, I can see where making an on the spot choice can be inappropriate. At times.

Naturally, for those with loads more green backs to dispense, well, Yaaayyy for them I suppose.

Assessing outstanding loudspeakers in some hierarchy or concensous is fun to do I guess, but it’s just so arbitrary a thing and amounts only to TIME WELL WASTED.

Associated factors are just too extensive. Esthetics for one is always an item of note for me. Size is another. Etc.

I ALSO TEND TO LIVE IN THE FRONT END FIRST AND SPEAKERS SECONDARILY, CAMP. Knowing full well the value of both, I’ll agree with Chas too, with a great sounding front end and nice room, one doesn’t have to hock the ranch to buy speakers in order to have an outstanding listening event.

Once you get into the $6K to $12K +/- ranges, you’re in great speaker country. The front end and setup will either make or break any speaker, as will the room itself.

One example would be hearing from others here for instance, that either Avant Garde Trios or Focal Grand Utopias are the absolute best…. Really? In a 14 x 19 room set on the short wall?

With class D’s?

With SET amps?

Doubtful. Given the room size on either hand and the amps on at least one account. Given their costs… neither works for me…. Or for many others.

Peripheral factors are just too extensive in attaining loud squeakers for there to be any real and true concensus of ‘better or best’. …. Even from those with extensive squeaker ownerships.

I’d bet heavily that as those with great experience in various squeaker ownerships changed across the years, so did their systems, rooms, amps, etc…. and nearly as often. Yet in any case… such quantifications are the value of the poster and their own ears… notthose of the Ops.

It’s so infrequent in upper end audio that costly squeakers are outdone by inexpensive ones so much so that one can almost qualify the concept outright, that more $$$ cast towards a speaker set will yeuild one better speakers.

The real and always underlying and unnerving proposition is Which ones are going to give me a shot at a better listening experience for my own particular configuration than the ones I own now given these parameters….. etc.???
Hey, I have my canvas coats tailored at Saville Row...they fit tightly, (as prescribed by my...uh advisor), but look really great.
Yet another hilarious and entertaining one Jim.

Tvad & Paul

When some one who reads one of my threads and calls me to order a piece of gear I mentioned I will immediately contact you both. Until that day comes however it is probably not worth getting you knickers in a knot.

I trust that goners take every thread and not just mine with a grain of salt. I would encourage that, though I would be satisfied if they would simply take mine with the grain that I include in each thread.