How many 'listen outside of the box' design?

Whether I owned electrostats or open baffle designs the majority of my audio life I've owned boxless speakers. My choices were made in part due to a logic of removing a 'box' from the equation of having to interact with a room. The more I thought about it it seemed a very logical choice. Why enter a speaker into a box and then have to deal with the resonation of the speaker interacting with the box and the room? I'm not saying successful box designs haven't been built, what I'm suggesting is box designs seem a more complicated way to achieve true room integration. I've discovered, dollar for dollar, I've exceeded most box designs. How many think as I do, or have experienced similar results based upon experimentation?
I haven't owned a box speaker since the early 1980's. I traded in my original DCM Time Windows for Magnepans and then my Magnepans for electrostatics and have never looked back...
Yes, in my main system I also listen to electrostats.

I do use a box speaker in another system, mainly for background music.
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I can't imagine listening to "traditional" speakers day and day out, the resonance is there no matter what the quality/price point may be. If you're looking for an alternative to panel speakers Gallo Reference speakers don't have a "box".
I have both Box and Electrostatic speakers in my listening room. I like both! FWIW the ported box speakers get the most use.
I have had box speakers and now am running soundlab m2's.
I will move back to a conventional speaker when I get older and retire but for now I feel these are just doing everything right for me.
I like design of this open baffle:) The guy who making these open baffle says it sound great with acoustic,instrumental music.I hope that one day I will hear how it sounds
Rleff - just curious as to why you would move back to box speakers when you retire? I have Martin Logan Summits and love the open sound stage. Based on a post on this forum I recently moved the Summits about 8.5-9 feet apart with very interesting results. I thought i might end up with a hole in the middle of the stage where the left and right channel didn't quite come together. That did not happen the sound stage got bigger but did not lose any focus and the base was much stronger.
Sgunther- I would probally be selling the home and moving into a smaller living space; the soundlabs do need some room to work their magic as you probally have a similiar
experience with your Summits.
However if I do have the space and last another 17 years I would plan to keep them but odds are against me on that if feel;but if I win megaball then that all goes out the window.
I could listen 24/7 and never tire;how about your logan's? On your spacing do you toe them in at all?
On the box speakers I have owned; dunlavy scIII's were very similiar to the m2's;I could live with the dunlavy's with no regrets I feel.
Outside the box,!Try two different speakers, from two different companies as a stereo pair.Or two different speaker types as a stereo pair.
I'm a box guy but love the looks and idea of the boxless designs...truth be told, I have very limited exposure to boxless designs and have only heard them a handful of times. While I love the looks of them, I just could never get into the fact that they have such a small sweet spot, or where they just set up wrong? I've only listened to Maggies twice, ML's once and Apogee Centaur Minors once and that was a long, long time ago...think I'm way overdue to hear them again.
If you think Magnepans have a small sweet spot,then something was wrong with the set up you listened to.
I'm not saying successful box designs haven't been built, what I'm suggesting is box designs seem a more complicated way to achieve true room integration.

I'm not sure the absolute goal is to "integrate" the speaker with the room, as much as to "recreate" the original venue's sonics in spite of the room.

Using a driver release system that must release backwave sonics that cannot do anything else but cause a reflected room distortion (sound not in the original recording) is just as problematic as the backwave being released into a cabinet.

All speakers have their trade offs and advantages. In general it will be your "preferences" as to how those trade offs are dealt with that will attract you to a design.
For years I listened to box speakers, but then tried a pair of Quad 63's for awhile.

I loved the Quads on small-scale works, chiefly classical and jazz. Their coherence was breathtaking. But they fell flat on large-scale stuff, orchestral and operatic. And they were a disaster on rock. I tried a pair of good powered subs with them, but never got the combination to integrate well.

I eventually went back to boxes and never regretted it. I think it is easier to get good full-range response and achieve good room integration with a well-designed box speaker than with a planar design. Maybe that's why the majority of high-end speaker designers go for boxes.

I am very happy with my current speakers and have no plans to change them. But I would love to hear some modern Magnepans, just to see what the fuss is all about. But that's not likely, as I would have to travel several hundred miles to do so.

Anyway, whatever speaker turns you on, go for it!
i have had a pair of maggies (mg12)in my main listening room for quite a few years now and love them to this day. i love the detail you can get even at low volumes. i do have small monitors in my smaller listening rooms (sonus faber and triangle)but that is just because i love to have music going wherever i am in my home. but if i am just going to listen to music it has got to be the maggies.
With Open Baffle speakers do they require extra special up-keep clean-up wise since the back of the drivers are exposed? Do extra air-filters or de-humidifiers need to be employed in a room that has Open Baffle speakers. The reason I ask is that I have to dust my speakers every couple of weeks to keep them presentable. Also I noticed some oxidation in some of my monoprice speaker wiring that is over 3 years old. I couldn't imagine having to dust the actual speakers themselves. Now with Maggies and other Electrostats how are those cleaned? If ever I venture "outside the box" I just want to make sure all that is needed.

Thanks in advance.
On my soundlab's I have custom covers that slips over them when not in use;but before that I vacuumed them with the attachment that has soft bristles and lowered the suction to keep them clean;also they were not powered up when sitting idle;I thought that helped control the dust that could be attracted to the membranes.
I have Hawthorne Audio Open Baffle speakers and really enjoy them. There is something about the sound that just seems very natural and effortless. I have also enjoyed listening to other boxless designs like planars (Maggies) and ES (Quads). Of course, no speaker does everything well but I find that OB's do a better job than most across the full spectrum of musical genres. It's also a bonus that OB type speakers tend to be much less expensive to build than box speakers.
I've been a Magnepan owner since the early '80s when I bought some pre-owned MG-1s. As impressed today, with my 1.6s, as I was then.....
Have Eminent technology speakers. I wish the macros dynamics was better, but that is it. It does so many things right, I know I would have to spend big bucks to better it with a box speaker. Every speaker design has some limitations. This planar speakers just sounds so pure and real. I think the mid operates from 80 hz to 10khz. No wonder! It does have a box woofer on it but other than the woofer having more punch than the planar drivers, it is very fast and box-less sounding.
The last monkey coffins I bought were my Advent New Larges (actually a gift) in 1978. They still provide sound for the kids in the den. But my first newer speakers were Vandersteen 1Cs, which have a more-or-less boxless design. I liked the openness and lack of cabinet colorations compared to similarly priced speakers I auditioned prior to purchasing them. When it was time to upgrade last year, I went with another unconventional, free-air design, the Ohm Walsh 2000. Being used to these designs has made me very sensitive to box colorations, which I can hear on many speakers. Sure, if you spend enough money, you can get a really inert, sonically neutral cabinet speaker. But in the more modest price range that I inhabit, these non-traditional designs offer freedom from these resonances and distortions that standard cabinet speakers rarely do, IME.
I don't know what they are called, exactly, but does anyone use regular cone speakers without enclosure? 'Open Baffle'? is that right?

A line source using say.....the Audience driver would be something I'd love to hear. No crossover using fullrange drivers.....

failing that, I'll stick with my panels......

Yes, an example open baffle would be my X-Static speakers
from AV123 (now out of business). I love the
sound of them.
>I don't know what they are called, exactly, but does anyone use regular cone speakers without enclosure? 'Open Baffle'? is that right?

Sure. I built a pair of Orions designed by Siegfried Linkwitz.

Everything good about panel speakers plus the sweet spot is much larger, the bass goes deeper, peaks can go over 100dB, and placement is less finicky.
While not "boxless" in the literal sense of the word, omni-directional and poly-directional designs often have a presentation reminiscent of an open-baffle or planar speaker. I believe that much of what a good open-baffle or planar speaker does well results from the relatively late-arriving backwave energy, and essentially the same effect can be generated by other techniques, some of which offer advantages in efficiency, bass extension, or dynamic headroom.
All recorded music is recorded through a box speaker, so what you are listening to is "box speaker music" coming out of your non-box speakers. Get it? Even that live music concert that you so desperately want to reproduce at home is coming at you through box speakers (the PA system) when you're sitting in the audience. My speakers don't sound boxy at all (SP Tech Timepiece 3.0) They sound like real music and disappear in my room. It all comes down to what sounds best to you.
You still have frames stators and diaphragms that resonate no free lunch for any loudspeaker. Also panels can rock back and forth as diaphragm moves. I do not feel these designs are as free from colorations as one thinks. Still estats planars ribbons can be wonderful sounding loudspeakers. Like all not perfect but for some maybe the best match for there room system or listening tastes. I spent many years with estats.
I have nothing against boxes or enclosures if done well, though I have always tended to lean away from them.

The OHM Walsh's in my setup are somewhat unique in how the downward firing driver is mounted in relation to the box, which comes into play mainly for the low end, which is where enclosures generally add value, so I like that particular approach to leveraging an enclosure. mbl and German Physiks use different drivers but a similar configuration regarding the enclosure.
I used to be a planar guy (owned Maggies and Apogees in the past), but box designs have come a long way. I'm now into box designs because I can get the bass dynamics and loudness levels I missed with the planar speakers, while still retaining the benefits of planars.
As the owner of both OB's and Planar's I thought it might be interesting to hear what other non box listener's have experienced. I imagine many of you, like myself, ventured away from box designs for a reason...namely the more lifelike presentation provided by a stat. I've tried box designs, Focal JM Lab, Dynaudio to name a few, and I still own a pair of Focal floorstanders that I use as rear channels in a HT setup, but aside from the OB's nothing I've heard comes remotely close to the midrange and upper frequency presentation of my stats. If I want to bass out for a bit I'll listen to my OB's, which even as natural sounding as they are don't approach the midrange delivery of my 'stats. It's true for some of us, once stat never back. The majority of criticism I've heard against them surrounds LF delivery, or a lack of integration between a panel and a sub. I've experienced successful results with well over a dozen pairs and models of stats.

To the poster who questioned ones ability to keeping open designs clean...I don't know anyone who listens 24-7. When not in use I simply treat my planars and OB's like I would a grand piano by keeping them covered, otherwise dust and airborne particles will only create work for you. All stats need to be regularly vacuumed, so this is a non issue.

I've not owned OB's but for a short time, thus I've no idea what long term exposure to the elements will be like, but I'd imagine corrosion concerns really are a non issue, but even so these Hawthorne Audio drivers are fairly inexpensive to replace...which brings to mind another major benefit of a non box or OB can easily upgrade their drivers, crossovers and other components easily or make continual upgrades, tweaks, and changes to their speakers anytime they choose. No box design allows for that type of convenience or ease of use.

A tip to keeping them covered when not in use - Old sheets work in a pinch. I recycle king sized sheets just for that purpose. In the past I've made actual form fitting covers for a few former pairs of ML's. My current Vista's came with two different sets of factory fitted covers, which I found very interesting considering ML didn't provide covers for any of their former speakers so it's nice to see they finally stepped up to the plate and provided covers. And yes, there's no power to them as long as their not receiving a signal so keeping this stat design clean and dust free really is a non issue.

I'll end by saying I've heard some pretty high end box designs but I've yet to own anything in a box design where I didn't hear the box, if you know what I mean. But hey, I believe in live and let live, so to each their own. Thanks for everyones input.


I lost track of this thread and didn't get a chance to say Thanks for your input on the maintenance of stats and OB speakers. You make a valid point about the ease of upgrading/tweaking.