Is The Overall Weight Of A Speaker Important?

The Magico Q7 weighs 750 lbs and costs $165K. What does added weight add to a speaker?

The JL Audio F213 subwoofer has two drivers and weighs 360 lbs. It costs $12k. It seems as the weight goes up, the price goes up.
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The overall poundage of a product is a design issue by the manufacturer. For loudspeakers it's usually related to cabinet construction. Large multi-way box speakers require large cabinets which dictates large weight.

As a consumer I am wary of and loudspeakers that I couldn't move around the listening room by myself. It would seriously discourage experimentation with speaker positioning. To my way of thinking a loudspeaker that requires a team of piano movers to position is ridiculously excessive.
Only in that the heavy speaker is better at geting the acoustical energy created by the drivers transferred into sounds waves instead of vibrating the cabinet or in some cases actually moving the speaker back and forth.

One of the cheapest tweeks that I currently employ is setting a very heavy weight, about 30 lbs, on top of my very compact subwoofer. It is a Velodyne that has an extremely long throw driver inside a cube barely larger than the driver itself. It turns out that the subwoofer was not heavy enough to keep it from moving back and forth when at medium or high output.

It's not like it was walking across the floor but the bass tightened up and the transient attack is noticebly better with the sub weighted down.
I agree that it has a lot, or everything to do with controlling cabinet resonances. Imagine what a Magico aluminum sub would weigh. I don't think they have any plans of making one.
I'd guess its more a matter of designing towards enclosure stiffness which may naturally add weight.

There are other designs that rely on the cabinets flexibility to produce a desired goal.
And the ANSWER is???
I think so. I shy away from speakers weighing under 60 lbs each.
Aluminum sub
Don't know if cabinet flexible is a desired goal but many speaker makers do not go to great lengths to tame any resonances and just incorporate them it into the overall frequency responce of the speaker.
It might matter to some flooring.
I've noticed the same thing with the weight goes up the price goes up. LOL!!
Weight has little to do with it. My Tonians are a semi open baffle design and much like an instrument, absorb and dissipate the sound energy as quickly as an instrument. They excel at tone and timbre. They weigh (maybe) fifty pounds or so.

In the end, it's just one of many ways to skin a cat as I've heard some great speakers that I could hide behind in a gunfight.

All the best,
LOL Nonoise my Eggleston Andra's II's would fit that bill!
08-02-13: Rok2id
And the ANSWER is???
i don't know if the weight of a speaker is important or not. The answer to that is: depends on what the designer intended.
For ex., the Audio-Note (UK) speakers are medium-heavy & sometimes even light considering their size. I believe here that the designer intended for some box resonance to be in sympathy with the music.
In another case, say, Rockports, the tall Von Schweikert, planar speakers, ESLs, the designer did not intend the cabinet to resonate with the music i.e. intended the cabinet to be sonically inert. In such cases, the cabinet is made of vcery thick material which is often multi-layered + the internal braces are made from metal (as in Magico's case). All this adds to the weight of the speaker. Exotic cabinet materials + metal inside adds to overall cost. And, with Rockports & Magicos many of their speakers are made with a no-holds-barred mind-set which further adds to the cost - the manuf is thinking that those models of speakers are not like Colgate toothpaste where everybody needs to have one. The sales are going to be single-digit #s per year. Thus, those models are priced accordingly in the un-obtainium band.
Another reason for weight - driver size. Bigger speakers often demand physically bigger drivers. Phyiscally bigger drivers require phyiscally bigger magnets, which weigh a lot more adding to the overall speaker weight.
Does a heavy speaker always sound better than a lighter speaker? not always.....

Thanks for your informative response.

The OP's question struck a cord with me, because I am always interested in the thinking or thought process that determines a product's desiogn or appearance.

I can see the design purpose in a lot of products, but not so much in audio. For instance:

Why does speaker design result in so many exotic looking products. After all this time, don't the makers know what makes a good speaker? Shouldn't they all look pretty much alike?

It's getting difficult to tell the difference between AirBus and Boeing these days.

Cars seem to be going toward small 2.0 liter turbo charged engines.

Military aircraft do look different, but that is based on mission requirements. And the differences are easily explained.

But when it comes to audio equipment, esp speakers, there is no rhyme or reason to the design that is obvious. At least not to me.

Reminds me of the Soviet space shuttle. Looked identical to US shuttle. The Russians said if you solve the problems you face, then the shuttle design is where the physics and science takes you. Liars for sure, but logical.

Why not the same logic in speaker and amp design?

Thanks for your post

Rok2id said:
Why does speaker design result in so many exotic looking products. After all this time, don't the makers know what makes a good speaker? Shouldn't they all look pretty much alike?

Actually I think that there are pretty good answers to your questions that result in the conclusion that there are good reasons why all speakers do not look alike.
1. Very different ideas on what constitutes "good sound".
2. Very different driver designs; dynamic vs. esl. vs planar magnetic vs. plasma vs. ribbon vs. horn
3. Single driver vs. 2 way vs. multi-way.
4. Very different ideas on what the partnering amplifier might be (power vs. voltage "source".
5. Full range vs. monitor.
6. Controlled resonance vs. non-resonant.
7. Cost constrained vs. cost-no-object.
8. Near field vs. far field use.
9. Omni-directional or not.
10. Aesthetics vs. sound vs. efficiency

Given all of these various design decisions, one could argue the opposite; that it's surprising that there are so many conventional box speakers. However, a more careful analysis would reveal that most cost-constrained, semi full-range, aesthetically neutral, low-moderate efficiency, voltage source friendly speakers do look alike; the "conventional" rectangular, taller than it is wide, veneer-covered mdf box housing a 2 or 3 way complement of dynamic drivers.

Not trying to give Rok2id a hard time; just pointing out another way to look at it.

I would classify your following points as 'mission' dependent. The design is 'end use' dependent. I get that.

Nos. 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10.

#1 is just just subjective. I get this.

Nos. 3, 6, are the type thing I was speaking of. Number of drivers? Resonance or no-resonant? Seems to me as if we should know which is more desirable.

And I was also thinking of the speakers that look like the bells of huge plastic horns. And the Italian made speakers that look like modern art. Large speakers with woofers at the top and bottom and the other drivers in the middle. I was just wondering what problem are they solving. I am sure they are good speakers, just don't look like the usual rectangular box.

Thanks for you post. Good points.

Not per se. But it may be indicative of things the designer has done that is important.

The best speaker I have ever heard is a smallish stand-mount two way where each speaker weighs nearly 50kg. The reason is is its made out of HD3 and lined internally with 3/4 copper plate to reduce resonances.

If you come across a speaker that weighs a bomb there is a reason and that is usually positive for the speakers performance.

I think you are setting up a false dichotomy, Rok2id. And by false I just mean incorrect, not implying purpose or making a value judgment. For example, #3 single driver vs multiple driver is very much mission dependent- if you are interested mostly in vocal and small ensembles, or if you value coherence over top and bottom extension, then single driver may be your cup of tea; but the mission is also dependent on the other components of the system. If you want to build your system around a flea watt valve amp, then a single driver or other high eff design is dictated, regardless of your musical preferences.

OTOH, if you want to achieve near realistic SPLs for orchestral music, then the "best" speaker may be a horn-loaded, multi-way design (if you fancy valve amps), but a large multi-way line source might fill the bill (if you want to achieve that w a moderate power class A ss amp.) If you've got to place the system in a multi-use (and multi-user) room, then that's probably going to rule out the Wilson Maxx or VS-9 type design so even if you need full range, you're probably looking at 2 way monitor or 3 way towers w a sub.

The "best" speaker design depends on the "mission", the "team", AND the end-user's weighting of the strengths and weaknesses of different design approaches. If there was one or 2 "best" high end speaker design approaches, then the high end market (which is by definition primarily sound quality driven) would weed out the inferior or highly user-dependent/mission-dependent designs and relegate them to the fringes. Of course, one could argue that the overall consumer market has already done that w the "the "conventional" rectangular, taller than it is wide, veneer-covered mdf box housing a 2 or 3 way complement of dynamic drivers" I mentioned above, which is clearly the "best" design for the majority of users (said only slightly tongue in cheek).

As for me, I say viva la difference! That's part of the fun of the gear side of the hobby, seeing how different combinations work to provide a satisfying home audio experience. Of course, I am completely ignoring the implementation side of the equation. I am sure that certain design choices are "easier" to implement satisfactorily than others, although I would be the first to admit that I do not have the technical knowledge to speculate about which those are. Maybe Duke or Johnk or Atmasphere or some of the other speaker or electronic designers could chime in and educate us on that issue.

To the OP- great thread, it's obviously made me think about this quite a bit. Thx.
Sorry for rambling on further, but there may be something to the weight idea. Similar to those who say that weight of an amp also correlates w SQ, due to importance of power supply, energy storage and output xformers, all of which come w significant weight. The laws of physics dictate that large boxes, large drivers, and/or large magnets are typically required to achieve an acceptable compromise btwn efficiency and frequency extension. Now there are some designers who are clever enough to provide at least the subjective impression of near full range extension w smaller boxes or lighter weigh panel designs, but you've still got to move air to make sound; and lots of it at low frequencies.

Your comments have changed the way I think about it. I was thinking that every speaker maker was trying to reach the holy grail or 'perfect' speaker. I now see your point, that speakers have different 'missions'. Just like cars, aircraft and every other product.

Thanks for the post.
Rega makes lightweight speakers, they claim excess weight just stores unwanted energy, same claim as their TT's.
I don't know if thats true, but I do know their speakers sound very good.
"they claim excess weight just stores unwanted energy"

If its unwanted energy wouldn't we want to store it someplace? If it is not stored where did this unwanted energy go?

Multiple English speaker makers have done an excellent job of using the box resonances from light enclosures to augment the bass output. The box resonance is "tuned" very much like you "tune" a port to be a positive addition to the overall frequency response.
Not much can be determined by weight alone other than how many people needed to lift.
You're welcome, Rok2id. I think that the takeaway here, if you think about it is, speakers are part of a system, which includes source, switching/control, and amplification at a minimum, in addition to the speaker. In a very important way, the system also includes the listener, the room and the software. The "perfect" or holy grail speaker is likely to be somewhat to very different for each and every combination.