My whole system was put together for progressive rock! I think the most dramatic impact falls to the speakers. I have Chapman T7's which really rock and throw a giant soundstage which is perfect for Floydian tunes. I've also heard the Legacy Focus 20/20's which were amazing with the Porcupine Tree I threw at them during the demo. They are on my short list for my next speakers. They really do rock! My other gear is tubes which are a wonderful combo with Prog. My Music Reference RM9II amp is beautiful with plenty of tube power for those wild Prog passages.
Keep in mind that most Prog is not well recorded, especially the 70's stuff. Most prog bands don't get the big contracts and so things are done on a shoestring. With the great equipment a good amount of the music sounds like it was recorded in a garage, which it very well might have been. With the big dollar bands like Floyd etc, things are truly amazing.
I always take Prog to my demos, and most shops are happy to let me listen, and some even ask, "Who is this?!"
Of course, the ultimate is vinyl, and thankfully bands like Porcupine Tree are still releasing material on vinyl. I love my Rega P25!
I guess I would say that my system was built for that purpose as well since prog rock, new and old makes up a significant portion of my collection. But ultimately, I found that the things that make the great prog rock great, are the same things that make orchestral and certain big band works enjoyable, at least to me - the ebb and flow, the large scale dynamics, and the intricacy. So I selected components capable of both detail and bombast, and landed with Jeff Rowland and Aesthetix for amplification, Simaudio and VPI for sources, and Wilson Audio for speakers. And yes, I always bring the first Gentle Giant album along to audition equipment.
My budget was alot less than $12,000 for speakers, I put a $5000 price on my entire rig. I ended up with Paradigm Studio 60 speakers, they imaged reasonably well, had the grunt down low and decent high frequency response. Been very happy with these and they're the only remaining piece after 6 years on the upgrade treadmill. They always responded to improvements upstream, never were the weak link. Getting to the point though where they're next to go.
Although alot of the prog releases are of mediocre recording quality, the remasters are often terrific!
The Rhino remasters of ELP, The Ocean digital remasters of Yes, the mini LP Fripp remasters of King Crimson and to a lesser degree, the definitive remasters of Genesis are all of high quality and shine on good audio gear. Porcupine Tree's catalog is high quality, Floyds stuff has always been top shelf.
Guess my preference for a progressive rock system is full range speakers and electronics with good imaging. Within reasonable $$ limits tho. Many audiophiles have $15,000 dollar systems and $1000 of CD's. I have over 2000 CD's ($20,000) and a $5000 system, wouldn't have it the other way.
Rock is not high-end-ish music.
It's more complicated to record well and therefore it often doesn't sound as good as Jazz or Classical.
Revdog, prog bands even with big contracts such as Jethro Tull havn't been recorded well on the most cases.
Contrary, Can being always an undergrownd band without any mega-million contracts, has excellent recordings (every single one of them), thanks to the Holger Czukay's extra talent of a recording engineer(no extra spendings to producers etc...). The reasons that it couldn't be played in NYC CES are
1)they're unknown to the public
2)they have a lot of sophisticated cacophonic reefs that would only be understandable to an experienced listener or musician.
FZ having some relation to a mix of everything also didn't sound well on many of his albums.
PROG is a four letter word !
sorry 'bout that ... I guess in the 70's ELP, Yes, Genesis never left my Technics TT, 'til I discovered Springsteen back then. Perhaps, my current love of Radiohead and post-Radiohead bands was based on that early diet of PROG.
Anyways, given the limitations of the early recordings, poor transfer to CD etc., you really will need to audition many of your favorite recordings on any potential components, rather than rely on other opinions. At the budget you're looking at, you will quickly discover that some of your favorite music may not be listenable at this level (unfortunately). If you really are into stuff from the 70's, a very good TT will be likely necessary along with pristine albums. But, in the end you want to listen to as much as possible when you audition, as you would hate to spend that much and find that half of your albums or CD's are unlistenable once you make your purchase. (I would often take 30 or more CD's for auditioning to really see what certain equipment was capable of ... perhaps, it drove some owners crazy !!!!) As well, remember that your own tastes and preferences can change and I wouldn't want to completely pigeon hole my system for a single genre or a few artists, in case you discover newer musical tastes.
From my own experience ... I know many people thought I was crazy looking at some of the equipment I auditioned, as alternative rock, and rock are not felt to be worthy of such equipment by some. In the end, I am amazed how listenable most of my stuff is on my very revealing system. As noted above, the size and budget of the artist is often inversely related to the quality of the recording. I mean it can be tough listening to most U2 CD's (despite their millions and great producers [e.g. Lanois, Eno etc.]), yet some of the low-fi recordings from many alternative artists are just beautiful to hear through my Kharmas even though they were recorded on a shoe-string budget in some basement.
Wow. I had know idea there were that many of you out there. Thanks for the responses. No, I'm not about to blow 12K on speakers just yet. The point I was trying to make is that many of the people selling high end equipment are not targeting me or my musical taste with their products - hence the dilema. I almost always listen before buying. My current system now consist of the Adcom 5802 amp with 750 pre, big Energy floorstanding speakers (can't bust 'em), MSB Link DAC 3, Velodyne sub and good/moderate cables. My question is, giving the poor recording quality of the 70's stuff, especially Genesis, my favorite, is there really any point in continuing the upgrade path. Or as I suspect, have the I reached the old proverbial "point of diminishing returns"? Your responses, as always are appreciated. By the way, I use live performances of the Musical Box as my benchmark. They recreate 70 vintage Genesis concerts to the tee. Matt...
I enjoyed listening to Genesis, ELP, Peter Gabriel and Yes just as much on my old RogerSoundLab Studio Monitor/Kenwood integrated/JVC CD player system as I do now on my VAC/APL/Von Schweikert rig. Having said that, used Von Schweikert VR4 Gen III speakers might be perfect for you "alternative rock" lovers.
for what it's worth, both pink floyd and peter gabriel use ATC active monitors at home and in their studios. why not listen to the albums on the same speakers upon which they're mixed/mastered?
have a look at my system - while i'm by no means a prog freak, i do own moody blues, rush, peter gabriel, pink floyd, syd barrett, etc and they sounds amazing (as does everything else)
Did I build this for Prog Rock? - I built it for everything, and Prog Rock is always close by, and I don't have to make excuses.
While my speakers may not be what you think of as Prog Rock big-thump speakers, with the sub up-a-bit, and the crossover set a little higher than normal, DSOTM sounds quite outrageous thank you.
With the monster image that comes from the ML's, as well with how fast they are with transients from synthesizers (try some Brain Salad Surgery), at warp volume, life is good.
Now, if only they had "welcome back my friends..." on DVD.
DREAM THEATER RULES! Anyway, I play ALOT of
prog rock on drums, RUSH, ELP, DREAM THEATER, YES,
GENISIS, etc. Right now, my system is known as a
MID-FI. (4)Kenwood Basic M2A power amps,
(4)Sony ES CX90ES 200 disc CD changers,
(2)Sony ES JA3ES Minidisc recorders WITH
2 mic inputs on the front of EACH of them,
for recording my drums of coarse,
Pioneer Elite C-91 Pre-Amp,
Yamaha MX-1000 Power Amp, as well as other stuff.
Feel free to experiment with other gear,
although the DAC`s in the Sony CD Changers are
VERY GOOD, it sounds like a LP,
the signal-to-noise is 116db.
And Infinity speakers.
Prog can be damn near anything (depending on who you ask). Alot of it will sound pretty hashy (not a drug reference) on any high resolution system. As stated earlier, this is often because of analog transfer crimes. Most of the RIO (Rock In Opposition) arm of prog (Univers Zero, Henry Cow (start w/ Leg end) Thinking Plague, Nimal, Hamster Theatre, Curlew, Blast, Octavo, Volapuk, Miriodor, Present) sound pretty delicious on any decent rig. Some exceptions to the old "it sounds horrible on cd rule",: Kollektiv/ 1st... Embryo/ Rocksession... Guru Guru/ Kanguru... PFM/ Per un Amico... Terje Rypdal/ Whenever I Seem to be Far Away...New Trolls/ Ut... Goblin/ Roller... Kraan/ Live 74... Wolf/ Saturation Point... Thirsty Moon/ You'll Never Come Back.. (Most all the Can stuff is so great that fidelity almost doesn't matter, haven't heard the new remasters yet, any opinions out there?). Some newer stuff that sounds great: Ganger/ Hammock Style... Tortoise... Anglegard... Uzva... Alamaailman Vasarat... Ui... Crater... Dues ex Machina... Tipographica... Nels Cline... DFA... Cul de Sac (ECIM). You'll want something not painfully bright that can deliver high quality thud and good textural detail, but it's not easy to get really get specific about what gear works best since there's such a huge range of engineering priorities out there under the big prog rock umbrella.
Listen to lots of prog on my system. Since I'm going to see the Flower Kings this weekend been playing lots of stuff with Roine Stolt. This type of music has never sounded so enjoyable since I got a tube amp!
Ooops, that's Deus ex Machina
great thread . . . I'm a prog freak from the 70's and most of my music collection (ie about 40%) is prog, with the balance being Jazz, Folks, Classical, Bluegrass, etc.
I had concluded recently I would set up my main rig for optimal acoustic/jazz/voice listening. My premise is most prog doesn't challenge a system because of the quality of recording that is typical, and previously mentioned. That said, I have found that prog needs deep bass, and must play loud - so that's been my primary prerequisite. In tuning my systems for prog listening I've found that the power amp and speakers are more important than the front end. My old Infinity Monitor IIa speakers that I drove with a Phase Linear 400 in the 70's were wonderful for Prog, and still are. I still have the Monitors, but am driving them with a Bedini 100.100. They are flat from 22Hz to 26kHz. My Totem Sttafs image wonderfully and I can listen to them all day for most music, but weren't as satisfying for Prog because of the absence of deep bass, until I added a Rel Storm III. I'm still afraid to play them really loud so I don't consider them optimal. I'm experimenting with other speaker/amp combinations to see if I can improve on the Monitor/Bedini system.
The majority of my collection is rock and I have built my system accordingly. I have the VR4 GenIII spkrs that Tvad mentioned mated with an Ayre V-1x amp and modded Meridian CDP. I'm currently on a tube preamp search & am now auditioning a Thor.
I was at the CES earlier this year & had a very heavy bass track on a rock song that I carried with me & asked to be played & guess which room it sounded the best in? Yep, with the VR SR's. Interestingly, Albert was using big tube amps (VAC) to power these, so synergy is key.
As important as synergy is, personal taste should be what dictates your choices but if I had $12k to spend on spkrs, I would also audition the Avalon Eidolon, which can be had used at that price and also the Montana KAS, along with the VR SR's.
I will preface this by saying that I'm not real bright, but how does one build a system to reproduce one particular style of music? If a system accurately reproduces Pink Floyd, or King Crimson is there any reason it would not do so for a Mozart piano concerto or a Carl Orf cantata?
How are these different?
This is where the controversy enters the picture.
In theory, no. If a system "accurately" reproduces Pink Floyd, or King Crimson, there not a reason it would not do so for a Mozart piano concerto or a Carl Orf cantata.
It all depends on how you define the word "accurately".
I would say the emphasis w/rock would be a spkr. that produces plenty of bass, so a large floorstander would fit the bill. Some folks might opt for standmounts w/sub but I've never liked the integration. Depends on personal preferences.
Then in order to deliver the music in excess of 100 dB's w/o distortion (if required), one would need to have an amp capable of doing the job. Not meaning to deviate into an amp thread or any other component, let me just say not all amps (components) are created equal & some will do the intended job better than others. Again, remember it's all about personal tastes.
The source would need to be on the warmer side of neutral to cover up recording flaws & the cables would follow this pattern. Of course this IMO and that's how I like to listen.
I agree with your precept that the system doesn't know what it's playing, so a good sounding system should be able to reproduce all music accurately but different genres of music emphasize different aspects of sound reproduction & not all stereo gear does all of these things the same way.
It basically boils down to individual taste & I believe the more we personalize our systems, the more it tends to be in line with the type of music we prefer.
Another Prog head here, interesting thread !!!
nrchy - we are in 100% complete agreement! mark the calendar! stop the presses!
that's exactly why i built my system the way i did.
and nrenter - accuracy is not subjective. it's measurable and real. one may prefer a certain style of distortion, but they're wrong if they call it accurate.
I agree with driver, it really does come down to personal taste. My system is light in the bass department but I accept that tradeoff for the huge soundstage and incredible mids I get from my Dunlavy/PrimaLuna combo. The Krell I used to use had more bass but I find myself listening to more music now than I used to because the krell tended to make average cd's(many prog) sound bright. I find myself putting on an album and listening to the whole thing now. I guess that must mean I enjoy what I have.
Yes9 said :My question is, giving the poor recording quality of the 70's stuff, especially Genesis, my favorite, is there really any point in continuing the upgrade path. Or as I suspect, have the I reached the old proverbial "point of diminishing returns"?
Before I replaced my Sonic Frontiers preamp, I would have agreed pretty much on this idea of diminishing returns. But, after buying and using the Ayre K-1x preamp(using balanced in/out), I believe there is much to be gained via upgrade, sorry to say!
As far as early Genesis, the texture & layering of Tony Bank's keyboards and Hackett's guitar are so sweet, I have never heard it like this, and I bought these albums new 30+ years ago in 1972-1974, and have never stopped listening to them. I marvel at what I have missed on these over the years. (The remastered CDs are what I listen to now; LPs are well-worn by now).
Try the Mike Oldfield remasters...VERY nicely done, long cuts,worth the $10 they can be found at!
You can't talk about Prog these days without mentioning Porcupine Tree. Most of their stuff is on LP too.
My system, while not designed to play rock at all, is fine with it (and I tend to be brutal about it...) and I am one of those at the shows that plays stuff like that all the time- King Crimson, ELP, Camel. Didn't make Stereophile this year though...
Being a HUGE Gentle Giant fan, I have often used the Octopus CD, along with Masque by Brand X, and a few others to audition audio equipment. I have always tried to purchase gear that was the most accurate, revealing, transparent, etc. I think if you have some good recordings of piano, acoustic guitar, drums, cymbals, violin, brass, concentrate on equipment that makes all of this sound natural. Then poorly recorded music or electric instruments will be as good as they can be. You don't have to design a system around Prog or Classical, as mentioned, stress accuracy and you'll be fine.
I'm not sure if you own a turntable, but you simply haven't HEARD "Octopus" til you've heard a decent vinyl pressing of this great recording.
In my system, the bass is at least a full octave deeper, and all other parameters (dynamics, high-end clarity, soundstage, etc.) is noticably better...
I also listen primarily to "prog rock" and am fortunate enough to have a good friend who constantly seeks out "new" GREAT prog rock bands -- those of you who can find 'em, and are fans of Genesis, YES, ELP. etc. will probably really like "Ad Infinitum", Simon Says "Paradise Square", and a few others that are recent, clean, dynamic digital recordings.
I am probably quite a bit younger than some here so I did not grow up with 70's prog.
But I am heavily into modern Prog Rock and you would be suprised that almost all prog these days has very high production values, much more so than average music recorded today.
If you like stuff like Yes, ELP, Kansas e.t.c check out
Arena (ex Marillion members, brilliant)
and prog rock with a bit more harder edge
Pain Of Salvation
Well, since I started this thread I figured I would weigh in. Besides for all the new prog rock suggestions, which I thank you for, I have concluded the following: While I agree that a great system should be able to reproduce any type of music, my question still remains; at what price point? Assuming that most of us have some limit as to what we can spend on this hobby/obsession, some tradeoffs have to be made. For example to reproduce the music I like realistically (using live music as the benchmark as opposed to audiophile values or what just gives me the most enjoyment), requires certain basics. One is large, floorstanding speakers, a larger than "average" amp and yes, even a subwoofer - base pedal afficiados know what I mean - all capable of playing @ 100 decibals+. All of this naturally eats into the budget of say more "resolving" equipment just to provide the necessary shear volume and power. Second, there are practical considerations. I loved the sound/imaging/disappearing act of the Martin Logans I listened to. But you can't ride them at the levels I listen (per 2 dealers) or they are going to simply break eventually. Not to mention the size room needed to set them up properly. In conclusion, I'm going to stick with my current system (12K and running) and just modify and tweak just to keep things interesting. That's not to say I won't listen to the ATCs that Lazarus recommended! If they are good enough for Gabriel and Gilmore - enough said! Thank you all again. Matt......
Yes9 the price point for good quality is always going to be subjective. For what are you willing to settle? I have about about $2300 in my system which I do not consider to be state-of-the-art. BUT it is nearly as good as ALbert Porters system!
Those ATCs are really fantastic speakers. I was in the market for a pair for several months, but could not find any so I grudgingly went another direction. Based on my ML expereince I would prefer the ATCs, but it's always up to the buyer. I'm not sure if Peter Gabriel and David Gilmour went out and bought a pair of them though. They really don't have much control over what the studio happens to buy.
No one mentioned Planet X?...excellent recording for trying out at stores..(it was enginnered/produced by drummer Simpn Phillips)...
I learned, now that I have vintage speakers at home, that its the volume you listen to that make or break the choices...
I play quite loud (to me) and these EV12trxb paper coned coaxes werent meant for pounding rock...but wallah!, they do...When I got my UK plum label LP of Yes' Fragile, my jaw almost dropped..bloody awesome! but if I cranked them up higher, I may tear the cones off the surrounds!..:-),,and I am operating with vintage Mcintosh MC40's or Berning EA-230 tube triode.
the bass is produced by the 12" driver...I am not sure if 8" or less as a midbass/bass driver will give you that visceral feeling, unless your room is small.
and they EV's play classical and Jazz great..I am yet to hear a better rendered piano.
Jsugo, that's my dilema. The Energy Audisey 5+2 speakers I have can literaly take a beating. And they pound out all the base required for the job. Energy also stocks parts going way back, so even if you do break something, you can order a replacement at a reasonable cost. They also can be placed relatively close to the wall - 18". BUT they are not the word in resolution nor do they image that well compared to the MLs. But I totally agree that the volume you listen at is going to limit speaker options at least in my price range. There is always the lottery!
BTW where did you get the UK plum label recording? Thanks, Matt...
Matt...I found the LP on Ebay,,not terribly expensive, not cheap either.
The one thing is that with speakers, its a pain in the rump to buy and then sell if you dont like,,,at least I ALWAYS buy used, for $$ loss-free turnaround. I find myself more concerned with timbral accuracy, tone, fatigue free for hours of listening, and overall balance...To me, soundstaging and imaging are not that important.. When in a live arena/theatre, that almost doesnt exist, unless your in the first 5 rows of a chamber music performance.
Is it really that important that the guitar be on left/basson right, with the singer 3/4 to the right? as long as the sound makes sense, who cares...
I was going to suggest JBL L-96's or Altec Valencias...teh valencias give you the clarity of horns, plus the 15" woofer...I also dont think that there is a better rock speaker than the JBL L-96...refinement galore (one of the best mids ever made) plus it can take power galore.
Legacy focus 20/20 is probably about as good of rock speaker as you will find
All these prog freaks on this site, and I've hardly seen anyone mention Camel, or Carvan (this thread or elswhere). You 70's guys . . . What am I missing?
Actually you are missing quite a bit. If you want a good jumping off point to investigate current activities in progressive rock check out www.progressiveears.com.
The Laser's Edge
progressive rock often uses the studio as an instrument, so so the traditional audiophile qualities get thrown out the window, which is fine.........jane,barclay james harvest, rare bird,manfred mann's earthband... yeowza
thanks Ken, I am familiar with the Progressive Ears site, and visit it and others now and then, but your post caused me to go out and get an update. I'm familiar with many of the bands mentioned there and in this thread. My point was to note I don't see mention of Camel, or Caravan much if at all in the A'gon threads. There's lots of discussion of Genesis, Gentle Giant, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, and the other 70's bands and also Porcupine tree, Spock's Beard, etc (ie the contemporary) acts. The bands I mention here are just a few of the the ones I favor most, and Camel, Caravan are among the top of my favorites list. I saw Camel on their "Nod and a Wink" tour and it was a great show. I think Nod and a Wink, and Rajaz (both released in the last 5 years) are as good as anything done by any other band in that time.
While I think that Camel and Caravan have lapsed a bit past their prime I did get to see them play at NEARfest a few years ago and they still played with a lot of intensity for a bunch of old farts! My favorite Caravan album remains In The Land Of Gray & Pink, while Camel's Mirage is one of my all time greats.
I built my system around Vandersteen 2CE sigs. Tube Audio design 150 Preamp, McCormack DNA-1 power, Just bought an Eatern Electric CDP. I like the set up because all these components are nuetral and well-balanced. A lot of energy with the McCormack Amp. Great soundstage by all these units.
I have to admit never being familiar with the Legacy Focus 20/20, but after Chad's comment, I decided to check out the Stereophile review, and I have to say they are very interesting. Beautiful, too.
KEN GOLDEN IS THE #$&***!!! ... this guy is at all the big prog festivals and Lasers Edge (his label) puts out some of the finest brain fry endorphin rock ever released!! The Addition by Subtraction, Neblenest and Volare discs alone put him in the history books. It's great to see him posting!!!
Thanks for the endorsement. We've got a monster prog rock disc coming out in a few weeks you should check out. The band is called "Wobbler". They are the opening band at NEARfest this year.
Bob Katz did the mastering and it is drool worthy. It is one of the most dynamic rock recordings I've ever heard - this disc EXPLODES. Mellotrons, flutes, Hammond organ, Rickenbacker bass, Moogs, ARPs, grand piano, electric and acoustic guitar and percussion up the ying-yang. It's totally over the top prog and an extremely transparent recording to boot.
I'm always happy to talk prog...always happy to talk audio...extremely happy to talk about both at the same time.
The Laser's Edge
I have been buying cd's from Ken Goldens www.lasercd.com for over 5 years now (probably close to 250cd's). One of the best sites on the net for Prog, no im not associated in any way.
Often I read that rock (progressive or otherwise; is there regressive rock?) needs speakers with lots of bass. I think what is much more important is smooth, non-etched, non-tizzy highs & non-pushy or too-forward mids. There is enough of this in the music & you need to complement these features rather than highlight them. You also need to deal with close-miked vocals, which can sound terrible & acidic with over-detailed tweeters. Wilsons sound strident on rock, as the tweeters transmit all distortion loud & clear. I think Aerials, nice & polite, are very good on rock (I used to have 10ts). I also thought the Appogee Stages had a nice live sound while still smooth & involving.
I don't know what type of music I built my system around, but I still enjoy listing to progressive rock from the 70's whenever the mood strikes, because that's all I was into back then. Prog rock sounds pretty damn good comming out of my Basis TT, CJ EV-1 phono pre, Threshold pre,and power amp powering my ML Aerius i 's. My imagination tells me, if you're going to build around prog rock, go with CJ tubed pre with high powered CJ SS amp powering Vandersteen or Legacy, or the speakers Rgs92 suggested. Large woffers are the ticket. BTW has anyone listen to any Renaissance lately - Annie Haslam can sing her ass off.
Boy I hope this answer doesn't make me sound like a shill...
I'm not sure that you would want to assemble a system that sounded best with one type of music, unless of course that is the ONLY type of music you listen to. Eons ago I used to own Apogee Calipers. I never liked the way they sounded with rock but if I played a string quartet they were mesmerizing. I think you are better off trying to put together a well balanced system that sounds uniform with all genres of music.
Having said that...I heartly endorse Cerious Technologies speakers. The designer Bob Grost is a prog rock freak. When Bob was running Unity Audio he used to voice his speakers using Kraan and Gordon Giltrap albums. Peter Gabriel and Tool are always heavy in his rotation. He's an utter bass freak as well and able to extract articulate and deep low frequencies out of small footprint enclosures. I've been using his designs in our label's reference system for many years dating back to his days with Unity Audio. I moved up the UA food chain over the years culminating in a custom set of their top of the line PARMs. Now that he's started up Cerious Technologies I've jumped over to the Cerious Ceramic References and frankly they are the best speakers I've ever heard - and I've heard a lot. They do prog rock (and jazz and classical and...) quite nicely thank you.
So...if you are looking for something that could be construed as a "prog rock speaker" you should check out his forward thinking designs. Shortly you'll start seeing a buzz generated about his liquid ceramic cables as well. I tend to get a bit evangelical about his work so pardon the gushing.
The Laser's Edge
Gentle Giant - 35th Anniversary Edition: Has anyone else checked out these remasters? I picked up Freehand this week. WOW!
Lazarus28, You are correct in saying that accuracy is not subjective - but it does depend on the definition. I believe it is measurable and real. But who on Audiogon is thinks their system isn't "accurate"? Whether they are right or wrong is another discussion.
Let's see if I can keep this on-topic...
I like rock. All kinds of it. And there some hardware that just doesn't do it for me when it comes to rock. When it comes to speakers, I don't think horns can rock. I don't think planars can rock. I don't think electrostats can rock. I don't think single-driver speakers can rock. However, you'll have people swear up-and-down that these are some of the most "accurate" speaker designs in production.
Who is right? Depends on how you define "accurate". Ruler-flat requency response? Phase shift? Time aligngment? Dynamic response? All of the above? It depends.
nrenter nails it , almost. horns do rock thousands of live shows and can rock in the home too. i'm not talking about those delicate single driver things in the endangered wood cabinets.....i'm talking jbl,altec,klipsch......
In most of the CES rooms you're allowed to test equipment with your own CDs wether it's prog or jazz or whatever.
Don't forget your couple of CDs next time or vinyls where applicable...