i.d guess klipsch, old ar's, jbl, advent, boston, polk and the bane of audiogon,,,,bose. ha. with all the speaker designers and companies out there i guess i had better include martin logan and magnepan. gosh who did i leave out? i am sure there will be a few beat downs coming my way for ommissions. but these are american speakers by american designers that started my obsession in the 60s.70s. good question thanks
I don't know about "American Sound" or rather, what that might be, but I can think of a few really great American speaker designers. P.W. Klipsch was already mentioned. Jim Thiel. Richard Vandersteen. A few comparatively young bucks: Lou Hinkley (Daedalus), John Wolf (Classic Audio Reproductions), Duke Lejeune (AudioKinesis). I'm not sure if you can distill a particular approach or sound from that group, but they come to mind when I think of great speakers made in the U.S.A.
Is there a characteristic frequency response curve associated with 'American' designs, as there is for 'British' designs?
... fan of Avalon and Harbeth, it's safe to say that this is my preferred sound ...
What makes you think Avalon (Acoustics) is British?
It is made right here in the USA (Colorado to be specific).
I think, if there is an American sound, that the stereotypical, (no pun intended!), American speaker is a full range speaker. And so the Avalon speakers, are a perfect example of said sound. (Americans tend to have larger houses, which are more spread out, and hence the ability to have bigger, louder and more bass heavy speakers. This is a generalization of course, but since we are using stereotypes, it makes since to generalize.)
My two cents worth anyway.
There used to be a difference in East coast type sound as represented by AR and west coast as represented by JBL. These distinctions are not as meaningful in the current enviroment.
But essentially JBL and Klipsch both used horns to greater or lesser degrees. They had/have are highly sensitive with a more forward, agressive, defined sound compared with the less sensitive British sterotypical sound wich is typically more polite, laid back, and sweeter. Many will fall back on the analytical versus musical peaker debate. My own experience having taken a liking to a very analytical speaker which is French (Focal) and hearing other French speakers which are more the musical type (Triangle) that I safely conclude there is no specific National sound!
Joseph Audio, Green Mountain Audio, North Creek Music
Interesting thread. Muzikat, what do you suppose Green Mountain and North Creek have in common? I own North Creeks, and have auditioned the GMA Eos (and HD); I find the former to emphasize sweetness and musicality, and the latter to emphasize detail and imaging. Pretty different birds, I'd have thought -- or maybe I'm just tracking a difference in set up. John
They are both American made speakers, IMO they are both very musical.
I believe the time of "British Sound" has come and gone. As technology improves we all are listening to more accurate. There certainly isn't a Chinese, Danish, Japanese or German sound. That laid back mid range still exist and we think of that as British, but today, the Brits as the Chinese and Americans and most others are getting better and better at being accurate. Of course there will always be exceptions and I am speaking in terms of audiophile equiptment, but we have all gotten better. Good Listening, Tim
The best "american" sound IMHO centers around time-aligned or phasecorrect brands such as Vandersteen,Meadowlark, Green Moutain, Thiel, etc...for some reason...these brands put an emphasis on music as "time machines" while keeping the original waveform in tact...ofcourse there are those that downplay the importance of this componet of speaker building...but i do feel the results speaker for themselves...these types of speakers have a realism in the midrange that is hard to ignore...and i believe its a not a soley "american" invention but these brands seem to put alot more emphasis on it...just my .o2
Horns are the American sound. Just as Tannoy was British, JBL and Klipsch are American. Seldom do you find any horns in English households.
To name a few more:
Wilson, Devore, Western Electric, Altec, Jensen, Von Schweikert, Dunlavy, Revel, Meadowlark, Eggleston, Joseph Audio, Verity, Zu Audio, Magico.
Mechans, you got it exactly right! Did anyone ever wonder why the West Coast speaker sound is brash and snappy as exemplified by JBL and the West Coast style of jazz ( as opposed to bop) was more laid back and introspective as evinced by the work of Baker and Manne? Perhaps there are complimentary attributes at work here. Or perhaps I picked a fine day to give up huffing (compliments to the late Leslie Neilsen).
Historically, I always think of older JBLs as representative of stereotypical "American" sound. Prominent bass and lower "presence region" treble (relative to the midrange) and very dynamic sounding. Sort of the inverse of classic "British" sound.
I agree that, over time, most of these tags have become dated and are no longer particularly apllicable to contemporary speakers.
The most direct answer is this: The British sound was developed at a particular moment in time, by a particular scientific study, paid for by a particular government. This study presented facts and numbers in no uncertain terms and has had a great influence on everything acoustic and manufactured for this hobby. Albeit not the last word on anything.
The American sound on the other hand has been formed just as everyone has mentioned above. Entreprenuers spending their own money to produce a product unlike anyone else's. A product that satisfies what they want in a speaker and that has truly earned the praise and success they deserve in the marketplace. God Bless America and every other free society where a miracle like this can take place.
The West Coast Sound (American Sound) was developed as a response to the motion picture industry. Since sound tracks became part of the motion picture industry there was a demand for efficient systems which could fill large theaters with clear, undistorted and dramatic sound. There were no options but the use of large horn loaded systems. JBL, Altec & Stephens were leaders on the west coast. The East Coast Sound was still dominated by British design speakers or USA manufactures attempting to duplicate the British sound.
Viridian Thanks for your endorsement!
Muzikat: IMO, if GMA and North Creek are both musical, it's in pretty different ways. Could be just on my audition, but the EOS was analytical, while my North Creeks have always been rather relaxed. John
Is there a signature frequency response curve to American speakers (now or in the past) in the same way there is for British speakers with the BBC dip?
Muzikat: "IMO, if GMA and North Creek are both musical, it's in pretty different ways. Could be just on my audition, but the EOS was analytical, while my North Creeks have always been rather relaxed. John"
John, What's your point here? Are you trying to debate me on which of these speakers are the most "American Sound" or what? The OP asked for examples of American Sound. I gave him a couple of examples. Everyone has their preferences, like all of audio. You only want to challenge me it seems, but you have not contributed to the OP.
In your opinion which best exemplifies the "American Sound"?
Brf, good explanation. The American sound had its roots in Bell Labs/Western Electric whereas the British sound was derived from the BBC.
My apologies, Muzikat. I did not mean to debate you. My point was that if both speakers are "the American Sound," I'm unsure what that sound is, since the North and GMA strike me as quite different, and I'm not sure what the have in common, other than being made in the States. Unfortunately, I don't have anything to contribute the OP; I'm still quite unsure what the American Sound is, and was trying to get clearer on your contribution. No harm done, I hope.
Trying to pigeon hole the 'American sound' is, I believe, for naught. Our country is too damn big with too many points of view that to narrow it down would be academic, at best.
Yes, there were ground breakers, earth shakers, and revelations of all sorts but I don't think any particular one caught on as the definitive.
Long established, though they were, the older brands were displaced. Some of the essence has carried on since the designers of new had them for a reference but with advances on other fronts, contributions from those other links in the music chain have all contributed to and limited what can be 'that' sound.
The only exposure I've had to something old enough to be considered a contender for the American sound is the PHY drivers in something like the Tonian Labs line.
It started as an American speaker and was abandoned many years ago only to be realized and picked up by a Frenchman who saw the potential in it (if I have my story correct). He succeeded so well that the original maker asked if he could build the speakers for them but he was so busy, he had to decline.
Now, those speakers can qualify for contender of the American sound.