Rap music on high-end speakers


I have audiophile taste in gear, but not in music. I listen to rap music, and occansionaly R&B. Is there anyone out there like me? What do you listen for when buying gear? I was wondering what are the benefits in getting better gear? I want to upgrade the speakers to either proac response 3.8 or wilson cubs. Here is my system:

Levinson No.23
aranov ls-9000
Platinum audio reference 2
Paradigm servo 15
kimber speaker wire
esoteric component wires
amc cdm7
Very funny...almost had me going there
Bose will do just fine
I know just what you mean. My old system was an esoteric French tube integrated Lectron JH-30 feeding Quad 57 electrostatics and I thought Jimi Hendrix never sounded better. A purer, more direct connection to the midrange always helps the listener find the expression inherent in the recording. Better equipment helps you find that connection.
This is how high end gets a bad "rap."

As signed by the original poster........(it's) Tru...Tru.
Regardless of the type of music you listen to your equipment should have as a minimum low distortion, wide bandwith and flat frequency response. Obviously, hip/hop/rap requires strong bass capabilities which you seem to have covered with the subwoofer. The Wilsons would nicely compliment your system, but rather than the Cubs, you might want to find a pair of WITTs.

Better music reproduction systems should be able to handle everything from Mozart to Ella to Pink Floyd to Wu-Tang.

Natalie, I'm truly surprised by your elitist response.
Listen to whatever you want to. I listen to R&B and Jazz (non traditional mostly) and I'm into highend. I was at a highend shop once where this guy put in a rap CD and the salesman almost died. The customer asked him what the problem was and he replied that he should be listening to something else (more audiophile like). Well the customer got another salesman and ended up buying a pair of B&W 801s. I guess the original salesman pick that one right. Look if you are the customer and you are the one who is is going to live with the speakers play whatever music you are going to be listening to when you go try out speakers. Whenever I go I always take CDs that I know and most of the time people don't like it but I don't care because I'm the one buying.
Do you actually sit there and critically listen to rap music, for its "sonic charachter" or "musical content" if that is the case you should get your head examined, sure listen to what ever you want(I have a few Rap CD's). But listen to that stuff cranked with some friends over, don't sit in the dark, drinking some "henney" and critically listen to the latest Lil' Wayne, it just is not intendid for that type of accurate reproduction.
Natalie, thank you for saying it like it is about rap music; there is nothing elitist about saying rap has about as musicality as bose equipment has audiophile-like quality; come on people, didn't the recent events of this year wake up those who had problems expressing an opinion, even if that opinion means putting down something or someone
Hey everyone,

thanks for all of the responses. Danvect, whats so funny? I am serious here. Natalie, I think you own a Bose system. Also think about this. Why would recording artists use expensive gear to record and playback their music. Even if its rap, they need good equipment to hear what they recorded. Albertporter, you have no clue what you are talking about. I hope you are joking. Tireguy, same goes to you about the expensive gear that they use to record their music. No I dont sit there and listen to the sonic character. But I do listen to how good it sounds on my system. Any music sounds better on a good system no matter what. Even if I wanted to sit in the dark and critically listen to Lil'Wayne. Why was it not intended for this? Come on smartie. It is music isnt it? Bryans, I know what you mean. I have had this done to me many times. It is kind of funny. To the rest of you guys, thanks again for the comments. I want to hear more comments.
I was wondering if anyone out there could recommend a good model Wolf Stove, I will be using it mainly to reheat condensed Campbell Soups and an occasional pack of Top Ramen.
Tru, How are you doing? I have done business with Tru and he came over and bought some gear from me. I was surprised to see another person with this kind of taste in gear listen to rap. I listen to some rap, and I have very nice, expensive gear. You stuck up audiophiles need to know that music is music no matter what kind it is. Just because it isnt the same music that you listen to doesnt mean that it is wrong. Hey Albert are you making fun of TRU's audiogon name. TRU happens to be a group from the multi platinum selling company no limit records. I read your bio and I thought you had more class. I guess not. I am just glad that their is still some audiophiles that like to share positive comments with each other, no matter what their taste in music or gear is.
if you really listen to rap then buy some cerwin vegas. dont they have woofers as big as a truck. i hope you do not live close to me. it is also true 801 b&ws will take your head off with bass.

Why cant you keep your stupid comments to yourself. I dont mind criticism, but do you have to be so cocky about it. Come on, arent you a grown-up. Please if you have just rude comments dont post them up. If you have real suggestions or advice let me know. Kirk930, About the Cerwin Vega's, they sound like garbage. They do produce a lot of bass, but most or all of it is just boom. Rap music is not all about bass. I dont even like the loud boomy bass. I like the bass to be tight and fast. I listened to the B&W's, and thought they sounded pretty good. thanks for the comments. I hope to see more
Tru- Sorry if I came across as offensive, I thought you were kidding. If you want highs in your eyes and bass in your face, go for some Klipsch speakers, and use your sub, that would give you the sound you are looking for-I think?? And the only reason they use good gear to record that stuff and to play it back on in studios is that is what is already there, they are not going to make there own 'thug' recording studio. If there was a cheaper way for them to do it I am sure they would. Enjoy it!
Tru, my exposure to rap is tiny -- but, I'll chime in. Analysis: You need a mighty and controlled low-end and (some at least) low-mid precision, to reproduce computer generated bass and percussion. You also need mid-range clarity in order to follow what is being said. The upper register (over 13kHz) may not be critical -- but always good to have in order to distinguish the provenance of sound effects and of rythmics elements.

SO, fast ebough speakers (for rythmic effects), good midrange, spl tolerance, and control to at least 40-50Hz. B&W, Audio Physic, Klipsch, Tannoy maybe, Egglestone, active ATC -- the big offerings...
...however, you may find many of these good but performers but too "POLITE". Also may be unnecessarily expensive.

ALTERNATIVELY, a smaller model of the above coupled with a good sub could do the trick for you!

Your ears and involvement will decide when you audition: are you rapping along or not?
Tru, speakers are the hardest part of the audio chain to recommend. You are probably younger than most of those who have responded. I do not believe anyone should be criticized for their tastes in music. I don't like classical because it bores me to tears. I would never think of slamming someone because they like classical. I think Onhwy61 gave you very good advise. Also,Get out and hear as many speakers that you can. People have been telling me for years that Dylan can't sing. Tom Waits can't sing. Well, all I can say is they are music to these ears. Good hunting. Hang in there. Don't worry about the snobs. You are the only one you have to please.
Hey folks, Do ya know that Miles Davis was rappin' too?
I have a few rap albums also and I do believe that midrange reproduction in rap is realy more important than bass for the critical listening. There is a rap where you can distinguish words and realise that there is a piece of poetry down there!
Based upon some of the above posts, it seems that many audiogoners believe a certain type of "music" is not worthy of hi-rez playback. Do I detect a certain stench? Is it possible that those protesting most loudly have systems that can't handle the bass dynamics and rhythmic agility required for hip/hop. Maybe those with their glass driven planars or stand mounted mini monitors should stick to music by DWM or maybe that TAS disc with the dulcimer.
I have been reading this chain and a philosophical discussion on aesthetics (what is beauty, are there defendable or identifiable musical values that are recognized by everyone? or is there nothing and so anything is good if I say it is good, etc.) of some length would be needed to sort this out. When I was in art school many years ago I remember reading the "Art of Zen and Motorcycle Maintenance", "What is a Masterpiece" and other such books in an attempt to understand my judgement of what is good, what has value, and WHY. An important book in my pursuit of understanding musical values is Aaron Copeland's book "How to Listen to Music". My personal views are that, while I may enjoy for sentimental or emotional reasons listening to some music with immature or poor musical values (such as old Yes or Deep Purple or whatever you want to put in here)I would maintain if you are really passionate about music and interested in GROWING then you will seek out, experiment, try to understand and educate yourself on more advanced ideas about music and ultimately be more satisfied with the aesthetic experience.
I'll recommend Dynaudio 3.0, and by the way i'll take Rap over Garth Brooks at any time.

I don't listen to rap/hip-hop. However, my son does and he had DMX on my system. I have JM Lab Electra 915.1's and I was surprised at the micro-details I could hear on this recording. And, I thought his vocals were presented nicely.

I've heard the Proacs and was impressed with their bass punch and extension. Never heard the Wilson Cubs so I can't comment.

I think alot of "Audiophiles", including myself, get a little self-righteous at times but threads like this hopefully can help with tolerance of other music types.
One of the worst things about Hi-Fi is the limited genre of music that most audiophiles promote. I find that I can't walk into a Hi-Fi shop without some dealer mentioning the same old 20 to 30 year old rock recording that was recently remastered. Especially if they find out you don't listen to just clssical music.

The truth is a lot of audiophiles are completely out of touch with new music. Be it Rap, Trip Hop, Post-Rock, Electronica, legendary independant record label bands or even techno remixes of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan- you won't find new music being auditioned by a dealer in a hi fi shop.

What you can find is music that has a much better recording than performance. Or music that you have heard a million times. I love Kind of Blue, Dark side of the Moon and good recordings the Bach's Brandenburg symphonies but c'mon!

There is so much new music out there that is incredible. There is a ton of older undiscovered music that was influential on the mainstream bands. Anyone listen to the new Neu! re-releases? And yes it is something to sit in the dark and really dissect the musical lines, feel the composition and how your system is reproducing them. Why are people so uncomfortable doing this with new music?

Good performances are always enhanced by good equipment. Isn't that the point of this hobby?

I was auditioning some speakers awhile back. Everything was good at first. Put in some Stevie Ray Vaughn, then some female vocal stuff. Speakers sounded great and everyone around approved of my selections. Then put in Rob Zombie and guess what happened... yep, bad looks and worse sound. I was listening to Soliloquy 5.3 speakers being driven by some expensive YMB and McCormick gear.

I had just experienced my first case audio-snobbery. I guess in order to be an audiophile you have to like ONLY music generaly accepted by middle-aged, british gentlemen.

The speakers I was auditioning sounded fantastic with blues, country, classic rock and vocals, but not so great with the hard bass, and computer distorted sounds of really Hard Rock. So if you find a speaker that does all of them great, let me know.

I can't believe these audiophiles are always in the mood to listen to the same type of music all the time. You know I bet even Harry Connick, Jr listens to some Led Zepplin or Pearl Jam now and then.

High fidelity is wasted on hip hop. Why? Hip hop producers aren't concerned with fidelity. How do you know? Well, whenever I hear hip hop, the fidelity is horrible. Oh, so you listen to it at home? No, I don't like hip hop. Oh, but then you must have audiophile friends with hip hop tastes? No, none of my audiophile friends would bother with that. So how, exactly, do you know that there is no high fidelity information in hip hop if you've never listened to a hip hop recording on a high fidelity system? Ummm...

I am sorry if my comments angered you. I too listen to mostly 80s and early 90 hip hop, LL Cool J, Naughty by Nature, 2 PAC, etc...my point of my post is that that music is produced for mainly two objectives, low end bass,and tizzing highs. Im not knocking the content, you don't need high end gear to run low end. Go to the local flea market (which I do) and the systems they run compliment and reached the intended goal of the production. Can you buy an amp which puts our good low end? Yes, Krell, Levinson. Can you find a speaker, DAC, analog set up that is Engineered for ONLY low end in mind, and overproduced highs? I don't think so. The pursuit of highend gear for overproduced RB, and Rap is like driving a Hummer in LA.
Have you tried some rock-a-billy polka-punk as a counterpoint to the rap?

The last time I auditioned speakers I used: Vladimir Horowitz, E. Power Biggs, Monte Montgomery, Neil Young (live cut of "Hey, Hey Into the Black" - lots of distortion/feedback), AC/DC, Pearl Jam, Van Morrison, Joe Ely, Leo Kottke, Frank Zappa, Miles Davis, and Natalie Merchant. Sorry, no hip-hop/rap. Closest is FZ's Surgeon General rap on "Broadway the Hardway."

By all means - upgrade your speakers. If you get the Cubs, you'll need a sub-woofer or you won't have deep extended bass. Better put a Sunfire Signature sub on your shopping list or the Wilson sub-woofer (if you have that much $$).
To Justlisten:Can I subscribe to your newsletter?
Tireguy, Not a problem. I like to hear peoples opinions. I dont like the sound of Klipschs for the same reasons as most people. Also rappers dont use expensive gear just because it is there. I have seen some rappers design their own recording studio. Gregm, you are right on. I couldnt have said it any better. I am glad to see that there are more of you that understand. Gunbunny, I totally understand. What you said, brings back a couple of bad memories. Some of you are have gotten my point right on the spot. Justlisten, you dont have to apologize. I am not mad. I do appreciate you writing back and explaning. I would like to hear more comments. Thanks

is there a punch line in there?
Regarding Souljasmooth comments,

RE: Hey Albert are you making fun of TRU's Audiogon name. TRU happens to be a group from the multi platinum selling company no limit records. I read your bio and I thought you had more class. I guess not. I am just glad that their is still some audiophiles that like to share positive comments with each other, no matter

Actually my first thought upon reading the signature "TRU", was the Budweiser commercial where they ask Whattttsssupppppp? Then the answer ends up with "true true."

I had no idea there was a group with that name. In fact, I cannot recall many (if any) members using music groups as a moniker. However, there have been many members who post topics just to troll. I seriously doubt that anyone really secure with their musical tastes would be put off by my silly comments. They were much too playful and light to have a cutting edge.

If you or TRU disagree and wish to retaliate, you may attack my favorites. Some of which are: Kate Bush, Bjork, Radiohead, The Doors, Stevie Ray Vaughn, KD Lang, Bill Evans, Miles Davis, Daft Punk, JJ Johnson, Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Sarah McLaughlin, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Santana, Bare Naked Ladies, Laurie Anderson, Yellow, Cowboy Junkies, Neil Young, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Lightnin' Hopkins, Nirvana, Johnny Cash, Louis Prima, Sylver, Herb Ellis, Chris Whitley, Hank Williams Jr., Red Garland, Etta James, Happy Rhodes, Tony Bennett, Mississippi John Hurt, Eric Clapton, Carmen McRae, Dave Brubeck, Tori Amos, Fleetwood Mac, and the Rolling Stones.

These are what randomly come to mind. I avoided listing classical, as the performance and conductor have almost as much to do with my favorites (there)as does the composer.

If you need a larger target, I have over 6000 LP's and several hundred CD's, that cover music spanning the last half century. I'm sure there are titles there that I love and you hate.

As for sharing comments, I spend a great deal of time answering what I can, many topics are dismissed or overlooked by others and I do take time to provide the best answer I can. Failure to respond is only when I cannot accurately answer or do not have anything further to add, due to the quality of others posters comments.

I do post silly comments occasionally, as many Audiogon members do, and consider it a release from the sometime too serious nature of this forum.

As for comments from Onhwy61,

Is it possible that those protesting most loudly have systems that can't handle the bass dynamics and rhythmic agility required for hip/hop. Maybe those with their glass driven planers.........

Even if this comment is not aimed directly at me, (I don't know if you even know my equipment). I assure you that if my requirements for reproduction was limited to the quality of rap and hip/hop, the efforts to get my system maxed out would be much simpler.

There are many automobile systems that slam so much bass that they are annoying from a thousand feet away.. Do you believe this represents accuracy, or affords a satisfying level of enjoyment?

Much of this type of reproduction (and indeed music) is about invading others space. Perhaps they ran out of spray paint?

I dare say that the accurate reproduction of a single female vocal, accompanied by piano contains more complex and difficult to reproduce information than most of the electronic and souped up sounds of pop rap.

Just one music lovers opinion, stated here in balance with the defensive comments from those who seem offended that we do not all love rap.
Controversial thread. Growing up my dad hated my hard rock music, busted my chops every chance he could. As a young teenager he laughed at me for buying my first quality stereo (with money I raised cutting lawns, etc.). He felt my Thorens/NAD/Mission set up was wasted on the "garbage" I listened to. Fast forward to today, my 11 year old son. The kid loves Rap music; trust me on this one, I sure don't like Rap. I put together a Carver receiver/Pioneer CDP/B&W speakers for him. I give him gift certificates for his birthday and other occassions, he buys Rap CD's. The moral of the story: don't be your dad, every generation finds new music they enjoy for their own reasons. A chacunes sons gouts. And, yes, seriously consider B&W speakers, they do a credible job in my son's system.
strictly a compliment, just liked your humor. Did you drop the k from my name on purpose? Oh well, If the shoe fits... . I've been called worse.
I ran into the similar crossroad when I was deciding on speakers. I listen to a wide range of music, including rap music. Originally, I started with cubs, proac 3.8, Dyn 3.3, and B&W 803. All of these speakers are great with certain type of music, but I ended up with the Dyn 3.3 due to their ability to be well rounded will many type of music. Very detailed, awesome imaging, and good tight clean bass extention.

Just ignore the ignorant/bias comments from individuals who think rap is too ghetto for hifi. Rap is just another form of music, and like many other kind of music, there are good songs and bad songs. Hell, I don't care if you spend $100K on a system and all you listen is talk radio. It's your money and can do what ever you want with it. People have spent thousands on the home theatre just to have a clearer door slam. Why is that so right and rap is so bad.
We wonder why "highend" is on its way out. People have you noticed all of the highend companies going out of business? To say someone has to listen to a certain type of music with "highend" gear is just plain stupid. If you feel that way than sorry but its time to get a new hobby. People this is a hobby! Tru listen to whatever you want to listen to. Sorry but when I go into my music room, yes I have a dedicated music room, to listen I might be in the mood for some Grover Washington, Jr. or Norman Brown, or Boney James, or Miles Davis, or Public Enemy (yes I have that too), or Nancy Wilson, or whatever. I even have some classical (sorry but this isn't high on my list) blues, funk, and many others. I want to hear good music and I want to be able to put on whatever I like and this is what I do. Again this is a hobby that we should be bringing as many people into as we can. Good music to one doesn't have to be good music to others. If you don't like the music sorry but someone else does.
Easy people.
My Bose response was a joke.
I guess it buzzed most of you.
Who care's what you listen to.
Whether or not someone likes or dislikes hip/hop really isn't the point. It has always been my opinion that audiogon was a discussion forum dedicated to helping people maximize their enjoyment of music and their systems. What upsets me about some of the responses is their incredibly dismissive tone. How many of the replies were actually intended to be helpful? Just because you don't like something doesn't give you the right to publicly crap on someone else's choices. If you think this message is addressed at you, then it probably is.
I would recommend a pair of the big Montana's. I have some Nova Audio Rendition's but you rarely see them used. I don't listen to rap but they really rock on techno. The neighbors flee when I play either the Propellorheads or Beethoven's Ninth. Very tight bass with either.
Tru, I own Thiel 1.5s and a REL Strata III and put in the Bob Marley box set disc 4 right after my other two favorite albums when I got them. Sent shivers up my spine. It's not rap but reggae leaves a bad taste in most audiophile's mouths too (I get made fun of for listening to reggae on my system on a regular basis). It's also not high-fidelilty considering when it was recorded. But, Bob's voice, the background singers, and the instruments sounded alive. One of my Alpha Blondy CDs is particularly well recorded. The little "pop" rap that I own also sounds great on them. Hope that helps.
BTW, I wouldn't even respond to anyone picking on your musical taste unless you need some stress relief.

You should try the Linn Komri speakers. They'll rock da' house!

Amens Bryans Brother. I must say I think most of the light hearted jibes snouldn't be taken too seriously. Albert I got a big chuckle out of yours and can only say I wish I had come up with it myself. You have a very twisted sense of humor:^)

Tru it is through you and your generation that the continuation of 2-channel music reproduction rests. In truth hip-hop and rap music is not just limited to the States, it is a world-wide phenomenon that isn't going away soon whether we Boomers like it or not. I mean they have Rap music in Iran!! It has its own validity and speaks to a generation even though the parents of that generation in general don't like the message.

Truth be told regardless of how much I loved the Doors as a kid, my Dad never did. He thought Jim Morrison was a maniac. Well coming from his generation in retrospect I see his point, Jim WAS a maniac with a message of drugs, sex and party-on as much as the very thoughtful lyrics he put to song. It was much easier for me to enjoy Dad's music, excepting for maybe Larry Welk, pleaseeee someone tell me the appeal of that music? But Tru I love Funk and lets face it Rap is the contemporary progression of Rythm Blues and Funk and if you like it, I can dig it!

Honestly Tru, I wouldn't know what to tell you about a system for RAP. I would guess a good dynamic system with tight bass and as noted, a nice clear midrange would do just fine. There are many including NHT 2.5i to the 3.3, very dynamic with excellent bass and a very good midrange. A powerful ss amp, maybe a Sunfire works very well with the NHTs. Just pass the word on to your buddies that think that 2k watts with 18" subs in a trunk makes for good bass.
Why do some fools complain about the type of music that folks choose to listen to.I have a high end set up and I listen to salsa,latin jazz,70Sr&b,even some hip-hop and rap.Sure you would need large woofers,but not Cerwin Vega..Sound like crap.I have B&Ws 802 series 3 and they can handle it.All because folks buy high end does it necessarly mean that we listen to only classical or jazz,I dont think so.To those boneheads who chosse to insult the person who posted this thread,youre nothing but a bunch of closed minded nuts.To those who defended the author of this thread,right on.everybodys entitled to listen to what they choose to and if they spend the loot who is one to dictate to another whta they should or not listen to.I have a D.L.G. CD that have heavy bass lines and it's latin rap,and it sounds great in the setup i have.
Thanks for all of the comments and suggestions. I didnt think this thread would be such a big hit. I was never mad. I know comments or jokes like some of the ones here get posted. Some of you seem so serious about it, it doesnt seem like a joke. I have listened to many many speakers. I think my platinums are very good, but like all of you out there, I want a change. Any more comments?
TRU as an audiophile who listens to everything from classical to death metal (excluding country)I would suggest B&W n 801s. However, if it were me I would elect to trade the paradigm sub in on a velodyne hgs 18 you will need it to get the very bottom notes. Just my two cents.

happy listening,

I think that this thread has turned into a PERFECT example of just how "important" preconcieved ideas, prejudice and bias are in society. Is that bad ? I don't think so. Why should audio be any different than the rest of the various subjects that we could discuss ???

As such, anyone that thinks that they are not prejudiced or completely free of bias are either liars or fooling themselves. Those that worry more about being "politically correct" rather than speaking their mind and being forthright in their opinions are those that lack self confidence or convictions in their ideas. You can call it "tact" or "being understanding", i'll simply call it "lacking balls". As a case in point, would you rather have someone smile and nod in agreement while inside they look down their nose and think "what a jerk" or would you rather know exactly where you stand in their eyes to begin with ??? I think that answer is obvious.While there are ways to get the message across without ripping someone's heart out, the message remains the same: "I don't like or agree with that".

As to why people would have the ideas that they do about "rap", "hip-hop", etc..., take a look around. Most of the time that you hear this music or see the participants, the sound is HORRIBLE while the listeners and creators try to portray themselves as being "ghetto gangsters". If you doubt this, take a look at the "kicker boxes" that are sold to the public to recreate this music. Big woofers in untuned boxes and Piezo tweeters. The more "lo-fi" it sounds ( boomier, undefined, lacking detail, smeared and splashy, etc..), the greater the chance of the "car stereo enthusiast" installing it in his "pimp mobile". In plain English, what is "bad" to those that know better becomes "good" to those that don't know any better.

Since many of the participants here may have never listened to various artists that produce "music" of the above mentioned genres in detail, they base their opinions on what they have experienced. Is this wrong ? Hell no. You and i do it EVERY day, dozens of times a day. Whether or not it is a "good" opinion or "bad" opinion simply has to do with what side of the fence you stand on with that specific subject. Were they wrong to share their point of view. Definitely not. This IS a discussion forum. Could they have done it with a little more respect ? Quite possibly.

The funny thing is that the hi-fi world used to be divided between those that listened to Classical music and those that listened to "contemporary music" i.e. rock, blues, jazz, etc... As "music" has spread out even more and has such a wide interpretation as to what qualifies as such nowadays, i find it amusing that the "rockers" and the "old fogey's" have something in common. That would be their general lack of respect and disdain for "hip hop" and "rap". As such, nothing has changed. The shoe has just been moved to a different foot. The same thing will happen with the next generation and so on and so forth.

So long as there is freedom of choice, differences of opinions, personal taste, etc... to deal with, we will always have an "us vs them" to deal with, regardless of the subject. Of course, whether you are with "us" or choose to side with "them" can vary from subject to subject or incident to incident. That's what makes us all individuals with our own ideas. That is also why nobody can tell you what is "right" and what is "wrong", what is "good" what is "bad", etc.... These are all things that rely on one's personal perspective and preferences.

All i can say is that we should ALL be glad that we have the right to choose what WE like as individuals and that we can voice our differences of opinions without fear of reprisal. It is probably only after we've lost these "rights" that everone will agree on something. We should've been thankful for what we HAD. Sean
Correct Sean, and well stated.
I don't see anyone mention about the source. I'm not that young but I still like rap, pop and 80's retro music. I have a relatively expensive hi-fi system, but when I put in these CD into my player, the sound is just horrible compare to audiophile CDs. I guess the rap or pop music makers don't really care about music reproduction and the sound is either too harsh or too much bass.

My theory is that a good system will faithfully reproduce the source....meaning that it will make good CD sounds better and a lousy CD sounds worse.

Overtime, I have to force myself to listen to audiophile CDs more and more (classsic, jazz, vocal, etc.) than what I really like, pop music.

Any of you share the same dilemma?
This thread is so far off track, I will offer you some HI-FI advise first of all... Look into some good subs with the proac 3.8s.. Some good subs are(least to most recommended) Carver signature cube, Bag End Infrasub 18, REL (the best you can afford) and Aerial SW-12. One other avenue is to hear an Avalon Acoustics theatre (sentinels, sub and center).
I currently have a pair of Avalon Eidolons in one system and a pair of Arcus in the other, both powered by tubes. The Eidolons will do about any bass note with authority when asked.. I am running them for HT...
And yes (what this thread has been waiting for), I do listen to ALL types of music -- rap, speed metal, classical, alternative, country, techno....

I have received the snobbish attitude at audio dealers, and have actually taken out equipment that has been inadequate with Beat Dominator, Addicted to Bass, Techmaster P.E.B, etc.

I also have neighbors that think that I have my own "clockwork orange" going on in my house when they hear the beat of Jamaican Reagge or Mr. Bungle followed by Mozart or the 1812. They are also impressed with the measures to make sure the siding and trim do not rattle from the bass.

Listen to what you want, and forget the people who ridicule you for that. Being an musician in a previous phase in my life, I can't waste my time worrying about what others think of my musical tastes...
I use to have the same problem where I could not listen to certain CDs in my system. I use to own Avalon Radians, Rowland Model 8, Rowland Synergy II, CEC Transport, Classe DAC1, Cardas Neutral Cables, Linn LP12, Plinius M14 Phono. Now when I played CDs if the CD was recorded well (no matter what type of music) the systems sounded wonderful. Maybe the best I had heard to date (2 years ago). When I put in a CD that wasn't recorded well it sounded very bad. So I found myself listening to about 10% of my music. So I had a choice, keep buying CDs and listen to only about 10% of them, even though I loved the music, or change my system. I ended up changing the system because to me its all about the music. If I buy a CD I want to listen to it. When I started looking for a new system the dealers couldn't believe I wanted to change because they said a good system should do what mine was doing. I then told them that sorry but to me its all about the music not the equipment.

Just my 0.02 (before taxes :-))
Excellent point Bryans. What good is a "music reproduction system" when it is no longer "musical" or "enjoyable" ??? Once again, we come back to walking that fine line between "accurate" & "detailed" vs "musical" & "pacey". For a system to work "right", you've got to have equal measures of all of the above. This is true REGARDLESS of the type of music that you listen to. Sean
If your Levinson amp has over or 100 WPC,I would suggest the B&Ws 801 series 3,a bit easier to drive than the series 2.Has very good and tight bass and nice silky mids and highs,if you fell that the amp cant drive these speakers i would definitly suggest the B&W 802 series 3.Why I have a pair and they do the job very well,I was using Conrad Johnson MF-200 and Premier 3 pre,but got an offer on the preamp that I couldnt refuse.You might want to try out the MARTIN LOGAN speakers,I had the SEQUELS and they sounded great with rap and R&B,soul music.The Martin Logans can handle it too.Also you can check out the B&W NATILUS speakers too.More looot but definitly worth a listen.Try listening to those speakers and decide.Its nice to know that you like tubes in the pre and S/S power,it's a nice combination.Good luck on your search.