jbl 4430/4435 studio monitors
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I just heard a pair of D.A.S. this weekend powered by a Hafler amp, in a nearfield set-up. Absolutely amazing! We listened to modern recordings of rock & rap, as well as some 80's rock and 90's rap, the most lifelike dynamics I've ever heard from recorded music. And the source was an iPod! That session has me reconsidering my whole system.
ATC is a pro studio monitor and a true reference standard for rock producers for 30 years. Pink Floyd and the Rolling Stones, amongst others, mix down on these. Very honest and brutal of the source tapes and you will hear exactly what is on your collection. Try their active 16s or passive 19s. They need big amps in passive mode and like to be played LOUD.
Here are a few rockers that have used the speakers mentioned by Bongofury; Rolling Stones, Tom Petty, Robert Plant, Roger Taylor, David Gilmour, Mark Knopfler, Lenny Kravitz, Sting, Lou Reed, Rick Springfield, ACDC, INXS, Suzanne Vega, Ian Anderson, Simple Minds, Mike Oldfield, Tears for Fears. Some have them at home whilst others have them in their private studio.
If you are looking for extreme dynamics with low distortion then this is worth adding to your list.. The SCM 19's and 20's have the largest motor on a six inch woofer in the world. Old school speakers. Boxy designs. Massive magnets. Short coil in long gap. Specially designed not to thermally compress at high SPL levels. (Most consumer designs compress by 6 db or more and sound dull at rock concert levels, the small voice coils get very hot and the woofer linear excursion (Xmax) is often too small to play cleanly.)
Nearly every review I have seen remarks on how loud they play. They also have wide dispersion which means your friends can enjoy it too (big sweetspot). Good luck.
Horns are another option that you should look at quite seriously such as JBL baboon's butt! Although extremely efficient compression horn designs (very loud) can have a tendency to honk at elevated levels (This is a physical non linearity of the air compressed in the throat of the horn)
I think your choice of the PSB Stratus Gold is one of the best for the money and your requirements. Wouldn't suggest anything else unless you wanted to spend much more or would be interested in some old orphans like Infinity Kappa or RS series, Dunlavys or Hales. New, at twice the bucks, there are some nicer options.
Sorry Mrtennis - I've got the 20.1's biamped with 1400 wpc total power, and I still wouldn't say they are especially dynamic. They are alot of other great things - natural, spacious, tonally balanced, large soundstage - but I would not put dynamic on the top of the list of their strengths. I am still working on though - and with the new custom crossover (on its way), that may open things up a bit. They need A LOT of amplification - be prepared to spend at least as much as the speaker in amplification!
A lot of people like to play pop/rock on their systems, but that doesn't mean one of the requierments is for the speakers to sound great loud, although it is fun at times. What about speakers that are good at rock, but also sound very good at mid to lower volumes? Also, how come some claim "audiophile" speakers are not good at rock? Is it something about their design or the way they are voiced? From reading the boards and tons of reviews many people with "audiophile" type speakers listen to a lot of rock music too. Why don't these people just go out and get Klipsch, JBLs, Paradigms, or other speakers that are considered "rock" speakers and save some money.
What about speakers that are good at rock, but also sound very good at mid to lower volumes?
There are a great many speakers to choose from at low to mid volume capability levels - most of them sound excellent. A good audiophile rock speaker will also sound excellent at extreme SPL's (the added capability). Whilst ordinary or low cost rock speakers may not sound very good at all (just play loud).
It is simply much more expensive to build an "audiophile" quality speaker that plays very loud. You may have to compromise on exotic wood cabinetry (expensive) and get an ordinary black box with pro audio drivers (expensive) that is all. An extra thousand dollars in manufacturing cost that would have gone to veneer goes towards expensive drivers instead of cheap ones ($600 woofer instead of $100 and $600 mid instead of $100).
Is it something about their design
Yes it requires a compression horn driver OR a super robust conventional driver (short coil long gap and huge magnets). There are specific design choices needed to play cleanly at loud dynamic levels, such as dealing with the high levels of heat generated in the voice coil (causes compression). If anything the speaker will be voiced lean in the bass, as bass sounds stronger at elevated levels but is nearly inaudible at low levels (Fletcher Munsun curves).
one year at ces i heard the mg 20s in a large room, at least 50 by 25, playing orchestral music. there was no loss of dynamics. anyway how loud is loud ? anything over 85 db is too loud for me.
i don't see why you need 1400 watts. 200 watts of class a is sufficient. two classe dr9s, bridged should be more than enough.