The best speaker you ever heard?

In my opinion, the speaker is by far the most important part of the audio system. After all, it is the only part you hear. OK, the other stuff really matters a lot, but without a great speaker... No go.

I am a bit 'speaker-obsessed' I guess, and now I am wondering: What are the best speakers you have ever heard, and what made them the best?

Showing 6 responses by rockadanny

An earlier post declared the best speaker was, "no speaker. it's ive music." I used to agree, typos aside. That is, until this last weekend. I went to Jim Salk's house to audition a pair of his Veracity HT3s. After listening for a bit, I came to the conclusion that they are better than live. Or at least what live SHOULD sound like, were it properly miced, set-up, and amped. They magically fill the room with high resolution, no distortion, crystal clear music. Exquisite and incomparable - both in sound and asthetics.
Comparisons were of some speakers past. I admit that the HT3s were nearly the most expensive speakers I've heard. The others: Audes Blues; Tannoy Eyris DC-3; Vandersteen 2ce; Von Schweikert VR-2; Zu Druid; Vienna Acoustic Beethoven Baby Grand; Polk LSi25; Martin Logan (?). And IMO the HT3s were not just better, but better by far. Then there are mine: EgglestonWorks Fontaine, but truthfully speaking I am holding judgement on these until I get my system back up and operating. It has been out of commission for a few weeks. I am looking forward to comparing the HT3s to my Egglestons soon. So I guess I jumped the gun a little comparing the HT3s to my Eggys. Keep in mind that the HT3s use perhaps the best drivers available, with an amazing ribbon tweeter, and a cabinet whose size and construction contribute to the enhancement of the sound. Of the other speakers I mentioned (except for my Eggys) , I never felt their cabinets played any significant role in adding to the quality of sound. And IMO the cabinet is just as critical as the drivers. Dynamics is one thing, and many of the above speakers have it. But only the HT3s, and I suspect my Eggys, have properly sized and contructed cabinets to add qualities such as tone, timbre, and clarity, making them musical.
I understand your interest in comparing the HT3s to Tyler, Silverline, etc., as those are presumably in a class higher than most speakers I have heard. Unfortuntely I have not had the opportunity to hear any of them. I would love to go to one of the shows to hear speakers like those, but travel is nearly impossible. I can only hope that one day a show will be in Atlanta. We did not try different amps, but I suspect not (fussy), for two reasons: (1) The amp used was a Van Alstine Fet Valve Ultra 550 (hybrid - 250 wpc). (Pre and DAC also Van Alstine Ultra series, transport unknown, but nothing special. Also, speaker cable was plain old hardware store 12 gauge wire.) This gear, though well built, is relatively affordable and very straight forward engineered (all stock power cords). In other words, about as plain a set-up as one could have. (2) Jim stated that he sometimes demos his HT3s with lower powered amps, some costing only a few hundred dollars, with similarly impressive results. After visiting with him and experiencing his modest set-up, I do not doubt this statement. I am not sure how sensitive to room placement they are as we did not move them around (130 lbs. on a spiked plinth, carpeted room), but they are dual rear ported at the bottom (woofer) of the cabinet. They were approx. 3' from the front wall and several feet from either side wall, toed in slightly. Medium-sized HT type room, but no special treatments noticed at all. At one point, Jim pushed the volume way higher than anyone would/could listen to. I suspect that the room contributed more to the ear pain than distortion. His drivers (cone material) are super high def/ low distortion. I went there hoping to hear a QW that was for sale on A'gon, but it was sold. I did not listen to any two-ways. I wish I could have, but I was crunched for time per my flight home that afternoon. (Jim's place was not the purpose of my visit to Michigan, just a quick side-trip. Though an awesome one, at that.) As far as comparing them to the Zu Druid, overall I found the Zu less full, with less satisfying timbre. To me, the music produced by the Druid sounds like its coming from a tall, shallow box. The HT3 simply fills the room to capacity with music as if there were no box speakers involved at all. If interested, my review of the HT3s is posted :

I hope this helps.
Gawdbless - Huh? My point is that well recorded/engineered material is so much MORE enjoyable as my system improved, that the poor recorded/engineered material became less so because thanks to my quality system I know (or can imagine) how much more enjoyable a bad recording could have been were it properly recorded. The difference in recording quality becomes more obvious to me with a better quality system. I treasure clarity and musicality. And these attributes have improved with my system improvements. So much so, that I have higher expectations now with recorded material. And when I run across an inferior recording it pleases me less than when my system was less improved.
There is no such thing as a bad recording.

Oy vey. The BETTER my system gets, the more recordings I'm discovering as bad.
Maple - weren't they mfr'ed by Hemmer?