The truth about high end speakers MUST READ


We audiophiles are a fussy discerning bunch who demand very specific requirements when it comes to what we hear.
The problem is that these requirements are seldom met no matter how much you spend on speakers. 

Forums like this indicate that audiophiles are trapped in a cycle of neverending upgrades and dissatisfaction no matter how much is spent.

We have been deceived into believing that a "one size fits all" speaker that has been designed by an "expert" who knows better than we do about our requirements, will be ok. This is obviously not the case since every audiophile has a different hearing response curve and different preference. 

If you choose a speaker that has a rising response with frequency, and you prefer a darker sound then its not going to matter whether it uses diamond or berylium, or mdf or aluminium cabinets, or a 4th order or 1st order crossover.

Its not going to matter if the designer has a phd in physics or decades of experience in speaker design because its YOUR hearing that needs to be satisfied not THEIRS.

We are being duped folks. The best you can expect out of all these high end speakers is substandard satisfaction for a few years before you get fed up and decide to UPGRADE!

In conclusion, the notion of a high end speaker is in fact a myth. No such thing exists. Buying a high end speaker is a complete gamble and most audiophiles end up losing not winning. The only winners are the speaker manufactures because as long as they continue to sell, they continue to profit. 

Its also impossible to compare all the different speakers out there in the comfort of our homes so the dealers obviously dont make it any easier for us audiophiles. Its pointless going to a store demo since thats not where youre going to be listening once you buy the speaker. We are getting a raw deal. 

Thankyou for reading. 






kenjit
Kenjit man you are a broken individual.

Your lack of understanding warps you.

Yes there are some people who buy a car to go from point A to point B, and there are others who love the thrill of the drive.

You may buy a Kia or a Ford Tarus to go from point A to point B, that is hardly the same experience that driving a high performance sports car like a BMW, a Mercedes AMG, a Porsche a Vette, or a souped up Japanese rice burner, or a more afforable production racer like a Suburu WRX, on a deserted road and enjoying the thrill of controlling a high performance sports car and the adreline rush that is the reason for the "need for speed."

Driving fast on a track if you know what you are doing is one of the most remarkable experiences in life, the same way that hiking up a mountain or rock climbing may be.

Many of us can listen for hours to the joy of what music well reproduced can sound like.

The pursuit of perfection is a noble one the issue you may have is that many audiophiles do not tackle the challenge logically and they get often bad advice hence the constant flipping.

Our advice is to build a system which is in balance and all parts work together

When we found some of our reference speakers systems the Paradigm Persona 9H the Kef Blades and the Polymer MKX-s we didn’t just hook them up and marvel at the realism.

It was a jouurney to find matching components and to find out exactly what you need to do to make these kinds of thoughbreeds come alive.

In the case of the Polymers and the Personas we tried many different amplifiers, from CJ, Manely, Devialet, Electrcompaniet, Parasound, Thrax, and finally T+A which sounded way better than the others.

We tried swapping power cables, power conditioners. added different isolation devices, we tested five or six USB cables, and the pursuit was to make real magic.

As per your comment We have been deceived into believing that a "one size fits all" speaker that has been designed by an "expert" who knows better than we do about our requirements, will be ok. This is obviously not the case since every audiophile has a different hearing response curve and different preference.

It is the same a buying a great car, you sample the cars you want to buy to find one that matches what appeals to you.

Speakers are the same, and it comes down to what the specific listener prefers, this is not saying that the listener is correct or the speaker designer is more or less correct, people and companies design what appeals to them, the real fun comes to matching the rest of the system to bring out what you want and minimize what you don’t want in the speakers.

As per your comment: "In conclusion, the notion of a high end speaker is in fact a myth. No such thing exists."

Really a high end device is not a myth if you don’t think you can go far faster in a Porsche than a Preis you got another thing comming.

When you spend on superior technlogies and better parts you are generally going to build a faster car.

If you compare a $300 monitor to an $8k one you will get a pretty good idea that an starter pair of speakers will not really compete with a much more expensive and elaborate design, that use far superior parts and construction to deliver a speaker with greater dynamic range, greater clarity, tighter bass and a more focused soundstage.


"Its also impossible to compare all the different speakers out there in the comfort of our homes so the dealers obviously dont make it any easier for us audiophiles. Its pointless going to a store demo since thats not where youre going to be listening once you buy the speaker. We are getting a raw deal. "

The idea of a store is to be able to compare under identical circumstances many different products, that is a valuable tool and service. Yes your room and equipment may be different, howerver, that is what forging a partnership with a dealer does for you that will assist you in creating the sound you are after.

Many dealers will bring over to your home a set for testing, you can’t expect a dealer to lug five sets of speakers to you, that is why we build showrooms to make it easier for people to make up their minds.

Also the consumer testing speaker A at his or her home may not have the right ancellory gear to make that speaker shine, ofthen in a demo we will recommend a swtich to a different amp or dac to bring out that speaker, with the understanding that we are providing a strategy and a path to assit that client.

You may be stuck on that concept of performance, cost and value.

Does a $60 steak prepared to perfection that tastes marvelous is it 3 times better than the $22 dollar Diner steak?

The answer is yes, the value is up to the buyer, many people will gladly pay the difference between the two steaks as one is an experience to eat and the other is a meal.

There are great budget audio products and many really expensive ones.  We have heard Million dollar systems that sucked and $2k ones that were magic. However, most of the really memorable demos were produced by the more expensive rigs.

We have four sound rooms in our shop and our $3k surround system doesnt’ sound anything like our $80k dedicated movie theater.

Life is a matter of making the choices that make you happy.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ


agree that that statement is BS.  I have nice speakers (MSPR = about 17,000, I got mine used here for about half that, rated 9/10) and I am 100% satisfied with my speakers.  I recently demo a new DAC and I believe my system is complete.  I have not heard a system that I would trade mine for.  It's my listening nirvana.  I wasn't duped or lied to.
Yes, it is impossible to compare all the speakers in my home, but I also love my car and I by no means test drove every car out there, and certainly dealer didn't want me driving the car under 'my' normal conditions.  Guess its time to get a bike.  WAIT, I haven't driven all the bikes either.  Sh*t, guess I will settle for that old waterproof yellow walkman I found in my garage.........
First of all, this is my first post, after comparing a variety of online evaluations of various amplifiers for the past several weeks. I've been particularly interested in Odyssey, Van Alstine and, lately, the Nuforce STA200. I've been working off a Parasound HCA1200ii for over twenty years.

I stumbled back into audio, after attempting to fire-up my Vandersteen 2Ci's and found the 8" woofer offering complementary "clapping" along with the tunes I selected. Now it's in the shop and they want about $400 for the right speaker, but that would call for revamping of drivers in the left speaker, if I want a coherent sound. I should also mention that I "scored" a couple of RP280F Klipsch speakers for under $500 and so now I'm chasing the idea of a 3-d soundstage, which these speakers might not even be able to achieve. So, this sort of brings me to the topic of this thread, which is adequately provocative and certainly resonates with those who like to ponder the subjectivity of one's evaluations as they interact with the alleged objectivity, and apparently equal subjectivity (in evaluation and promotion), of what others are selling. 

What I'm seeing in the world of audio, and having gone to numerous live music events, is that many live events sound inferior to carefully recorded music, played back on a decent system. I would guess that my pair of RP280's, fueled by the parasound 1200, would seem rather low-fidelity by the standards of audiogon co-operators. Nevertheless, it's obvious to me that they produce much higher sound quality than what I often encounter in live events. 

I have always enjoyed quality audio equipment. I was blown away by my father's klipschorns, when he set them up in 1976. I was blown away by Apogees and Martin Logan Quests when first I heard them. I also find that music itself is basically a miracle - not all of it, of course, but so many absolutely beautiful artistic, intellectual, emotional and even spiritual statements. No one needs to have anything close to an audiophile system to have a tremendously moving experience with a song. If a person is calibrated to critique ever nuance of a system, they will, in some/many cases, not be able to enjoy the expressed musical ideas, the wonderful music itself. None of this modern sound reproductive ability even existed one-hundred years ago. In fact, many people were much more satisfied, and I mean MUCH LESS NEEDY, than we are today. Let's not get into discussions about children working seven day work weeks, which was and is inexcusable. 

To be honest, much of what we do here comes down to externalizing our restlessness, which is always changing forms and will always offer its own restless response to any apparent answer that surfaces, even if that means we change to another hobby, another point of restless interest. It's worth taking a moment to review all of the things we have "conquered" over the years, all the objects of desire we have hunted, trapped, and moved on from. Some question whether this undermines more soulful living.

So, again, we can call it a hobby, or anything else, but in essence we are finding a way to output a lot of energy in our searches and experiments. There is hope for and experience of some levels of pay-off, but the inner drive to keep searching is rarely given much consideration. It is rarely understood as anything more than the driver of experience... There's nothing particularly wrong about any of it, but it does, in my view, blot out the bigger picture... Lately, I find myself just listening to the sound of the environment - how life itself magnifies sounds, as a way to track what I might be doing in looking for a 3-D capable setup. The living sound environment, say on my back porch, is always unique, always depends on my focus, always depends on my tensions at the time, and even depends on how I'm identifying with time, whether I'm truly giving myself over to the listening experience. I think this whole notion of beautiful music is really a very deep thing, very essential.

Ultimately, in my view, the setup is less important than one's willingness to sit receptively, with a state of mind that can truly receive and enjoy the full impact of music, mostly making system limitations far less important than the personal engagement with the sound. 

It is the same a buying a great car, you sample the cars you want to buy to find one that matches what appeals to you.

And how are you supposed to sample all the speakers in the comfort of your own home without being pressured into making a purchase by dealers? Dealers dont make it easy. No dealer will bring all their gear round to your home and let you borrow it. Its very rare for that to happen. It should be a right not a privelege to be able to sample all the options to help make your decision.
What happens if after sampling all the available options, nothing suitable is found, why should the customer be penalized? is it their fault that nothing could be found? its a complete gamble to expect an audiophile to sample dozens of speakers in an unfamilar in store demo room, over months or years then expect them to miraculously end up with one that suits their requirements.

If youre going to do this properly, you need to be fully blindfolded. Every possible variable should be constant except one. Then you vary that one variable, and note the preferences.

When you compare two speakers side by side youre actually comparing multiple variables at the same time which just leads to confusion. Speaker A has an mdf cabinet, a low end response down to 40hz, a diamond tweeter, a paper woofer and time cohesive crossover. Speaker B has a carbon fibre composite cabinet, a low end response down to 20hz, berylium tweeter, aluminium woofer, and a 4th order linkwitz riley.

Its impossible to know whats causing any differences you think you hear.

We are being duped into ignoring this.

Magazine reviewers arent blindfolded. They dont test one variable at a time. They dont even compare two speakers at the same time. It can be months or years in between each review. Yet audiophiles rely on these faulty rave reviews to help them decide what to buy.

Really a high end device is not a myth if you don’t think you can go far faster in a Porsche than a Preis you got another thing comming.

it depends what you mean by going faster. Youre just causing more confusion by bringing cars into this discussion.







A few comments on this article:

1.  Like wine, the best speakers are the ones that YOU are satisfied with - your tastes in audio, music, your environment, your budget

2.  "High-end" as a term generally refers to the expertise and materials used to produce speakers, whether they are handmade or coming off a mass production line, etc. So in these terms, there certainly are high-end speakers, albeit perhaps not for everyone's particular taste.   

3.  To really understand what you may like, plan to attend a high-end audio show in your city.  They are usually held in a hotel or similar venue, where a hotel room will be dedicated to all types of audio equipment, including high-end speakers.  You can bring a favorite CD (easier) or LP to listen on their equipment.  Look at what equipment they are using with their speakers, and look at the size of the space, and furniture layout, carpets, curtains, etc.  The speaker size and price are also important considerations.  This way you can narrow your selection options.  

4.  Some better audio shops will allow you to test their speakers in your home - if so, take them up on their offer.

5.  Speaker selection (without going into matching amps and preamps, etc.) is a totally subjective exercise, and people's tastes change over time. Enjoy and then gradually upgrade as your budget and time listening will justify.  Audio is a journey - not a destination!  With discerning judgment, you will "get what you paid for." 

On final vignette:  One of my dearest, old, audiophile friends had just acquired a pair of Wilson Watt Puppies, but no matter what he did he hated the sound of these speakers, although he had spent an inordinate amount for these "top-end" speakers.  He went in for his annual physical, and the doctors revealed that his hearing was deteriorating and that he needed hearing aids in both ears.  Now with his new hearing devices, he once again a "Happy Camper".  

Mainly get the audio selections out-of-the-way, and then enjoy your Music!