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
Hi @kenjit,

The problem is, speaker designers tried to go as close as possible to live music sound before mid 60x. After that they started to create virtual sound that should impress audiophiles and push them to by their product.
There are a number of factor that started influenced from mid 60x:
1. Rock music popularity. Since The Beatles, rock music sound is 100% artificial, full of effects and sound transformations created by balance engineers and producers.
2. Transistor amplifiers become popular and affordable. This leaded to popularity of small low sensitivity speakers with nasty dynamic compression.

Last 4 decades POP electronic music became more and more popular. 20 years ago majority of audiophiles listened mostly jazz and classical music. Today a big part of audiophiles listen POP music (sadly they could’t understand that this music recorded for boom-boxes).
As results speaker producers have to adjust to the market.
There are typical characteristic of modern main stream Hi-End speakers:
1. Not natural tone. Producers don’t care about it at all!
2. Low sensitivity with nasty dynamic compression. Small boxes and small and heavy-cone bass drivers.
3. Emphasized high frequencies. Scratchy sounding tweeters made from modern ultra hard and light material . This kind of sound doesn’t exist in live music.
4. Ultra deep bass with a lot of compression and bad definition. Bass slam that doesn’t exist in live music.
5. Flat, boring, synthetic mid-range without real resolution, miro-dynamics and dynamic. No good mid-range - no music.

Yes. There are a lot of speakers producers today and there are a few exceptions from this rules. But most of companies (are pushed by marketing, audio dealers and reviewers) confess this modern Hi-End mainstream sound.

I changed 4 pair of speakers from 1998 to 2001. The last speakers were Spendor 2/3 - a really musical speakers great for classical music. But in 2005 I bought a vintage pair of Altec 604E made in 60x. Since that time I haven’t changed my speakers.
Maybe I’m not I typical audiophile. But it is fact of my audiophile experience.

Regards,
Alex.

First off I have always been frustrated at my attempts to be able to produce high fidelity music because it is impossible.
Every venue has different modes of amplification and sound reproduction as well as acoustics.  Unless you have Jimmy Buffett playing in your living room the concept of live music is a unicorn more ore less. 
I look at speaker choice as just that a personal choice. Such as wine, reds vs whites and which winery or vintage you prefer.
I still love listening to vinyl on my 30 yo Klipsch Heresy III speakers. 
Due to a hot water leak which took out my Thiel CS6 speakers on a different vinyl system the insurance company will be supplying me with Bowers and Wilkins 800 or 802 D3 speakers
it will be an interesting comparison
By the way I prefer Jeeps over Audis 
Thanks
Note to self -- MUST NOT READ posts by Kenjit.
alexberger, where are you getting your "facts" from.

All loudspeaker designers build loudspeakers which they feel are the most accurate to the process of reproducing music especially in the high end. Each designer has their idea of what sounds real to them hence the differences in philosophy and sounds.

There have been certain market driven companies whose sound attributes are hardly natural and those are the market driven companies, think JBL, Bose, Yamaha etc.

Today there are many very respected speakers that are efficient, very smooth in the top end with excellent bass and great dynamics,  think Wilson, Devore. to name just two.

As per your Altec choice, big horns sound totally different, if you are interested in capturing a very live feel to your sound then this type of speaker will be an ear opening experience.

For others such speakers sound peaky, and highly colored. 

Jeeps over Audis is fine, if you like to go off roading, personally would take the superior construction and driving attributes of a fine Audi.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
As we all know, live music, in and of itself doesn't always sound good...so, in my mind, live music, per se, is not the target.  But, there are aspects of live music that can be pleasing...examples might include dynamics, sound stage size, tone, etc.

Stereophile makes an interesting observation in this article about what tweaks different people's ears/brains differently... and hence may enhance their listening pleasures differently...or detract from them differently..  https://www.stereophile.com/content/subjective-loudspeaker-testing

I would add to their observation that in many cases, people's taste in music as well as their listening rooms devoted to music change over times...and these changes will often require loudspeaker/equipment tweaking to restore sonic bliss.

As a side note...I have a buddy and for the past 10 years he has had a Bose music system linked to a music server and he probably knows every word to all 1700 songs and can "name that tune" within a few notes.  He loves music...but he especially loves music loud (at least too loud for me) and could care less about tonal quality, live reproduction, realistic bass, etc.  He is happy and has no interest in changing anything.


Therefore, I don't see good sound as 'misrepresentation'...or as advertising slight of hand...or as an unachievable myth....like many worthwhile things in life, it is a journey...and only you can decide what you are searching for and when you are satisfied and deriving the pleasure/benefit that meets your needs.