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
even resorting to EQ
Your wording betrays the point Ive been making. Audiophiles dont think of EQ as a necessity, they see it as a source of coloration and distortion! I bet most audiophiles have never even had an EQ in their system. They dont even know what frequencies to focus on when they hear something they dont like. 
Consider going to a few or many live music events and see if this is your idea of audiophile!
Post removed 
What exactly is your point?  It's human nature to always seek something better.  Our problem is that there always is something better.  If, on the other hand, you feel that you have found your musical Nirvava, and you are happy and satisfied, where is the problem?  Of course you can't possibly audition every speaker made, but if you find speakers that float your boat, don't worry, be happy.
Sure cal91. On the other two hands some people buy equipment like they buy cars, to show off. Ego. Many wealthy people have no idea what they want and they want everything done for them so they head into a high end store (they could never be seen going into a Walmart) and buy whatever the sales person sells them. Unless something breaks they are always going to be happy. 
Being made up predominantly of males there is oodles of ego here which sometimes elevates into belligerence. 
Me, I love my system and I have DSP control over everything even the turntable. Is there better? Of course there is. At any moment in time I know exactly where I am going and I love window shopping. When I have the money and time I'll get there but as technology moves on I will incorporate whatever new tech benefits the system. In the mean while the MUSIC sounds great and boy do I love the MUSIC.
 

d2girls734 posts
08-14-2019 12:00amthis is probably the dumbest thread i've ever seen

+1
+++++++++

Feed the troll.  feed the troll.  feed the envious troll....

1.  You got a crappy dealer.  Get another one.
2.  Correctly, you know that your ROOM is the most important "box" in the equation.
3..Buy Magneplanars and quit looking around.  They are the only speaker worth owning forever (upgrade as you wish to newer models).
4.  Add subwoofers if you like to be rattled in the chest when you turn up some recorded stuff.

Cheers!

Beauty, or perfection, is in the eyes (or in this case, ears) of the beholder.

Each and every one of us has a different / unique preference on what is pleasing to our ears. In most cases speakers are designed to reproduce a certain frequency range, and ultimately based on the design of the speaker and the components selected, the speaker will have its own unique "sound". The trick is for the end user to find the speakers that matches his / her own tastes, and which fit their budget.

I have to be honest. My current system would be laughed at by many here, and when I recently walked into a Best Buy as a first step in doing some speaker shopping, I heard nothing there that was so great / so much better than my current system that made me want to make a purchase, so I didn't. I resisted the temptation of something shiny and new, or something that sounds different and therefore may be interpreted by my brain as being better.

If someone has the resources to continuously purchase speakers in pursuit of the best listening experience possible, more power to them. I don't feel the we are being bamboozled by speaker manufacturers, there are definitely multitudes of speakers out there that have varying degrees of quality and sound.

The truth I discover for myself in this journey in audio is that we can have an extasy with a relatively low cost audio system... Modulo cleaning the electrical grid of the house, of the room and of the source, treating the room is mandatory, cleaning the vibrations-resonance(even in headphone not only on speakers or room or piece of gear)...Plus tweaks that are low cost: I have many Helmholtz bottles and 4 cheap Schuman Generator tweakes by me...

After that you will listen to a TOTL for peanuts...

Proof: This week I treat against vibrations my cheap Fostex TH7-B headphone, after that I treat the cable my own way, after that I add 5 Herkimer diamonds at the interior of the pad around the driver... I piece of shungite on the exterior cups...

Result: So schokingly good that it is the best experience in audio in my life, these Fostex crush ALL my previous headphones even the best on count of imaging and speaker like experience...It is unbelievable that an under 100 bucks headphone were better than all my other experience including even speakers... ( i already own 2 Stax,AKG 340 and AKG 701, Hifiman 400, Beyerdynamic 990 , T150..)

(I remind you that I dont complaint about my others headphones nor speakers...I say that to remind the beginners that not only the price and the particular design of a speaker or headphone count but most and foremost the treatment, cleaning, modification that you can make to them for a miracle...tweaks are the first and last important thing for an audio fulfilling experience for me, not money (I dont have that)...


I suggest to the beginners to read and dreams comes true, reading experience and other experiments will inspire you... 


P.S. I agree with some poster that if you want to  quit the search for speakers, buy magneplanar, even cheap one and call that the end...It is not the best speakers there are, hell no! But for the price Hell yes...
+1 Listening99, well stated and I totally agree.  
kenjit
"The end goal is maximum enjoyment of your music. Thats my assumption. "
So how are you personally going to get there since no manufacturer can satisfy your requirements , and hence have no system?



Many audiophiles refuse to take the time to really understand how what they buy works thus they are easy to fool with brand names fancy finish forum posts. Many are just going to buy a name brand that's approved by the audiophile press. Face it the press does not know how it will sound in your system or room or how well it will last.  It's the audiophile's own fault for not educating themselves enough to understand the basics. I can look at a speaker and tell what its made from and what will drive it I can tell if the overall design is flawed without a listen. The gear tornados easy to get off just buy a good pair of horns and get back to buying music not cables etc.

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.
Hi audiotry,

Modern audiophiles know nothing about history of audio and recording industry.


Most of studios from 50x to the end of 70x (Abby Road, Columbia, Mastering lab studio,...) used different versions of Altec 604, 605 coaxial monitors.
So, compare modern records made using modern monitors that mostly sound horrible synthetic and the records from the golden era from 1958-66.
What I hate all these mainstream Hi-End audiophile, unmusical sound speakers like:
Focal, Dynaudio, B&W, Wilson,....

Do you know anybody who use the same pair of speakers from these producer more than 10 years?


Regards,
Alex

Sound experiences are like love...You decide at the end of the meeting...But continuous improvement is possible and fun...
Not to mention the death 💀 of tube electronics in the early 70s for recording and mastering. Heeel-looo!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qtGhOvUQoc
Andrew Jones talking to Steve G about possible future speaker,and recording,designs and technics to recreate that live experience and the problems associated with that transferring to your home environment.
Kenjit is going through a personal crisis.  Much to late in life he has realized there is no perfection. Bad, good but no perfect.  Why try? Why seek the unobtainable?  Give up on recorded music because it is flawed. Forget speakers. If he did own a system it could not possibly include vinyl. 

Lirpa Labs speakers are perfect.  Why is no one talking about this??  

@Kenjit...Check out the Lirpa Labs MZ1-949R soundbar.  I think you will be pleasantly surprised to find the perfect set-up!!
b_limo
Lirpa Labs speakers are perfect.  Why is no one talking about this?? 
That's true, but only when driven by Lirpa electronics.
A loudspeaker’s task is to replay a signal (analogue or digital) as faithfully as possible.

This would include covering various parameters such as frequency extremes (no good chopping of the lowest octave) and dynamics, frequency response matching as close as possible, point source radiation patterns, accuracy in tracking and timing, and all the resolution (detail, timbre etc) that was captured by the recording medium.

The ability of various loudspeakers to do this varies greatly and listeners vary in their preferences as to where they are willing (and where they are not) to accept serious compromises.

The problem is that all serious loudspeaker issues are easy to hear once we start listening for them. They are, after all, the most distorted link in the audio chain by far, nowhere near any measurable unit of technical perfection.

So, as of 2019 (and the foreseeable future), buying any loudspeaker is a decision based upon how many compromises you are willing to accept. And which ones that particularly matter most to you.

Any loudspeaker manufacturer that doesn’t own up to all this is, as the OP pointed out, acting fraudulently.

An extreme audiophile unwilling to accept any of these unfortunate serious compromises involved in all loudspeaker design might find the whole obsessive search extremely tiring and frustrating.

Instead of re-enacting the doomed Captain Ahab and the white whale, perhaps they might be better off remembering why they entered this pursuit in the first place, namely as a quest for pleasure.





What I hate all these mainstream Hi-End audiophile, unmusical sound speakers like: Focal, Dynaudio, B&W, Wilson,....

Do you know anybody who use the same pair of speakers from these producer more than 10 years?

I listened to my B&W Matrix 801 S3 for 21 years, and I was consistently impressed by how good they sounded. Of course these speakers were mainstream recording/mixing monitors for a similar length of time (maybe longer). 

I know a lot of people who live many years with a single pair of:
ESL57, Spendor Classics (sp100, 2/3, 1/2), Harbeth, Magneplan, Klipsh, old Tannoy, old JBL L200, Altec (A7, 19 Valencia, 604, 605).

I listened to my B&W Matrix 801 S3 for 21 years, and I was consistently impressed by how good they sounded. Of course these speakers were mainstream recording/mixing monitors for a similar length of time (maybe longer).

This model was before all these dummy diamond tweeters.
But modern B&W went far away to more modern audiophile stile of sound.

And I think it is nothing wrong to exchange your speakers every year so far you enjoy to do it.


@cd318

So, as of 2019 (and the foreseeable future), buying any loudspeaker is a decision based upon how many compromises you are willing to accept. And which ones that particularly matter most to you.

This is what we are being led to believe but it's wrong. The implied claim is that one loudspeaker is significantly audibly superior to another because e.g it uses a carbon fibre cabinet, or a diamond dome, or a superior midwoofer. There is no evidence to support these claims. If there is, show me a double blind test. 

I claim that most loudspeakers are actually very similar to each other. So similar that if their frequency response and phase cohesion were equal, they would sound pretty much the same. 
So the sleight of hand is this. You have hundreds of speakers in the marketplace and each differs from another in multiple ways making it impossible to discern the reasons for any audible differences. The marketing department then comes up with a bunch of marketing spiel to explain why their speaker is superior, which is given to the audiophile dealers who then relay the BS to the customers who are even more ignorant than the dealers. 

How many standmount speakers are there out there for example that use a 6inch woofer and a tweeter?  The answer is too many. There are dozens of such designs all vying for our attention but its all a scam. The real difference lies in the crossover which controls how its all voiced. And the cruel irony is we arent the ones that gets to voice it exactly to suit our hearing and room. Its all done by the so called "speaker designers" who think they know better than we do. We are then left to sample all the different options, none of which are optimised for us. The speaker companies win and the customers lose. The used market for high end speakers is full of activity because most folks are unhappy. This raises the prices of new speakers which further profits the companies. 

And that is how the game works folks. 




Revolt!  Overthrow the speaker designers and manufacturers.  Off with their heads.  Occupy Elac.  They expect to make a profit...and they don’t even know what I like to hear.  There are too many similar,  good quality speakers to choose from.  Capitalism works by confounding the customer. And some, I’m sure are very fine people.
kenjit
The implied claim is that one loudspeaker is significantly audibly superior to another because e.g it uses a carbon fibre cabinet, or a diamond dome, or a superior midwoofer. There is no evidence to support these claims. If there is, show me a double blind test.
Of all components, speaker systems are the most likely to sound different from each other. If you’d like to see that proven with a double-blind test, please feel free to conduct your own test.
So you are implying that speaker companies are touting their innovations (however good or bad they may sound to you) in order to sell them and make a profit?!?!?!

The whole notion of a company trying to make money is absurd and I refuse to believe it.  
@cleeds 

i can make one cable sound horribly different from another if I added a massive capacitor to it. 
you are implying that speaker companies are touting their innovations (however good or bad they may sound to you) in order to sell them and make a profit?!?!?!
They are not innovations. Show me the proof that a diamond dome sounds better than a soft dome. Its all hearsay within the audiophile community. 
kenjit
i can make one cable sound horribly different from another if I added a massive capacitor to it.
So what? Anyone can do that. It's a simple parlor trick.
Maybe a certain someone should start his owner speaker company and begin to take custom orders, starting with his own, so we all reach his audio nirvana and join his 'true audiophile" circle
They are not innovations. Show me the proof that a diamond dome sounds better than a soft dome. Its all hearsay within the audiophile community.
Innovation does not necessarily mean better, just different. Show me proof that Pepsi is better than Coke. It’s opinion. I assume (and hope) that the innovator of the diamond dome really felt like s/he improved SQ. Pepsi I’m sure felt like it improved on Coke. I don’t like pop, so I don’t buy either. Maybe if speakers are all so bad, you should buy none.

Personally, I have read many opinions on different equipment and found those that like the same kind of analog sound I do, often give me a good place to start when searching for my nirvana (which I think I have found, speaker-wise at least). And I think now DAC wise following advise from some one with tastes similar to mine. I believe I am done (except for adding more vinyl)


Why do you guys keep indulging his ignorance on this asinine thread?

@alexberger +5 Finally, someone telling it like it.
It's a simple parlor trick.
@cleeds  so is the fact that two speakers sound different. 
This thread reminds me a lot of a thread in the Cable Forum several months back. Tell the OP’s your amp and speakers and receive the size of speaker cables that are literally used for jump starting cars; the mystery formula that was never revealed. I had such a good time reading this thread, I might have to go back and read the cable one again. 

Cheers

Audiophiles are a fickle bunch, it is that simple. Same goes for other enthusiasts of other commodities. i.e. Cars, fragrance , art the list goes on. I like what I like and will continue to experience new designs. What we risk is buyers remorse but you have to start somewhere...Music lovers are far easier to please than audiophiles when it comes to selling speakers I can assure you of that. What drives me nuts is manufacturers that are constantly upgrading their models in a years time. So when I bought these a year ago , now they are even better.?. maybe I will wait another couple of years and check back with you. I hate that feeling of I should have waited. I tend to respect the ones that are not constantly upgrading the same model. do it right the first time for integrity's sake. but for the record what you are buying is your taste, if your tastes in sound coincides with a certain designers Idea or his tastes of what he likes in sound. If you agree with Richard Vandersteen's tastes then you will buy his speakers and there is no wrong choice.

If you agree with Richard Vandersteen's tastes then you will buy his speakers and there is no wrong choice.
there are more audiophiles than speakers so we are being forced to choose designs that are at best only an approximate match.
I've been duped into reading a portion of this thread. Gadzooks!
@adg101, man you are a glutton for punishment.
There certainly are some real characters in this hobby.
I must be stupid because I don't understand what the purpose of this thread is.  I guess I wasted my time at Cal and took the wrong classes.  Someone earlier said "feed the troll".  And we have certainly done it.  Anybody else feel manipulated?
Take ice cream. Millions of combinations in flavor possibilities; but probably only 50 viable commercial flavors. Does the average consumer complain, or just pick their favorite of the lot.? I personally feel the same about speakers. And i bet commercially available more choices in speakers than ice cream flavors.

of course if you want to make your own “turd” flavored ice cream there is always a ice cream maker available, same goes with speakers, DIY.

Disclaimer- I jest and intend not to offend DIY speaker crowd, as I have heard lovely speakers made from parts ordered from Madisound.  
@cal91 - it's an obvious troll thread and people reading and participating are either very young, very stupid, or killing time.  Threads like this get a lot of activity so if you're kind of bored and just want to make some mindless chatter this is your spot.  If you're 13 you might not have been around long enough to quickly recognize what's going on.  If you're very stupid you learn very slowly so you've got the same excuse as the 13 year old.  

I think we all sort of like the troll.  The undisguised neediness is endearing.  We can all relate to the obsessive resentment but we don't want to be so obvious about it.