Opera speakers would be it for me. With classical and female vocals they are great. But put on some classic rock or heavy metal, and they sound awful.
27 responses Add your response
With out a sub...no dipoles I've ever listened to sound as good as big old monopole boxes kicking out bass heavy rock music.
While dipole bass sounds more correct, ie... (has better tone) to my ear...I still prefer big cone bass for rock.
The reason for this (my cone bass preference for rock) is in the way the two load the room.
This is why I run two very large subwoofers with my Apogees even though the Apogees are nearly fullrange (27hz) and will play at high spl's...(two of the things needed for a good rock speaker)...they all (dipoles) fail the Maxell "blown-away guy" test. The exceptions being some of the hybrid designs (the Gilmore speakers come to mind).
All that said: "The WORST Components for Rock and Pop Music"
Bookshelf speakers, the B&W's I used to own come to mind.
Amps, the SAE amps I used to own
cd players...almost all of them!
Any component that sounds "lean" won't work too well for rock music. Sucks the "drive" and "energy" out of the rhythm section and kills the "growl" and "chunky" sound of the guitar.
Having said that, the first brand of gear that came to my mind was Musical Fidelity. Sounds very neat and clean without coming across as being "solid state" or "sterile". Somehow made rock music sound anemic. I wanted to like it, but at the same time, i couldn't tap my toes. Sean
I'm only posting this because of the reference to Soundlabs,as not being to good on rock. The first real hifi system I ever heard in a friend's home (as opposed to at a dealer) was made up of Accustat 1+1's,a Mac amp and pre,a Lynn table Rosewood cart.----AND yup, the Doors was one of the selections being played. This was back in the early 80's.Light years ahead of what I had and yes, being able to follow the bass lines was a big part of the attraction.
Xiekitchen: Most electrostatic speakers lack the dynamic output to sustain high spl's, let alone the bass that is needed to "drive" the music. On top of that, the way that most people build systems that are E-stat based may have something to do with this.
Having said that, i can assure you that a well designed E-stat based system CAN rock. Only problem is, these are very few and far between as most commercially built E-stat's are quite compromised by design. Most of this is due to marketing restraints.
I listen to mostly very hard & heavy music and my main system uses a line array of E-stat tweeters, a line array of E-stat mid-woofers and four dynamic sub-woofers per channel. While it is physically huge and i have six stereo amps configured as actively crossed monoblocks driving it, i can assure you that it DOES "rock" quite well. With over 2400 wpc available, it should : )
What most of these systems lack are surface area, headroom and low frequency content. By removing those factors from the equation, you can have all of the speed and dynamics that a system is capable of while retaining the proper amount of "bass weight" that is required to rock.
Next on your list was AR speakers. My HT system is AR based, centering around what used to be their top of the line models. Granted, these speakers are VERY far from stock now, but even in stock form, they would "rock". They just needed GOBS of power to do so. With a factory rating of 6400 watts rms, this system isn't hurting in that area either : )
As far as low powered tube amps go, you might be surprised what they can do with high efficiency speakers. I've heard some amps that were well below 10 wpc jam quite well. Maybe not as loudly or cleanly as i would like, but then again, i like things louder than most. Once again though, this comes down to system building and the goals / desires of the end user.
Other than that, i agree with your comments about the Spica's, Rogers, etc... when used by themselves as the mains of a system. These speakers simply don't want to play loudly and lack the low frequency weight to get the job done. Trying to force them to do so would only push them further out of their element, making them sound worse rather than better.
With that in mind, actively crossing them over and removing the low frequency content from the mix that they are fed can do wonders in this regards. You get all of the benefits of the focus and clarity that these designs are capable of while relying on a sub-woofer ( actually, more of a "woofer" in most cases ) to deliver the bottom end weight. In doing so, the smaller speakers can not only play louder, but also cleaner due to the reduced excursion requirements. Once again though, this comes down to system building and the goals of the end user.
In case you were wondering, my bedroom system is built much like this i.e. two small stand mounted time aligned monitors that are actively crossed over to dual subs : )
As a side note, have any of you ever noticed that certain changes that you made to your system have caused you to make changes to your listening habits? That is, substituting a piece of gear made you want to listen to more "softer" music rather than what you would normally listen to? I've seen this happen quite a bit with many folks / systems.
What happens here is that the system no longer gives you what you want out of it with harder music, so you shift to listening to music that it can deal with more easily. Psychologically, we don't want to listen to music / a system that doesn't make us happy, so listening to music that doesn't highlight the problems of such a system is what we do. This is more of a subconscious decision more than anything else.
I think that many audiophiles end up listening to Patricia Barber / Diana Krall simply because their system no longer "rocks" like it should. This is not to say that either PB or DK are bad performers, as i listen to them too, but that our musical tastes change with our system capacities.
The end result is that we end up losing the joys of much of the music that we loved in the past, simply because our system sounds too "hi-fi" or "clinical" rather than "musical". There's a fine line between what we call "accuracy" and "musicality". Finding a way to straddle that line can be quite costly, time consuming and difficult to say the least, but it can also be quite rewarding when one achieves the results that they were looking for.
After all, if music that you thought sounded "good" now sounds "bad" on your system, chances are, it's not the "good" music that went "bad". It's probably your system robbing the "life" out of the recordings. This doesn't mean that there aren't such things as "bad sounding" recordings, but that you should still be able to enjoy music that you previously enjoyed, regardless of the type of system that it is played on. Sean
Greetings, I personally run Klipsch laScalas and find their rendering of ROCK to be outstanding. Their super high sensitivity and ability to play extremely loud are just a couple of their superior attributes.
That said, I really don't agree with your initial premise. I believe the following to be true:
1. That a truely outstanding full spectrum set-up will sound excellent with all kinds of music.
2. That certain types of music are more able to bring out the weaknesses and strength of any given system.
So, I guess what I'm trying to say, is that the issue shouldn't be what type of music sounds the best with certain components, but rather, what are the actual strengths and weaknesses of those components.
Some old rock cd's sound best when played back on boom boxes, A remaster of some of these older cd's does help sometimes.
Sometimes the album (vinyl) sounds wonderful, god only knows what happened in the cd transfer?
I still own my old VMPS Supertower/R's...one of the best rock speakers ever, IMO...however, they will not take a cd with a bass freq response of 100hz at best, and a screechy hi-end and turn it into something it's not.
I have read that some "members systems" can do this, I have never listened to a system that can do this with my own ears however....short of my boombox..... which sounds pretty much the same with all music. (I think it's the pair of 4" speakers and the mega-bass button :D) that converts these over?>
As far as the "Doors" cd's...most are recorded fairly well IMO, and should sound (at least good) on any speaker system. If they don't...somethings wrong somewhere.
I would like to 2nd the opinion of Sogood51- i wanted something to play rock/pop music for my bedroom, and ended up with a JVC "Kaboom" box which sounded amazing in the store. when i fired it up at home with some jimi hendrix set to a volume i rarely listen to, i felt i had re-captured that REALLY ROCK-HEAVY dense sound i hadn't heard in years. in addition, the side firing speakers produced the kind of stereo field that hendrix and others were exploiting in those days (ping-ponging). they still make these boxes, and they do not distort until pushed almost all the way. i prefer not to play Mozart on the JVC, but it's really sad the last time i played Crosby, Stills, and Nash on my "accurate" system, where all of the sloppy mixing and timing errors drew my attention away from the timelessly great performances.
i can understand that these guys just wanted to record those great songs they had composed perhaps with a minimum of fuss, but those alblums are now classics; yet, their production standards are pretty low compared, for example, to recent madonna cd's...
Sounds like you have some electrostatics there!
As for the AR's, I had forgotten about the real big ones, esp. with the dual side firing 10's or 12's, yeah they probably really rock given enough juice. I'm thinking more in line with the 3's, 4's or 2's, the classic "new england" sound of 3 decades ago that AR is famous for, vs. say, Altec Lansing.
I agree with Sean,
many high end systems do make Rock and Roll sound anemic. Its like you can also hear the production through the speakers. Interestingly enough what did improve rock and roll through my system was playing it from my ipod.
As if degrading the sound actually improved it.
Just my 2 cents
Something along the lines of "Pink Floyd The Wall" or any other of the hundreds (maybe even thousands?) of well recorded rock albums... do sound good on any hi-end system that can playback at fairly high Spl's...most e-stats and planers can not do this except in small rooms.... all though their are a few exceptions.
I don't listen to a lot of rock music at this stage of my life but I do own lots of it...from "those" days.
I think Pink Floyd sounds as good as I've ever heard it "when I do play it" on my Apogee speakers/VMPS sub based system.
The problem is:
Most of the rock albums I own are from the 60's-80's...most, are not well recorded. They do sound ok in my truck and on my boom box because those two playback systems have a very limited freq range, ie....I don't expect much, so I just enjoy the music.
With our "big rigs" it can be somewhat hard to "just enjoy the music" when we.... "expect so much"
I will add that my 35 year old stepson is "very heavy" into rock. I have played back some of his music for him on my system...he was, as we like to say...BLOWN AWAY!
Most of the rock he listens to are bands that I know nothing about....tons of heavy bass and lots of screaming! I guess if I did enjoy his music (a good amount of beer did help)...I would enjoy it "more" on my system than his.
>>Most of the rock albums I own are from the 60's-80's...most, are not well recorded<<
Interesting. My collection covers the same period although mine begin about 1957 and most are recorded very well. Almost every one is a first release which may or may not be a factor and all are in mint or near mint condition. There are a handful of compressed recordings but the majority sound superb.
My bad, I have a bad habit of saying albums...I should have said cd's.
I do have many old albums (Linn Axis Turntable)...I re-bought many albums "cd replacements" from those years because I thought at the time it was the way to go... (better sound forever) and all that. I still own many of those old cd transfers and this is mostly what I was talking about.
I do not own most of my old vinyl...gave it away?
I have all of the Supertramp and Alan Parsons stuff on both album and cd for instance...the albums are worlds better.
Note: In this case I re-bought the albums...I never play the cd's
I find the bass MIA, and the highs distorted on most of these old transfers to cd....not all.
In the end....it's all about recording quality regardless of format...a turd is, a turd... be it Classical, Rock, Country, Blues, ect.
Dave, have you ever heard any of the Classic Records HDAD transfers of the Alan Parsons releases? I have not, but I'm sometimes tempted to buy one.
Do a search for "Parsons" on the website linked above to find the Alan Parsons releases.