What are the best speakers for 80's hard rock?


Hello folks!
I want suggestions for best speakers and amp for 80's hard rock music. Many bad recordings, so many high end speakers (and amps) sounds very harsh and hard, with little bass. It's more important to me that my stereo can play bad recordings in a good way, than play good recordings in a fantastic way.

I want very laidback and soft treble, but I want a bass that goes deep and alo is very punchy.

I know many people say that I should here on vintage speakers. But I want new speakers. Any price range!

Thanks for suggestions!
rockpanther
You need to tell us your budget, but PSB is a very good rock speaker. Deep tight bass when they're up on spikes. Wide soundstaging and not overly detailed.

They have metal tweeters (but not bright), so with a well matched source, they will provide smooth mids and highs.
For 80s rock? How about no speakers. Just kidding. Yuk, yuk...
Cerwin Vega they are still around and make speakers with you in mind.
JBLs were good back in the 80s and there's no reason to think they wouldn't be today. My old Legacy Classics loved rock as well.
"Any Price" - be careful what you wish for ;-)

Legacy Audio Whisper XDS

For somewhat less:
Legacy Focus SE

Approaching Earth:
Nola Contender 2 - with pair of REL T5's or a single S3/S5

If these don't Rock you out, nothing will.
"I want very laidback and soft treble, but I want a bass that goes deep and alo is very punchy."

That will be a combination of the amp and speaker. But if you are just looking for speakers right now, here's a few that you may like. I'm taking into account that soft highs are very important.

The origional Mirage M series that have the soft dome tweeters, Meridian M33's and a sub, Most of the Mission speakers, Current Pioneer speakers (excellent value), possibly Monitor Audio (Silver Series), McIntosh, ProAc Response 2 with a sub. Energy speakers that had the camel hair tweeters (may be the best option if you can find them) and a sub depending on size, Soundwave.

I'm sure there's more, but thats all I can think of right now. You may also want to factor in a good EQ like a Behringer 24/96. On bad recordings, you sometimes have no other option.
I have found that the Legacy Focus SE or the Legacy Aeris will give you an authentic rock experience like no other. If you are not too far from South Bend, IN, you should come and listen for yourself.
As it is for metal, so it is for hard rock which is to say that the speaker does not care what you play. If it is good for rock it should be good for classical and vice versa.

If you do not find this to be the case its simply because its not that great a speaker to begin with.
The bigger JBLs, Klipsch, ATCs, Tannoys etc. I believe the Legacies are good, but I only heard them briefly at CES a couple of years ago. If on a tight budget, the Cerwins aren't too bad.
Snell C5's
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Atmasphere is referring to system synergy; you can get the sound you seek by well matched components in your system.

Having said that, Rockpanther, a good source and not only the speakers is still a major factor in reproducing any genre of music, although some speakers do excel at reproducing rock.
Rockpanther-

you can go vintage and buy a pair of Cerwin Vega (I used these in the 80-90's for Hard Rock/Metal) or Infinity Cresendo Series (made in the 90's).

On the more modern side and my personal reference loudspeaker, Thiel CS 2.4, CS 2.7 or CS 3.7- (the CS 3.7 needs much room to open up correctly- room size should be 20x20, 25x25 or 30x30...etc.)

Keep me posted & Happy Listening!
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Atmasphere is referring to system synergy; you can get the sound you seek by well matched components in your system.

Actually, I'm not talking about synergy although that can play a role. I am simply stating that a speaker is 'ideal for rock' as opposed to other forms of music is one of the biggest myths in the speaker world.

If its good for classical and jazz it should be good for rock. If not, the speaker has a serious flaw and likely isn't all that good for classical or jazz either.

I had JBL 99 best rock speaker.
Atmasphere- while I tend to agree, many speakers or combos don't exactly rock out.

I heard Leben with Harbeth for example at a show that put me to sleep!
Many great suggestions here .
I would add , not more companies , but design .
Look for speakers with 'one' large woofer 10" or greater not an array of small ones .
And stick with soft dome tweeters , not metal .
This will allow the heavy bass lines to come through and tame some of the strident highs .
The trouble is that speakers with this size of woofer , while plentiful in the 80's , are scarce today due to the width of the cabinet required . That is one reason that the suggestions are for older speakers .

Good luck
There are speakers that might sound good which is subjective and those that perform well with proper amplification which is more objective. Not the same thing necessarily. I think Atmasphere is saying if it truly performs well for classical it will also for rock. I would tend to agree in general.
Not scarce, Saki70, just not as prevalent. See my post above. All of those companies make speakers with big woofers.

How about speakers that you like which play music well and consider a clean EQ, such as GML, to address "80's" CD mastering?

Anyway, just a thought...good luck! :-)
Keithr, yes, some speakers don't rock. That's too bad for them- I would expect they would have troubles with other forms of music too.
Dave_72 ;
My bad . I reread the original post and saw that he did say "Any price range " !

Happy Tunes
saki70
JBL 43xx series, Cerwin Wega, Def Tech... no need to spend more indeed.
I agree with Atmosphere. If you're rig is sorted properly, it should sound good for all types of music, period. If it is only sounding good with certain types of music its because it has faults that just aren't present when listening to that genre of music. A good system sounds good with all types of music, no?
The CErwin Vega recommendations are interesting. Its been many years but that is one brand of speakers I can say I have never, ever heard sound good. The bass always seems to be muddy. DID these get better later on? Specific models that are better maybe? Or maybe improvements in amps and other gear over time makes them sound better than they did?
The CErwin Vega recommendations are interesting. Its been many years but that is one brand of speakers I can say I have never, ever heard sound good. The bass always seems to be muddy. DID these get better later on? Specific models that are better maybe? Or maybe improvements in amps and other gear over time makes them sound better than they did?

Muddy undefined bass is never good, 80s rock or otherwise.
Mapman, I had a pair of pro use keyboard stage use speaker's called the Cerwin Vega V-15E, one of the best speaker's for sound quality for stage, most of the mid's came out the 15" woffer, three way horn loaded speaker's that only did 40HZ to 16KHZ, but man, they were 103 db sensativity, mated with Tara lab's and a Krell FPB-200 amp was music nirvana, talking about great defined bass, these thing's rocked the house down, I modded them too, very awsome back in the day of the 90's, I will have fond memories of that set-up the rest of my life!, The whole rig was stolen by second devorced wife when I was out of town, yes, this had alot to do with me not being with her anymore, needless to say!, I would have loved to keep that system, even today with the one I have now, two is more fun than one, you think?
owned cerwin-vega D-7,(still do)These were made to rock! very efficient, adjustable mid and treble.horn tweeter,12" woofer.
No they didn't and they're same, but still good fit for hard rock that is often played with distorted guitars and basses. Not good for any other music tho. If anyone listens to only hard rock and rock'n'roll no need for better ones and good way to save funds.
No worries, saki70. :D
No they didn't and they're same, but still good fit for hard rock that is often played with distorted guitars and basses. Not good for any other music tho. If anyone listens to only hard rock and rock'n'roll no need for better ones and good way to save funds.
Czarivey (System | Threads | Answers | This Thread)

An elitist and ignorant statement. Every genre I've listened to, including hard rock and heavy metal, benefit from a quality speaker system. The bigger Legacy speakers mentioned above would work well. Another speaker that would be excellent with rock would be the Volti Alura. Tremendous speakers, though approaching 20k.
I never liked cerwin vega with anything including hard rock but that is their most common application in practice I'd bet.
Czarivey, what if the band is playing with distorted guitars but undsitorted bass?? Many bass players have very powerful amps so as to avoid distortion.

In addition, since we are talking about rock, one must not forget that synthesizers can make prodigious bass. My Prophet 5 plays bass lower than basses can go, but does not sound that great if its distorted. So I have to have a lot of power to avoid distortion when playing in my band.

Cerwin Vegas are cheap and you get what you pay for- in this case substandard sound compared to the actual recordings made in the 80s (and I have a lot of them).

Again, you want the best speaker for hard rock- it will be the same as the best speaker for classical. Its our brains that make the distinction, not the equipment.
Even distortion produced by design in rock music only sounds right when played back accurately. Adding noise and distortion during playback is always bad, even if present in the source material.

No doubt rock music always sounds best played back on the best system, just like all the rest. Best in terms of least amount of noise and distortion, which always sounds the best that is possible given the source material in the end.

Public enemy # 1 in most systems in terms of noise and distortion is amp clipping. Insure against that ever happening, especially at louder volumes often called for with certain kinds of music for lifelike reproduction in particular, like rock, orchestral and big band and chances are the rest will work out a lot faster as well.

If louder listening volume is not of concern, then things get easier, but realize there will be performance limitations imposed upon ones listening choices.
I sold CVs in the 80s and did not like them but they do work with rock so when someone wanted to rock that is what they got.
If you are sitting in a chair listening to them audiophile style with chin in your hand that will not work because they are easy to pick apart.
I still find a pair of Advents (NAL 1978-82)or Polk Monitor 10s to Just sound good I swear I enjoy listening to them more then semi high buck speakers I have tried I am not sure what it is They just get me going because they sound like music, flaws and all.
I've ranted about this a few times...Atmosphere is 100% correct...noting a preferred music type for speaker or system selection is silly, unless some loudness level is required for frequent drunk dancing. Mahler or Medeski Martin and Wood are as, or more, dynamic than "80s rock" which is (was?) generally very compressed. I remember when I bought some Cerwin Vegas from some angry divorced chick who's ex was out of town back in the day...but I digress...I can say that gear made for live sound has similar goals regarding clean headroom, but really can't be compared to well designed home hifi gear which serves a different purpose altogether. Just add a decent sub for drunk dancing.
Hi Wolf_Garcia, I got a good laugh out of your post, the cerwin vega V-15E speaker's were way more transparent than any home use cerwin vega speaker's, I did not like the home use speaker's at all, I was still young enough after the divorce, that absolutly, I did many drunk dancing with awsome looking fefe's, why not, had my own new place all to my self, with no one to answer too back in the 90's.
distortion produced by design and the rest of music of 80's hard rock in general poorly recorded. that's why. what's the point having invested huge for a few songs vs. the rest of bands?
I know a lot of people who listened solely to rock tended to like Cerwin Vega yes because of the large 12" bass drivers and price. I just know they always finished dead last in the auditions for customers for me.

THey also used to like the old Realistic Mach One speakers for similar reasons which were lets just say not that good.

Big speakers with big drivers was often all it took to make a sale to a rocker, no doubt.
distortion produced by design and the rest of music of 80's hard rock in general poorly recorded. that's why. what's the point having invested huge for a few songs vs. the rest of bands?

Sorry, this comment is nonsense. For starters, rock going back the 1950s has had 'distortion by design'- that is the sound of an electric guitar, which continues to this day.

Like any genre, 80s rock has some excellent and some poor recordings as does rock from any other period.
great point Ralph of Atmasphere.
"Ralph of Atmasphere" sounds medieval.
yeah wolf & his amps look like something out of Frankenstein's Lab but I've heard them & they sound fantastic & kick some serious arse, personally I love the look too.
Wolf_ garcia, I got a good laugh out of what you said, I get it, I do not believe Pehare did, any way, I live in a cave in the woods and my relative's were knight's of the round table, he, ha,he.
that's sir Ralph of Atmasphere, I do get carried away talking like that at time's, like I will say, what say you sir Wolf_ Garcia of Audiogon?, ha,he,ha.
ADS 810's. Or 910's. Or 710's.
With those criteria...mellow treble/punch bass... You might be better off going the stand mount and sub configuration...budget option would be Pioneer speakers that are all the rage..and a musical sub such as HSU...higher price point...British monitor with REL sub
OHM Walsh 5X models use a single 12" driver to better effect for producing most of the music much better than any other 2 or 3 way design with a 12" driver that I have ever heard.

That includes 80s hard rock along with all the rest.

In fact, I can't think of any 2 way designs with a 12" driver? Some pro gear I suppose. Most have to go three way to do things well. That opens up an additional can of worms. I've never been a fan of 3 way designs in general though I know there are many good sounding ones out there.

Ideally I would want a large single driver to do it all but practically the options there are limited to other forms of very hard to find Walsh speakers that over the years have typically also proven to be quite fragile.
Many suggestions of vintage speakers here. Also some suggestions about sub to the speakers. I want the speaker to deliver the deep bass tones (as good as fexample PSB Synchrony One), and the speaker must be sold new today!

It's unbelievable that none "high-end" producers can focus MORE on making a speaker that is better and more forgiving on bad recordings. Many people have problems with harsh and forward treble. The only speaker sold new today in "high-end-category" that the treble is not harsh on bad recordings, must be Vienna Beethoven series. But unfortunately when I heard them, there was not enough punch in the bass on these speakers. The bass was not so good when listening to hardrock music.
Go with Magico S5's paired with Vitus amp(s) and front end, and live happily ever after. That is the best combo i've found to make crappy 80's recordings of classic and hard rock sound good and really rock! Even the less expensive Magico S3's paired with warm, tube-like amps (Vitus Reference Series, Pass XA.5 series, Dartzeel, Soulution etc) can pressurize even a medium size room.
Infinity primus 363...smooth treble, open midrange, warm propulsive bass. Klipsch would be an obvious choice if not for the horn. Still, worth an audition. They have hi boogie factor.