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Thread: What Kind of Speakers are Best?

  1. #1
    Join Date: Apr 2015

    Location: Central Virginia

    Posts: 488
    I'm Russell.

    Default What Kind of Speakers are Best?

    Since we've had so much talk about analog vs digital, and the usual cable talk, here's a question of philosophy! What kind of speakers do you think are best, and why?

    When I say what kind, I'm not speaking about brand, too many brands to contemplate. I'm speaking of design, such as folded horns? Box speakers, both Floor Standers and Bookshelf. And Electrostatics? Are there any other design principles I've forgotten?

    These differences in speaker choices make more difference in the way a system sounds than most any other choice. More than cables, more than CD or vinyl, the difference in Sound between a folded horn and an Electrostatic are major.

    Personally, I own large floorstanding box type speakers, I like the visceral impact and slam they offer, and trueness of timber. But! Having said that, the most realistic, musicians in the same room with you, sound I've ever heard was from electrostatics. I could not believe how far I could hear into the music, the depth was so real. I could tell the singer was 5 feet in front of the drummer, I could see the bass player standing 6 feet to her left, and a guitar 4 feet to her right. The system driving it had everything to do with it, but still, Electrostatics produced the most lifelike playback I've ever heard.

    But I've heard some very entertaining horns before too! Strings in particular were very real, and everything sounded very large, but they were also very telling of weaknesses upstream.

    I feel this is a very personal thing. This choice controls the overall sound of our systems, this choice says a lot about our personal philosophies concerning hi-fi. And it has a major influence on the amplification we choose to power them with.

    So? What's your preference and why?


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  2. #2
    Join Date: Apr 2012

    Location: Southall, West London

    Posts: 26,784
    I'm Geoff.

    Default

    You've opened a proper 'can of worms' there.

    Everybody has their own favourite type of speaker. There is no 'best', just choices. I like electrostatics, heard many and owned Quads. I like decent transmission line speakers and some horns as well. I've tried many types and makes, but inevitably revert to using proper Tannoy dual concentrics. Have done for over forty years. I am also having fun with a small pair of classic KEFs at the moment though, they are extremely good.
    Mr. Tact!

    Main system: MMs/ADCs/Low output MC's/One rare Japanese SUT/One scarce British phono stage/various tonearms/hefty Japanese DD TT and hefty Japanese BD TT and small British BD TT. 4 CD players/2 jitter buster/2 DACs/Valve buffer. TVC stepped attenuator or valve pre-amp or solid state pre-amp. Current dumping power-amp or either of two Class A SS power-amp or Class A EL34 valve monos or big Japanese (part Class A) integrated. Big dual concentric speakers/Smaller dual concentric speakers/Two way British compacts and full range speakers, amongst others. And too much more to list!

  3. #3
    Join Date: Feb 2013

    Location: W Lothian

    Posts: 34,425
    I'm Grant.

    Default

    Fullrange single driver in reflex box, no xover for me.
    Last edited by struth; 08-04-2017 at 10:34.
    Regards,
    Grant ....
    Sometimes incompetence is useful. It helps you keep an open mind.
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  4. #4
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Staffordshire, England

    Posts: 17,100
    I'm Martin.

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    Electrostatics do some things the best but not the lower frequencies, they are accurate but lack a bit of 'slam'. Not heard any monster examples though so maybe they can do that too, don't know. Sorted QUAD ESLs are about 90% perfect, the missing 10% puts me off though.

    Horns, folded or otherwise, bit too coloured and everything is too 'big' - multi way horns like Speedy Steves work well, but into the realms of crazy extreme DIY

    Omni and semi-Omni can't really get on with, their presentation is too different for me

    Transmission lines - proper ones not tiny little standmounts pretending - trade off between bass power and bass accuracy, sounds like a real bass is playing but at the same time you can't 'see' the bass player's fingers on the frets - if there is a TL that can do this not heard it.

    Open Baffles - almost like electrostatics, unlike them they do have the slam but don't get the low bass right enough for me. I prefer box bass, sounds more like what I expect bass to sound like.

    And the speaker must be big. Not interested in any speaker that cannot do effortless scale of sound.

    2 way and 2 and a half way are too compromised. One driver trying to do the lot, improve the bass the mid suffers, improve the mid, bass suffers.

    So big, true 3 way speakers are my favourites. Exception being the JBL '4' series - big bass driver matched with a horn loaded compression driver, no crossover in the critical area, the likes of the 4365 just embarrass other high end speakers they are so clean and effortless. Big Tannoy DC I like for the same reason but the JBL method has the edge for me.
    Martin



    Current Lash Up:

    Technics SL1200 with Sumiko h/s & Nagaoka MP50 * Firebottle valve MM phono stage * Parasound CDPi1000 * NVA P90SA passive pre / Krell KSA50S Power amp * JM Lab Electra 926 loudspeakers *



    "I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me." - Hunter S Thompson

  5. #5
    Join Date: Apr 2009

    Location: Near Saffron Walden, Essex

    Posts: 5,122
    I'm Dave.

    Default

    They all have good and bad points so it's not possible to give a definitive answer. It's like asking "which is the best food ?" No answer.

  6. #6
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Staffordshire, England

    Posts: 17,100
    I'm Martin.

    Default

    You can say what your own favourite food is though.
    Martin



    Current Lash Up:

    Technics SL1200 with Sumiko h/s & Nagaoka MP50 * Firebottle valve MM phono stage * Parasound CDPi1000 * NVA P90SA passive pre / Krell KSA50S Power amp * JM Lab Electra 926 loudspeakers *



    "I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me." - Hunter S Thompson

  7. #7
    Join Date: Oct 2012

    Location: NE England

    Posts: 4,369
    I'm Jez.

    Default

    I pretty much agree with Macca on the Quad ELS speakers... probably the best I've ever heard.... so long as you don't want it really loud and don't mind holding your head very still in a +/- 2" listening position that is!

    I'd like to experiment with open baffle speakers after being very impressed indeed with some Linkwitz ones that someone brought along to a NEBO (sorry can't remember blokes name). They made every other speaker I heard that day sound like a toy! I would make them as 3 or 4 way active using analogue crossovers. A large round tuit needed plus lots of money for that though!

    Another possible speaker project on the cheap is to finish making my Mission 770's active.... I tried this 20 odd years ago but it was a dismal failure. I now know, or at least have a very good idea, why they were so bad, and how to do it properly, so it would be a very interesting project to re-visit
    Arkless Electronics-Engineered to be better. Tel. 01670 530674 (after 1pm)

    Modded Thorens TD150, Audio Technica AT-1005 MkII, Technics EPC-300MC, Arkless Hybrid MC phono stage, Arkless passive pre, Arkless 50WPC Class A SS power amp, (or) Arkless modded Leak Stereo 20, Modded Kef Reference 105/3's
    ReVox PR99, Studer B62, Ferrograph Series 7, Tandberg TCD440, Hitachi FT-5500MkI, also FT-5500MkII
    Digital: Yamaha CDR-HD1500 (Digital Swiss army knife-CD recorder, player, hard drive, DAC and ADC in one), PC files via 24/96 sound card and SPDIF, modded Philips CD850, modded Philips CD104, modded DPA Little Bit DAC. Sennheiser HD580 cans with Arkless Headphone amp.
    Cables- free interconnects that come with CD players, mains leads from B&Q, dead kettles etc, extension leads from Tesco

  8. #8
    Join Date: Sep 2009

    Location: west mids, UK

    Posts: 1,291
    I'm Phil.

    Default

    I like hybrid electrostatics with a subwoofer integrated with a panel . like martin logan . takes a lot to beat them

    using a 2 box speaker currently which is excellent . very satisfying even if not quite the bass and slam of logans . still got lovely vocals and sweet upper and mids

    heard some lovely horns too and maybe one day will try
    modwright 36.5 DM /MSB s200 , / Marantz sa8005/bel canto 3.5, vbs , bel canto fm1
    sonos, . dct300/ /isotek sigmas /rfc/chord epic cabling/Kimber select/ proac studio 125

  9. #9
    Join Date: Jul 2011

    Location: Northamptonish

    Posts: 1,497
    I'm Peter.

    Default

    You call those speakers?

    These are speakers .... https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/a...-wall-of-sound

    Now, those are proper JBLs, Martin

  10. #10
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Staffordshire, England

    Posts: 17,100
    I'm Martin.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by petrat View Post
    You call those speakers?

    These are speakers .... https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/a...-wall-of-sound

    Now, those are proper JBLs, Martin
    Yep must have packed a bit of a punch. But if I set that lot up in the living room I wouldn't be able to get into the kitchen. You can see the bind I'm in.
    Martin



    Current Lash Up:

    Technics SL1200 with Sumiko h/s & Nagaoka MP50 * Firebottle valve MM phono stage * Parasound CDPi1000 * NVA P90SA passive pre / Krell KSA50S Power amp * JM Lab Electra 926 loudspeakers *



    "I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me." - Hunter S Thompson

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