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Speakers As I Heard them.

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KiranPS

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 13, 2012
Messages
146
Points
63
Location
Chennai
I am no expert, but in the past few months since I started building
my audio (HiFi & HT) system , I have had the good fortune of auditioning quite a few speakers.

I thought I would document them before I forget how they sounded. This is for someone to use it as a starting point for what to expect when they audition. Also note that the amp and other electronics in the chain could also have played a big role in how the speakers sounded for me.

Please note that these observations are completely and utterly unscientific. I was looking for a speaker for the kind of music I listen to , Pop, Soft Vocal , classical, Desi OST etc. I dont listen to Hard Rock, Metal , Loud DJ Music etc.
They are also biased based on how my ears , my mood, my hunger level etc were , on the day I heard the speakers, speaker placement etc. I will admit Some of the rants about expensive speakers are just sour grapes reaction on my part.

Klipsch
RF 8
Very Bright, Good for probably heavy metal rock etc.
sold them after a few weeks.

ELAC -

FS 58.2 - What I own and use on a daily basis.
Paird with onkyo TX 609 they are the right amount of bright with
decent bass.
Since I had to place them close to the wall and followed advice that
if I had a dedicated Sub woofer, it would be better if I set the cross over
on the Onkyo to 120 Hz to better detail since the Receiver has more
head room since all the low frequencies are handled by the ELAC Sub.

I auditioned their other lines too , they all were geared towards HT rather than
Hifi, so I could not get the Imaging, Presence etc. Frequency response and clarity were
good but I Felt they were not for Music.


EPos m12.1
The first Stereo HiFi grade speakers I own. These were the
the Speakers that taught me what Imaging, presence is all about. Bass is not
that good , but for vocals, and midrange they are unbeatable. My Elac can
handle better freq range but the voices and instruments have a tint of highs
in them. On the EPos voice and midrange instruments are spot on.

Sonus Faber ( Luito )
These were the best speakers that I heard for that price. They have deep tight bass,
very good mid range and clear and crisp but not bright highs. The detail is unbelievable on these, the imaging and presence are also very good. Andrea bocelli sounds almost real on these.


Thiel
They were very bright for me , but not as bad as klipsch.


Revel
These are very mellow speakers, and are not detail oriented but are pretty transparent. They sounded good with NAIM or ARCAM but bad with parasound amp.
They need to be paired with a bright amp.

Warfdale.
These are the only speakers I was disappointed by. The entry level speakers had absolutely no highs at all , I heard so much about them and was expecting to be blown away but nothing. I even heard the Jade Series but the Bass was lacking and Highs were lacking in details, My Elacs have more detail than these. Even the Bass was muddy and not tight. These speakers are supposed to be non fatiguing so they are not bright. I guess there are designed for people who look for that characteristic.

B&W (6 Sereies)
The funny thing about these are that inspite of auditioning them a couple of times I don't remember anything remarkable about them. I do remember that they were not bright , but also lacked details at highs and mids.

Paradigm
These again were good but unremarkable. Smooth good lows, good highs but lacked imaging and presence. I guess more for HT.


Dali,
Good Transparent speakers , good mids but dull on highs and lows. Nothing remarkable.

Qudral,(Platinum M40)
There are I guess HT speakers so they have a tinge of harshness at the highs.
Very good bass and very clear and had very good details. Would be great for HT.

Mordaunt-Short. (Mezzo 8)
These are the speakers that had Hifi Characteristics I like, Not bright but detailed
had good presence and imaging. Bass was lacking, I guess it might have been
because they were driving it using an AVR and not a HI FI Power amp

Onkyo 5.1 HT Satellite Speakers
If you have a AVR and you have no other option you can go for these. They are pretty
good for the price.

Sony 5.1 HT Sattilite Speakers
These are a lot better than Onkyo, the sub woofer can do with some improvement.


Super Expensive Ones (Warning : Sour Grape Rants Following)- My expectation for these super expensive speakers were that , when I listened to them, they would make the hair on my neck stand up and give me goosebumps. Well they did not, A sonus Faber did that the first time I heard them, but none of these did.

Focal Grande Utopia (in Taiwan) Rs 80 Lacs (Approx price)
These are in a different league. I could never afford / justify them, but its like this,
they cost something like 120 times my EPOS, but definitely don't sound
120 times better. They were amazing very transparent, I could not find a
single issue with the SQ but no goosebumps. An interesting issue I noticed with these speakers are that they have to be pointed at the listener directly. If you are off axis the SQ degrades quite quickly.

I guess the price is more for Luxury Value than for sound quality. Sound quality
Improvements probably started tapering off at around 5 Lacs per pair. So they
started to improve the size and finish and materials used in the box to justify
the cost.

Vivid Giya G1 (in Taiwan)
Very good sound quality but also very expensive no goosebumps.






MBL.

I read somewhere that we creates problems that did not exist before and
then try to solve them and then expect to get paid for it.

Case and point for this is the MBL. I read the kind of issues the engineers had faced
to get the MBL Radialstrahler to just work and sound normal. They have huge monoblocks driving them because they lack sensitivity.
You almost have to build your room around this speaker for it to sound good (position, acoustic treatments etc). I bet a speaker at a lot lower price point would achieve the same characteristics at a much lower price point. I guess this would look boring and technologically very common to someone who wants an exclusive look and has a lot of cash to pay for it.

Also have you seen the size of their CD player ? I wonder what they have in there to justify such a big enclosure ? and It weighs 30Kgs.

When I heard them , they were awesome, but nowhere near to justify the cost. I guess many finer things in life are like that, like Rolex Watches, Rolls Royce Cars, Rare wines etc. An expensive Gold Rolex is not that much better than a Casio at keeping time , but still it costs 10,000 times more.

Conclusion:

What I realized was that you don't need to spend a lot of money to get speakers that sound awesome to you. There is no linear or even direct relationship between SQ and Price. There are plenty of great sounding speakers at reasonable costs if SQ is the most important factor.

Here is an intresting article of how $10k Paradigm Signature S8 are comparable to the likes of Wilsons, Magico etc.

Floor-Standing Speaker Reviews: Paradigm Reference Signature S8 v3 Loudspeakers Reviewed
 

jaivelu

Active Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2011
Messages
316
Points
28
Location
Coimbatore
That's one heck of review I have read in this forum(I am still a newcomer) so far.....

I have always believed that we spend more for those very expensive speakers for those little more sound quality which they offer over the most affordable speakers could manage.

Thanks once again KiranPS for this wonderful update and enlightenment...... It will pretty useful for all those people who are still looking for that leading light of sound which they are still searching through....... :)
 

KiranPS

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 13, 2012
Messages
146
Points
63
Location
Chennai
Recently was at Usher Dealer in Taipei and had a chance to listen to some Usher speakers.

BE-718 diamond: This was an amazing speaker, and the quality of the sound easily beat the other bigger speakers I heard. The clarity and Bass was pretty good for its size. More importantly the imaging and sound stage was excellent. The sound was clear without being harsh or sharp with solid bass.

The dealer said that BE-718 was being discontinued and will be replaced with Mini-X.

Mini-X diamond : This was too harsh and bright for my taste. After a few minutes my ear started to pain. This speaker reminded me of the Klipsch speaker I used to have. I guess this is suited to the Heavy Rock / Metal style of music.

CP-8871 : This was a huge speaker but the sound was very weak and unimpressive. This may have been because of the Paired Usher AMP. The sound lacked the room filling characteristic of the BE-718 and was not musical at all. There was no sound stage and the sound was localized to the speakers.
 
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Staxxx

Active Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2011
Messages
780
Points
43
Location
Bangalore
Thanks for the article. I have heard many of the brands but would never be able to summarize so precisely the characteristics since I have always found that system synergy plays so much of a role as well as the listeners personal preference. But we all try! For example the Revels have always been known for great detail and are slightly brighter than many others - I have owned the Salons a while ago. This is a little different from your experience with them, although I am not sure which model.
In terms of the various comments on value and justifying price....yes after a point one is only looking for absolute improvements (according to one's preference), its not about the money! It's hard to explain it as we are all do try and make rational decisions...but honestly, eventually when you get into the ultra high end audio realm it really isn't about what you spend.
For example, I went from a very expensive speaker to the ones I have now (at a quarter of the price) but I don't think I lost any where near 75% of the SQ. The other thing is, particularly with sources, technology is changing and developing so quickly that pricing I find is very confusing when evaluates on the basis of price.
Sometimes I personally believe the best way is to think hard if you can live with the sound happily and if you can afford it....then go for it.
 
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