General Speaker Advice and Recommendations

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by shotgunshane, Mar 7, 2017.

  1. Hrodulf

    Hrodulf Prohibited from acting as an MOT until year 2050

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    A sub is 80% integration and 20% the actual sub. With that said, the Rythmik seems like the better deal.
     
  2. zonto

    zonto Friend

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    Between those two, I'd definitely go Rythmik. Could you fit two of the E15SE 15" sealed subs instead? If your room is enormous, you're going to want more than two 12" subs I'd think.

    /////

    Separately, has anyone spent time with the Dali Oberon 9? I have only spent time with the Rubicon 8 at a dealer (described here). I didn't love the elevated treble presentation of the Rubicon, and I'm wondering if that's because of the silk dome + ribbon tweeter combo. The Oberon 9 doesn't have the ribbon tweeter; it has two 9" woofers, one 7" midrange, and a silk tweeter. It's much cheaper than the other Dali lines, so I assume they may have skimped out a bit on the cabinet and crossover comparatively, but maybe that's OK if the overall presentation and tonality is still good. I loved the tonality of the Rubicon 8 with the wood pulp cones, etc.
     
  3. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    Reviews and Frequency response charts of each on this site if you want to compare - from everything I’ve read, elevated treble is part of their house sound (but I’m sure some models more than others):
    https://audio.com.pl/testy/stereo/kolumny-glosnikowe/3591-dali-oberon-9

    https://audio.com.pl/testy/stereo/kolumny-glosnikowe/2450-rubicon-8
     
  4. zonto

    zonto Friend

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    The not-urgent search to replace my Maggies continues.

    Previous posts:

    I recently demoed the ATC SCM40v2 at a local dealer and absolutely loved them. This was in the same room that I demoed the PSB and Devore speakers per the second link above. Chain with the ATCs was a dCS Bartok into a Vinnie Rossi Brama integrated amp.

    Listening notes on the ATC SCM40:
    • Initially, my impression was that I was hearing more of the recording than the actual music. This impression faded somewhat over time, as I really enjoyed a wide variety of genres on these.
    • They obviously had more bass presence than my Maggies. I was surprised with how low the bass extended given this uses only a 6.5" woofer. It is massively overbuilt though, and this speaker utilizes a sealed / acoustic suspension alignment. The bass was super tight! I noticed that everything seemed more cohesive with these than the Focal Sopra No. 3 and Aerial Acoustics 6T that I demoed a couple weeks before. More on those below.
      • They did seem a bit bass light coming from the ported speakers I've recently demoed. Obviously a ported design is going to get more bass down to the port tuning frequency. However, I played a couple bassy tracks (Outkast - Speakerboxx is one I use often) and the lower bass was all there. I think I can live with this tradeoff, especially with subs at some point.
      • I think pairing these speakers with one or two Rythmik F12G sealed subwoofers using the GR Research subs could be awesome. The ATC cabinet has a Qtc of 0.5 (per this review), so the bass is tuned more for accuracy and transient response than punchiness or pure output. Rythmik subs on high damping mode also have a Qtc of 0.5.
    • The treble was not super extended here. But I'm OK with that. I've heard more extended treble on a couple speakers that I've demoed now over the course of this thread. Thinking about the Focals, the treble extension came with some listening fatigue. Thinking about the Dali, the treble extension came from a ribbon tweeter mated with a soft dome, so it had more of that smiley sound signature with recessed mids.
    • The nice thing about the treble extension on the SCM40 is that it made poorly recorded rock and punk very listenable. I absolutely loved these speakers with rock/punk and related subgenres. The bass was quick, the midrange and treble were very well-integrated, the midrange handled guitar distortion super well, and the treble response with the soft dome tweeter didn't make me want to gouge my ears out. Listening to a couple louder tracks really got my heart pumping and was super awesome.
    • These had pretty good depth. They were maybe 4-5 feet out from the front wall, so more than I could do at home. But easy to hear drum kits placed behind singers.
    • The imaging wasn't the best I've heard. Some of that may have been the mixes. Occasional feeling that harder panned sounds were coming from one speaker instead of on a presented stage.
    • This was the first time I'd ever heard a dome midrange. I really liked it. The midrange was very transparent. This is probably one of my favorite things about them, because midrange transparency is what I love the most about the Maggies.
    • While listening, I cranked up the volume to a bit over 80 dB at listening position (maybe 3-3.5m from speakers or so). Same level at listening position I tried with the Sopra No. 3 at the other dealer previously. Sounded incredible. No audible distortion and everything just scaled on the ATCs. The overbuilt drivers really are incredible. The midrange driver alone weighs 15-20 pounds, so more than some subwoofers!
    • The speakers sounded good at all volumes at which I tried them, but they did seem to come into their own a bit at moderate to higher volume. This could be due to the relative lack of efficiency given the sealed design. I'm used to this phenomenon with Maggies, and noticed that it got better (meaning more enjoyable sound at lower volumes) when I upgraded my amp from the Ragnarok integrated to the Coda 16.0. Seems then that in my experience more current equals a more enjoyable listening experience at lower volumes too.
    • Over time, my initial qualms re: sounding more like the recording than music, etc. kind of faded away. Stuff just sounded "right". Nothing really jumped out at me about the speakers or their frequency response (aside from the bass notes above due to cabinet design). They were very cohesive. Other speakers did certain things better I guess, but these just sounded overall correct to me.

    Focal Sopra No. 3
    • Heard these at the same dealer where I've demoed the Aerials, KEF, Klipsch, etc. stuff talked about in the previous couple posts. This was through a $20k or so Linn streamer/preamp into a Krell Duo 300 stereo amp, using Nordost Valhalla cables.
    • They had lots more treble energy than I'm used to. Compared to these (Sopra No. 3 Stereophile measurements), my Maggies have quite a bit of rolloff in the treble (Maggie 1.6QR Stereophile measurements). I'm sure the Nordost cables didn't help here, as they were either copper+silver or silver-plated copper. Every system I've heard with Nordost cables has been bright and annoying to me. This dealer loves them though...
    • These speakers were not as involving as it was listening to the Utopia on the Lyr+ loaner tour recently.
    • Vocals didn't sound as realistic as I've heard on other speakers. Not sure if it was the cables, chain, or the speakers themselves. I don't recall how vocals sounded on the Electra Be speakers I demoed years ago to compare, unfortunately.
    • I tried these at 80dB per my NIOSH app, and it was fatiguing. Just like my Utopia, these are better for low to moderate level listening. Right around 70 dB average on compressed music was the sweet spot here. When listening to my Utopias at home, that's also what I use as a rough cap.
    • These speakers are big and sounded big. The images were big. There was lots of bass. I don't think it was super well-controlled. Could be a function of room as well. Listening to the Aerial 6T (which I've heard a couple times before) on the same chain in the same spot, the bass was much more controlled and the images were smaller and less 3D.
    • The price on these, especially now after COVID/inflation markups, is ridiculous.
    /////

    I should have mentioned that part of my search here involves not just finding a pair of stereo loudspeakers that I want to replace the Maggies with now. It also includes finding speakers for which the manufacturer makes home theater focused speakers that I could easily expand later to create a five- or seven-channel (bedlayer) surround sound system if/when I ever buy a home and stop renting.

    That's an option with Aerial, Focal, Dali, Dynaudio, and ATC, so not super concerned there.

    If I had to revise my current list of frontrunners to replace the Maggies based on listening experiences so far and desire to use them in a future home theater, I'd probably say:

    1. ATC SCM40v2
    2a. Aerial 7T
    2b. Focal Electra 1038 Be (extrapolating from the 1028 Be I heard)
    3. Dali Rubicon 8. I'm actually really interested in hearing the Oberon 9, but seems no one close to me has one in stock. This foregoes the ribbon tweeter and uses just a soft dome, and has two 9" bass woofers.
    4. Dynaudio Contour 60 (extrapolating from the Contour 30 I heard).

    I plan to return to the same ATC dealer and compare the SCM40v2 to the Dynaudio Contour 30 (which I heard years ago, but at a different dealer out of state). This same dealer also has Magico, which I've never heard. Unfortunately, this dealer doesn't have any of the bigger ATC speakers, nor are any of them the active versions. I'm probably OK with that as I think the Coda would pair well with the ATC passives. I also plan to travel up to Fidelis in New Hampshire and try Sonus Faber. They also have Maggies there, so I can compare directly, likely on Pass Labs electronics.
     
  5. Hrodulf

    Hrodulf Prohibited from acting as an MOT until year 2050

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    I've always felt that Focal home hifi speakers are tuned to sell by exaggerating treble. ATC is very decent, if you can - go for the active version of the SCM40, they do everything better. Getting a similar result with outboard electronics was super hard and/or expensive.
     
  6. Priidik

    Priidik MOT: Estelon

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    ATC knows their biz.
    The SCM100 active sound great.
    My expectation of a missing driver between the woofer and the tiny mid resolved quickly.
    It sounded powerful and complete.
     
  7. Eric Rosenfield

    Eric Rosenfield Facebook Friend

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    This may be a stupid question.

    In headphones, there's stuff like the Koss KSC/PP/KPH models and the Sennheiser 5/6 series that are known for performing well beyond their price range and enough to be some people's endgames. Certainly, I'd rather listen to my HD6XX than lots of headphones I've tried that cost $1k or more.

    Are there any speakers like that? Just ones where if they suit your taste they can cream much more expensive gear without costing thousands of dollars, or even being crazy cheap like the Koss models (crazy cheap at least for the speaker market--not expecting anything to actually cost $15).

    Personally, I'm looking mostly at bookshelves for nearfield or 2-channel systems, but just in general coming at speakers as a n00b but knowing a little bit about headphones, I'm wondering if there's some basic lay-of-the-land stuff like this that you'd tell any newbie the way I'd steer someone starting out immediately into the arms of Koss or Sennheiser.

    I know the JBL 305's have a good rep, but looking at people's conversations around them they don't really seem like giant killers the way the HD600 is.
     
  8. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    The JBL 305 and KEF LS50 are to speakers what the Audio Technica M50 and Senn HD600 are to headphones. Sorta. In the sense that so many people have heard them that they are great reference points, and if you haven't heard them it's super easy to buy sell recycle them on the secondary market without losing anything.
     
  9. gepardcv

    gepardcv Almost "Made"

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    What speakers are the equivalent of the HD800?
     
  10. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    Not a direct comparison in terms of sound, but I'm gonna add the Klipsch Heresy/Cornwall to the list, and also the P3ESR plus its variants. Again, those have both been around forever and serve as good reference points.

    On the production/studio end, the Yamaha NS10 have carved their own little corner of audio history.
     
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  11. Justin S

    Justin S Friend

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    I am thinking of making a system change/downgrade in our family room. I don't listen to speakers much any more, would love to free up a bit of capital (looking at you ZMF), and would love to not behave anxiously while teens hang out there - they should just have fun.

    The current system is Yggdrasil LIM, Heed Obelisk SI3, Harbeth P3ESR XDs and a REL T7i. I am thinking a J2, a reasonably decent integrated...or just keep the Heed (it's nice), and some Imagine Bs, LS50s, Dentons...??? Trying to keep it to about $800 CAD or less. I have had various Harbeths for 8 years and love the mids and the imaging. I know I won't get that for $800 but this is where my preferences travel.

    This system will be mostly for TV, teens playing video games and listening to tunes, and occasional adult music nights.

    As much as I love it, my plan for the LIM would be to see if it makes sense in my work suite or sell it on. My current work DAC is the Lynx Hilo which is super useful and sounds great with the Lyr+.

    In any event, does anyone have any modestly priced "bookshelf" speaker recommends?

    I'll keep the REL so bass would not be an issue. The room is 20 wide on the front wall X 13 deep. Ceilings are Toronto-old-house-baesment-low. I would be putting the speakers about 2' from the wall. I am not opposed to plugging rear ports.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2023
  12. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    Honestly, I think you're in a pretty good range right now. You're only dropping down half a tier and not really gonna feel that satisfaction of bang for buck, plus trying to fill that space with bookshelves at your price point is gonna sound meh even with a sub. Does it have to be bookshelves? If you're willing to do something like this:
    https://www.canuckaudiomart.com/details/649942763-jbl-l56-speakers/
    you'll get the room fill and oomph to feel like a party.

    If bookshelves... some recent ads near you that I'm randomly grabbing off CAM:
    https://www.canuckaudiomart.com/details/649976346-elac-bs-203-anniversary-ed-bookshelf-speakers/
    https://www.canuckaudiomart.com/det...ni-fi-20-ub52-bk-bookshelf-speakers-open-box/
    https://www.canuckaudiomart.com/det...-600m-ii-walnut-bookshelf-speakers-rp600mwii/

    I'm assuming you're running spdif from the tv to the Heed? Grab a pair of Vanatoo Transparent One Encores fed directly from the tv, sell the integrated, take the Yggdrasil to work and decide if you're keeping that or the Lynx. Selling off the Harbeths, Heed and one dac, now you've freed up a more significant sum of fun money to play around with.
     
  13. Justin S

    Justin S Friend

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    Those JBLs look interesting. You're right - it does not have to be bookshelves. I just know zero about anything else. I will do some investigating. That seller is close enough I could meet them in Barrie.
     
  14. Justin S

    Justin S Friend

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    Ahahaha. I told my wife the plan and she reminded me of two things. She LOVES the way the system sounds now. Having sold and rebought harbeths on 3 occasions after hating everything else, I asked her to slap me if I ever spoke about selling these XDs (which are perfect to my tastes). Consider myself slapped. I am going to hold for now.
     
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  15. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    If you ever decide to proceed, if you love the Harbeths, don’t go near the LS50s. The closest match of the ones you listed would probably be the Dentons (although I have not heard the Imagine B, I understand they are far bassier, but not likely bassy enough to come close to replacing your Rel).
     
  16. caute

    caute Lana Del Gayer than you

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    @Jh4db536 can answer this satisfactorily.
     
  17. gixxerwimp

    gixxerwimp Professional tricycle rider

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    I'm a 2ch noob and will eventually go through this thread to learn from existing posts, but wanted to get these questions out there.

    When we eventually relocate to Canada, I'll have use of one end of the basement for my listening area. The current plan is to tear out all the walls and bathroom and make it an open space (the bathroom on the left will become storage). I should have use of the area highlighted below. Green marks the proposed speaker and sitting positions. I don't remember what the ceiling height is but it's fairly low being a basement. The comment bubble is where the sump pump is located.

    51 Chippewa Floorplan_basement.jpg
    It's way early, but I'm thinking about possible speaker options. My questions are:
    1. Even though I'll be sitting relatively close, will I need speakers for "medium to large" rooms due to the large space behind the listening position? Or will speakers for "small to medium" rooms be sufficient?
    2. If I use "standard" materials to wall off and put a door where the bath and toilet are marked, will I have any symmetry issues for back/corner reflections? The other corner is concrete.
    3. Would I be better off putting a wall behind the listening position, or is the long open space better?
    I'd prefer to have full range speakers (at least down to ~40Hz) and not mess around with subs. What I'm leaning towards are compact towers. Not sure what the CFO will eventually allow, but I'm guessing in the ballpark of $5000 for a pair. This will be in Canada so buying domestic would theoretically be more cost effective (Totem, PSB, Paradigm...), but US brands should be duty free. I've looked at a lot of British made speakers and the price in CAD is about double the price in £ before HST.

    Any suggestions or comments about things I haven't thought of will be greatly appreciated.
     
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  18. EagleWings

    EagleWings Friend

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    Try to get your ears on some setups. Speakers can be way more subjective than headphones. It is not that difficult to put together a decent sounding speaker setup. But a decent sounding setup will sound nice at first and sooner or later you might start finding faults or things missing. So for your first system try to put together a cost effective system to try and get a feel for things like room acoustics and what speakers can or cannot do versus headphones. And don’t miss any opportunity to hear one. The more systems you hear, you’ll be able to zero in on what it is you seek. The goal is to put together a standout system. A good source sets the tone for a good setup. You actually have very nice DACs to start with. But after a point, consider a DAC like Yggdrasil A1 or one of similar caliber.

    Might not be a bad idea to start off with amps and speakers from mainstream brands as resale would be easy with minimal loss. But start to explore the non-mainstream brands too like Tekton, Omega as well as vintage options like Altecs. Also visit other forums like HiFiHaven, AudioCircle and AudioAsylum. Audiogon forum is like HeadFi. There is a lot of good info on there. But there is also a lot of useless, garbage and misleading info. So you need to find a way to filter through those.
     
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  19. Garns

    Garns Friend

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    Couple of thoughts:
    • Large room speakers may have a kind of minimum distance before the drivers cohere properly. So if you are listening nearfield that is something to take into account.
    • The fundamental acoustic property that is hard to change in your room is the bass response which will depend on the layout of solid boundaries (concrete/masonry). Everything else can be sorted out with furniture or trapping later on. Erecting or knocking down a bit of drywall will be pretty harmless, you can probably get it sounding good regardless. So I would say make the room that is nice to hang out in first then sort out acoustics later.
     
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  20. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    Beware. Tearing out the bathroom may have consequences --- such as a ghostly trickling noise from the channel on that side.

    Haunting is not unusual.
     
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