auditioned lots of speakers today...and got confused

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by felix_suwarno, Oct 12, 2005.

  1. felix_suwarno

    felix_suwarno Screenwriter

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    ok, i am looking for speakers that :
    - look good, and i prefer white maple / cherry wood finish
    - the drivers have to be at least 5.25 inch in diameter, but i do prefer 6 inch ( for surround speakers )
    - i also need the bookshelf speakers to have floorstanding counterpart.

    so i went to a few shops and auditioned these bookshelf speakers :
    ( i used these cds : guns n roses "sweet child of mine" and emi fujita's songs )

    dynaudio contour 1.1 $850
    dynaudio audience 4.2 $550

    i auditioned these two back to back. i noticed slightly clearer highs and slightly fuller bass on the contour, but somehow i do believe that was just my ears and my mind only, knowing that the contour 1.1 was more expensive = should be better theoretically. i dont think it is worth to pay 300 dollar more for the contour.

    jamo ( 6 inch driver, i forgot to ask which type )
    sounds full, warm, smooth and everything, but the cabinet looked ugly to me. i thought i heard pronounced "ssss" sound on emi fujita's voice, but it turned out the same "ssss" sound also heard on other speakers. i didnt have the chance to do a back to back audition with another speaker.

    atc ( dunno which type ), not new speakers ( used ), but also the most expensive at $1100. i hated these ones. very harsh, no "airy effect".

    sonus faber ( dunno which type ), not new, and i auditioned these back to back with the atc speakers. i didnt have any intention to auditioned these two, actually. but i thought i should opened my mind about different brands, so i gave them a try. that is why i didnt really pay attention to the speaker's code / name. and these bookshelves were the worst i heard today. harsh! no clear separation between the voice and the music instrument. muddy at best.

    monitor audio bronze ( the smallest one ). i originally wanted to audition monitor audio gold bookshelves. but the store didnt have them, they only had the bronze ones. and these speakers sounded REALLY GOOD to me. and they were also the cheapest ones at $350. smooth, nice, not too bright, not too warm, just perfect. if the cheapest one is this good, i am dying to hear the gold ones.

    i didnt really pay attention to the receiver/amps used. currently, at home i have boston acoustics vr-m50 and vr-mc for the fronts and psb image 1b for the rears. in the office i have paradigm cinema cc70 all around.

    now i think there is something wrong with my ears.
    i had never done auditioning like this before. how come my ears prefer the cheapest of them all?? i really wanted to be very objective with my opinion, that is why i come this forum asking for advice.

    what do i have to look / hear in auditioning process? specific part? how come i didnt really notice noticeable improvement between the dynaudios? are my ears normal? is there any specific song i should bring with me to audition these speakers?

    honestly, i do think my bostons are really good. i dont feel the need to upgrade to these speakers because i didnt really notice significant improvement over my current system. but i am really curious about the monitor audio's gold speakers...

    advice please.

    ( oh these shop owners kept telling me about how good their expensive wires are compared to some other brands. one of the wire brand costed about 25 dollar per 3 1/3 feet. i simply ignored them about this matter )
     
  2. MikeyWeitz

    MikeyWeitz Supporting Actor

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    Could be a billion different reasons why you choose one over another in completely different listening environments with different gear hooked up.
    Since looks of the speaker/wood are important to you, I would strongly suggest looking at some rockets over @ av123.com. I have never demo'd them myself ( I am a VERY happy Ascend owner), but they do get rave reviews and their looks are top notch. I would reco my Ascends based purely on sound, but the finish is not geared to what you are looking for.

    I would look @ the rockets (swans as well) and maybe do an in home demo or find someone in local area that can demo them for you.

    Not sure what your budget is, but if it is up there, then I would do a google for Jim Salk and take a look at som of his custom jobbies. Amazing, but you will pay a bit for it (as you should).
     
  3. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I wouldn't call it a problem if you like the least expensive ones [​IMG] Speakers are a personal preference and if those are what you like, you should probably bring at least a pair home to listen to in your own environment.
     
  4. John S

    John S Producer

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    I use JBL s38's by choice. I audtioned a ton of spekaers into the $2k price catagory. the JBL's sounded best to me period, so they won.


    Speakers are very subjective, people should trust their own ears and preferences on them and purchase accordingly.


    Some exceptions do exist.. Like never buy from a white van in a parking lot!!! [​IMG]
     
  5. mackie

    mackie Supporting Actor

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    Trust your ears... Just because something is less expensive doesn't mean it doesn't perform as well as the more expensive ones. The Boston speakers you have a really good speakers, and I believe you'll probably need to spend a lot more money to get better performance. Definitely try some out at home.
     
  6. John S

    John S Producer

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    I agree. I like BA speakers alot myself, you may be hard pressed to find a true percieved improvement over them.
     
  7. Rokzi

    Rokzi Stunt Coordinator

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    Even if there's something wrong with your ears it just means that even the 'best' speakers in the world might not sound the best to you.

    trust your ears. you know what kind of sound you like. What sounds really good to me might sound really bad to you.

    John S said it right that speaker choice is very subjective.

    I too ended up with Bronze B2s, not just because they were cheap but they sounded the best to me when I auditioned them in my home using my equipment. I A/B/C'd Axiom M3tis vs. Paradigm Studio 20s vs Bronze B2s, and then the MA Silver S2s vs B2s. I almost bought the S2s but could not justify the diffence in price since they almost sound exactly alike. If I hadn't gone through the auditioning I probably would have ended with the Studio 20s (they sound good too and looks very nice and well built), or if not, the S2s.
     
  8. Rokzi

    Rokzi Stunt Coordinator

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  9. Leo Kerr

    Leo Kerr Screenwriter

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    Something else to keep in mind; it may also be how the speakers are designed.

    In general, I can't stand 'ported' speakers; except for the 'very good' ones, which generally cost a lot more, they tend to have a prominant 'bass hump' that bugs me; so I ended up with a mix of NHT SuperZeros (surrounds) and SuperOnes (fronts.)

    There may be a fundamental 'design issue' that you may not even be aware of that you're hearing.

    Leo Kerr
     
  10. SteveCallas

    SteveCallas Second Unit

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    I'd stick with the Bostom VR-M's as well. Given any thought to going with the 80s or 90s?

    I'm going to getting a pair of Ascend 340s to audition soon and I am definitely going to compare them to the Boston VR-M line.
     
  11. Rokzi

    Rokzi Stunt Coordinator

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    Interesting. with some ported speakers (like the MA Silvers/Bronzes)they do recommend for you to try to block the port with foam (or rolled socks [​IMG] ) to eliminate the 'bass hump'.

    Suppose the SuperZeros had a ported version, would there be a difference between the sealed version vs. the hypothetical ported SuperZero but with the port blocked with a foam (or my dirty sock)

    (sorry for going off topic. just being the curious cat here).
     
  12. Leo Kerr

    Leo Kerr Screenwriter

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    Most of the ported speakers I've heard (but not all) were ones where the manufacturer decided, "huh. Anemic. Get out the hole-saw," and bored a 2-4" hole in the back of the cabinet. Oddly enough, they have a massive bass-hump.

    It seems that a well-designed ported speaker would be built in anticipation of the hump, and 'tame' it in other ways.

    That said, I haven't tried plugging ports, but instead have just gone with sealed-box speakers.

    Leo
     
  13. felix_suwarno

    felix_suwarno Screenwriter

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    thanks for the replies!

    i didnt mention that i bought my gears in united states 3-4 years ago, but now i live in jakarta, indonesia. sorry for that. i will never give up my boston acoustics for any reason. i really want to have the vr-m80, but THERE IS NO BOSTON ACOUSTICS in here. no swans, no axiom, ascends, etc etc. i do have an svs pb10-isd, and i think i am going to have tons of problems with the custom + shipping from united states to my city if i wanted to purchase another one. such are the horrible things to have down here.

    i actually wanted to have a second home theater in a room in my office building. i will put my bostons there, while the new set of gears will be installed at home. and i do agree that my bostons still sound really great when compared to the likes of dynaudios. and i believe in order to improve my current setup, i need to spend a LOT more, i am thinking a set of speaker around 3-4 times the price. well perhaps sometime next year i might be able to pull the trigger for it.

    at this point my first choice is the monitor audio gold series. judging by how good the smallest bronze version is, i expect good things for the gold ones. but i am having difficulties to find a dealer who has it. we are really close to a big holiday here, perhaps they are also having problem to stock new products because of it...i dunno.

    my second choice would be the dynaudios all around. someone told me that this brand is more popular in jakarta. very well known for hi quality product and sound. he said that if i wanted to sell second hand dynaudios, the price would not go down too much.

    one more thing : every shop owners i met always tried to sell me their expensive cables when i asked them anything about dynaudios. do expensive speakers need expensive cables as well? i thought as long as i have 12g cables for my speakers everything will be all right! one of them asked for 245 US dollar for a 3 meter long ( around 11 feet ) bi wire speaker cable. i wasnt interested to know what the brand of the cable is, so i didnt ask.

    ps :
    i wanted to pm mr john garcia...but i didnt want to bother you, sir, so i just put my questions here and expect you to reply...and you did! thank you
     
  14. John S

    John S Producer

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    The gauge is still the overwhelmingly important factor on speaker cable. I buy it at the hardware store.
     
  15. felix_suwarno

    felix_suwarno Screenwriter

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    the "Terms Used To Describe How A Loudspeaker" is REALLY HELPFUL! it opened a whole new world to me, i feel like, ahaaaa now i know what you guys are talking about all this time...hahaha

    thanks rokzi!
     
  16. SteveCallas

    SteveCallas Second Unit

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    Felix,

    I will be auditioning VR-M60s vs Paradigm Studio 40s vs Ascend 340s at the end of this month/beginning of November. I'll let you know how it turns out.
     
  17. Rokzi

    Rokzi Stunt Coordinator

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    Please do let us know Steve. I'm eyeing the Ascends too for my 2nd HT. I was going to try them too back then but did not get the chance to do it.
     
  18. Rokzi

    Rokzi Stunt Coordinator

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    $245/3m cables??? that's $1100 for 50ft!!! Never tried those before but those probably have gold & silver and other expensive materials all over 'em I suppose that's why they're expensive...

    (but you're not going to hang them on your neck like jewelry are you? just kidding =).

    I guess you're better off spending your money on other stuff where you'll hear/see the difference (like more power/amp or better speakers...)

    Dynaudios I believe are high-end speakers right? those shops probably expect you too buy "high-end" speaker cables too, that's why.

    In reality.. in my experience a lamp cord would sound just as good as real speaker wires...at least the ones I tried.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. felix_suwarno

    felix_suwarno Screenwriter

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    is it possible that the atc and sonus faber speakers were abused that when i listend to them, they were already, i dunno, broken? the shop specialized in second hand / used products.
     
  20. Steve Lumbert

    Steve Lumbert Stunt Coordinator

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    Auditioning speakers is very tough. Ones that sound great at a shop will probably not sound the same in your house. The sound is directly related to how the speakers interact with the listening environment. Try to find a shop that will let you audition them at home or has a good return policy. Even some on-line retailers allow this. Some higher end shops spend a lot of money on room treatments and setup and mere mortals never get that sound at home without doing the same.

    You can also narrow down your target list of speakers to audition by knowing which designs may work better in your room. For example, if you have a small room and will not be able to place speakers away from walls, rear ported ones can probably be eliminated from your list.

    I am surprised by your review of the Sonus speakers. I auditioned some a while back and was pleased with the sound and build quality but were a little out of my price range at the time.

    Good luck. I think I'm going to leave my credit cards at home and go audition some stuff today [​IMG]
     

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