My shocking (to me) speaker audition story.

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Matt Parsons, Mar 26, 2002.

  1. Matt Parsons

    Matt Parsons Stunt Coordinator

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    I am in the market to replace my H/T (6.1) speaker set-up to add to my 3802 / SVS pair and just returned from an amazing afternoon of auditioning and I just had to share my experience with those of you that might be interested.

    Let me say, I am no audiophile, my ears are not that finely tuned, and that this is strictly my opinion. I am in no way bashing any manufacturers products.

    First my info: my room is 10’9” x 22 x 7 so it’s not that large and I have some placement issues with the front L/R channels, for this reason I’ve decided to go with stand mounted monitor speakers for mains. I’ve done extensive research in various magazines and web sites, especially here at the HTF, and have budgeted somewhere around $2,500-$3,000. I decided I wanted to audition several makes – Monitor GR 10, PSB Stratus Minis, Energy Veritas 2.1, B&W CDM NT and CM series. I figured I’d buy 2 pair, 3 across the front, one for the center rear and add whatever diffused surrounds they suggested for the sides. Armed with 2 of my favorite CDs I set out to do some critical listening of the B&W’s and with some luck, the PSB’s.

    I first auditioned the $1,200 CDM NT’s…….WOW are they gorgeous!….. They were being powered by a MacIntosh pre/pro, amp, and CD player. BIG $$$$$$. Anyway, I listened and was very impressed. Nothing really jumped out at me specifically which I guess is a good thing, they just sounded really good. Next the salesman set up the $850 CM2’s in the same position in the same room with the same equipment. I didn’t like the sound as well, they seemed a little bright and not as punchy on the low end BUT – to be fair to the CM2s-, he opened a brand new pair for me, so unlike the NT’s these were not broken in at all. My opinion when I left was I think I’d pay the extra $350 or so for the NTs.

    Next stop was a PSB dealer that’s been good to me in the past. I was hoping he’d have a pair of Mini’s in for me to listen to but unfortunately he did not. The last time I was there he mentioned I should audition an amazing $500 bookshelf speaker by Alon called Lil Rascal and since I was all prepared I decided to give them a shot. They are a very plain looking black box, so that was an immediate strike against them after looking at the NT’s. They were run through a $700 NAD amp and $300 NAD CD player. At first as I listened I thought gee, these don’t sound a whole lot different than the B&W’s but they seem to throw a larger soundstage. But, as I continued listening I began to hear things, subtle things, which I had NEVER heard before, in songs I’d listened to 100’s of time before! It was amazing! How could these things cost $500?!

    Before I mentioned anything to the owner about my impressions of the Rascal’s I asked him his opinion on what I would gain if I moved to the PSB’s or the Energy’s. He said if it was his money and he needed monitors, he’d look no further. I have to agree!

    At only $500/pr the whole concept of DIMINISHING RETURNS comes into play. Can the GR 10’s, and Veritas be 2-3x better than the Alon’s? Were the NT’s 2.5x better? I’d say NO WAY. If it was a blind test and all things being equal, I have to believe I would have picked the Alon’s. PLUS – if I go with four Rascal’s ($1000) + a pair of PSB 10S surrounds ($650) that would leave me $ to possibly go after a 3/5/6 channel amp to add to the package and still have money in pocket! (spend,spend,spend)

    So what now? Do I continue auditioning? Do I jump on the Alon’s? I’m not sure, but I’m leaning towards the Alon’s at this time. I always read HTF members telling others not to take someone elses opinion on a speaker, to always go listen for yourself....ain't it the truth. I never would have imagined, Alon. If you’re in the market for a reasonably priced bookshelf you owe it to yourself to check these little bargains out IMO.
     
  2. Paul_Dunlop

    Paul_Dunlop Second Unit

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    Hi
    I would continue auditioning, using the Alon's as your new benchmark -(lil Rascal's?? they gotta change that name)
    The law of Diminishing returns should always be a factor, in my opinion.
    Take it easy
    Paul
     
  3. Matt Parsons

    Matt Parsons Stunt Coordinator

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    Paul,

    I agree, what a horrible name! Certainly doesn't sound upscale like Veritas, or Stratus Gold, Nautilus etc.
     
  4. John Sully

    John Sully Stunt Coordinator

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    I've had similar experiences. I'd say if you like the Alons' go ahead and buy them, they sound like a real steal.
     
  5. Mike OConnell

    Mike OConnell Second Unit

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    Mike
    I also went with the law of diminishing returns regarding my Paradigm Studio 60's versus the CDM-7NT.
    However, I highly recommend auditioning the speakers in your home. Both the shops should allow you to take a pair home and try them there. If they won't, then they must not be very confident of their speakers.
    Good luck and go with what you like, not what the experts say you should like. (Unless you like Bose[​IMG] )
    Mike
     

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