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sphinxsix

What Are the Best Sounding Speakers You've Ever Heard.?

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First of all the subject of this thread isn't my idea. I borrowed it from another forum :) But I love it!

 

I'm a big fan of audio and maybe even bigger fan of speakers which IMO are the most important component of any audio system. I know this statement is debatable for some but for me speakers plus speakers-room interaction (room acoustics, matching speakers' bass performance with the room size etc) taken together are responsible in 85% for any audio system's sound. BTW I'm not an extremist here, a well known in my country ex-audio journalist and audio gear distributor claims for him it's 95%..

 

This absolutely doesn't mean that I don't care about DAC's, amp's, cables', power conditioner's etc. quality - I do 'cause obviously they all influence sound quality.

 

Yet, for me these are loudspeakers which are the 'royal' component of any audio system!

 

What are the best sounding speakers you've ever heard.? What sound qualities made you love them so much? What were the other components of the system? And least but not last what music was played by them?

 

Let's have fun! ;)

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esldude   

I definitely agree it is at least 85%. The room is big too. Almost can't talk about one without the other.

 

Best I heard was some Wilson Maxx III's in a huge, and unusually shaped room. How important was the room? The owner moved and in his new room, I have some $260/pr speakers that all things considered sound better at the room in my house. No exaggeration. He went from one of the finest rooms to one of the most horrible. An extreme on both ends.

 

I knew someone with a very rigidly constructed square room. Not just length and width, but height as well. Nothing sounded better than maybe nearly okay in it.

 

I heard Thiel 5s a few times and was not impressed. Then heard them in a huge room at a dealer and finally heard them as they could be. Quite impressive. Not best ever, but worth a mention.

 

I used Quad ESL63s for a long time. I might say in most domestic size rooms they could be made to sound quite good and could be counted on in more places than most speakers. Then I ran into a fellow who had a room those wouldn't work well in either. It was on the smallish side and had doors in all the wrong places and you just couldn't put it all together.

 

So my bottom line answer would be the Maxx III's. And I haven't heard some of the usual contenders for the title that are out in recent years. Honorable mention would be for the Soundlabs in the various versions. I will note that is what I have so I may be biased.

 

With large speakers of great repute, if you hear them sounding bad, you might not count that as meaning much until you can hear in them in an appropriately large and well put together room. With smaller speakers in conventional rooms usually bad is simply bad.

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@ esldude

Never seen (heard) a cubic (all the same dimensions) room but my experience tells me that its sound must be horrifying (strong standing waves at room resonance frequency). At least some irregularities of the room's shape are very desirable.

I'm lucky enough to have the best acoustics room I ever had. The already good sound of my system improved beyond belief after moving to a new loft apartment 2,5 years ago. It's almost 40 sq.m, it's connected with a big kitchen via oversized door and with a hall. In addition the roof is diagonal (wooden panels) reaching 4m (BTW if you want you can see it in one of my photo albums on my profile). The building material are old bricks from the 50s and the floor is a thick wood. This room 'sounds' just great! :)

 

As for $260 speakers sounding better than Maxx III.. I absolutely believe you. Among the worst sounding systems I've heard quite a few were a multi $$$ ones! The usual reason for that was a room or a very unlucky (meaning in fact unskillful) choice of components which simply shouldn't be connected to each other (even each being good sonically in its own right). Quite often in such cases it is possible to create a better sounding system 10 or more times cheaper!

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sandyk   
What Are the Best Sounding Speakers You've Ever Heard.?

 

Better still : What are the Best Sounding Speakers You've Never Heard ?

In a very good system you shouldn't be aware of the actual individual speakers, just their contribution to the sound field.

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I want to argue that "speakers are the most important component"--but I won't. Linn did/does it better than I can, and I've had it demonstrated to my satisfaction.😀

 

Best speakers I've heard--2.

 

1. Many years ago (say 1969) I was in a hi-fi shop waiting to talk to a salesman and behind me, playing the local FM radio station, were a pair of AR 3a speakers. The voices were so natural that I kept on turning around because I though I was being approached from behind. I couldn't afford the 3a but bought a pair of 2ax instead.

 

2. I was auditioning my current speakers (SGR CX4F) and they played me next step up, the MT3 (currently in 3.2 mode). I couldn't afford them either.

 

Greg

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d_elm   

I have always liked my Quad USA monitor ESL 63 and 15" bass but after reading Jim Smith's "Get Better Sound" and setting up with a Galaxy Audio CM-140, PC laptop software REW, cables to connect then doing bass setup it is another world of sound. Add to that digital with a microRendu and Ayre Codex and I am a happy listener.

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gmgraves   
First of all the subject of this thread isn't my idea. I borrowed it from another forum :) But I love it!

 

I'm a big fan of audio and maybe even bigger fan of speakers which IMO are the most important component of any audio system. I know this statement is debatable for some but for me speakers plus speakers-room interaction (room acoustics, matching speakers' bass performance with the room size etc) taken together are responsible in 85% for any audio system's sound. BTW I'm not an extremist here, a well known in my country ex-audio journalist and audio gear distributor claims for him it's 95%..

 

This absolutely doesn't mean that I don't care about DAC's, amp's, cables', power conditioner's etc. quality - I do 'cause obviously they all influence sound quality.

 

Yet, for me these are loudspeakers which are the 'royal' component of any audio system!

 

What are the best sounding speakers you've ever heard.? What sound qualities made you love them so much? What were the other components of the system? And least but not last what music was played by them?

 

Let's have fun! ;)

 

1. Sound Lab Majestic

2. Martin Logan Neolith

3. Martin Logan CLX with matching M-L subwoofers.

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Keith_W   

Here are a few speakers I should nominate:

 

1. Electrocompaniet "Nordic Tone": Electrocompaniet Nordic Tone Model 1 Loudspeaker | The Absolute Sound

Stunningly accurate for a box speaker. Might sound a little dry for some, but I love it.

 

2. MBL 101E Radialstrahler: MBL Radialstrahler 101E Mk.II loudspeaker | Stereophile.com

The most relaxed sound you will ever hear.

 

3. Acapella High Violon: SoundStage! Network Ultra Audio -- Archived Article

Plasma tweeter. When I first heard them, I was smitten. So I bought them.

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Teresa   

The TAD Reference One speakers impressed me the most at the last T.H.E. Show I visited in 2011. What I said back in 2011 from my show report "Many suites had the TAD Reference One speakers but this was the actual TAD suite. This was my favorite speaker at the show..."

 

tad.jpg

 

Personally, If I could afford them I would not buy them because I don't like the look of speakers with visible drivers. For me drivers must be hidden behind grill cloths. Based on a search of my past writings I do believe these are my favorite speakers sonically.

Edited by Teresa

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@ esldude

Never seen (heard) a cubic (all the same dimensions) room but my experience tells me that its sound must be horrifying (strong standing waves at room resonance frequency). At least some irregularities of the room's shape are very desirable.

I'm lucky enough to have the best acoustics room I ever had. The already good sound of my system improved beyond belief after moving to a new loft apartment 2,5 years ago. It's almost 40 sq.m, it's connected with a big kitchen via oversized door and with a hall. In addition the roof is diagonal (wooden panels) reaching 4m (BTW if you want you can see it in one of my photo albums on my profile). The building material are old bricks from the 50s and the floor is a thick wood. This room 'sounds' just great! :)

I guess we can veer slightly off topic here since you are the OP. I too had a huge improvement in the sound of my system when I relocated to a loft with a 45 degree sloping ceiling. It is a lot like yours, with one side wall higher than the other, though only about 25 square metres. Interestingly, the big breakthrough for me was when I oriented the speakers so they are in front of the lower side wall, so the ceiling is behind them and they are facing across the room rather than along it.

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semente   
B&W 801 Matrix

 

 

 

 

I am very familiar with the 801Fs. The ones I listen to have been a bit "modified/optimised" and its sealed bass cabinet and 12" woofer are my absolute reference in terms of low frequency reproduction.

The resonance of the kevlar cone is not as obvious as that of subsequent 800 series models and the silk-domed tweeters are quite smooth.

I owned the 802S3 and these were absolute rubbish...

 

I seldom enjoy the demos at shows, though I understand the difficulties, but I've also seen some poorly setup speakers (my listening of the Giyas, which despite this showed potential) and some bad combinations (such as Krell and Wilsons).

And often the music, played too loud, is inadequate for proper evaluation (all those audiophile recordings of Krells and Bubbles and Barbies that sound incredibly artificial and spectacular in most systems).

 

From more recent visits to shows and dealers, with more demanding standards, I remember enjoying some wide-range speakers such as the SF Stradivari, the largest Revels and TADs, some Magico model, the Nautilus, the Duo Mezzo, the largest Meridians...but in shows it's all very system and room dependent.

I've never been particularly impressed with any of the Wilsons over the years, though I don't deny the "spectacular" presentation of their larger models.

I am probably more sensitive to (un)flatness in the upper midrange and midwoofer resonance than cabinet resonance...

 

R

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mourip   

Omega Audio Alnico single driver crossover-less speakers.

 

Although to give this perspective I do not go to audiophile shows and there are few good audiophile shops in my area, and the ones that do just have the high power amps coupled to low efficiency speakers. So although I have been pursuing this for nearly 40 years my sampling is pretty small.

 

I favor the "first watt" idea and have not been disappointed.

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I'm very glad some people have mentioned the Quad ESL63s - probably one of the most important louspeakers in audio history.

 

@ The Computer Audiophile I'm not that happy about your comment ;-) you voted for the Magico Q7 mk II which are probably the best speakers I have not.jpg

heard yet.! ;)

Edited by sphinxsix

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The best speakers I have heard thus far were the Magico S7's but my wallet only allows me to settle on the S3. O'Well, maybe in the next life :)
But you are aware that they quite probably will be discontinued by then aren't you.. ;)

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First of all the subject of this thread isn't my idea. I borrowed it from another forum :) But I love it!

 

I'm a big fan of audio and maybe even bigger fan of speakers which IMO are the most important component of any audio system. I know this statement is debatable for some but for me speakers plus speakers-room interaction (room acoustics, matching speakers' bass performance with the room size etc) taken together are responsible in 85% for any audio system's sound. BTW I'm not an extremist here, a well known in my country ex-audio journalist and audio gear distributor claims for him it's 95%..

 

This absolutely doesn't mean that I don't care about DAC's, amp's, cables', power conditioner's etc. quality - I do 'cause obviously they all influence sound quality.

 

Yet, for me these are loudspeakers which are the 'royal' component of any audio system!

 

What are the best sounding speakers you've ever heard.? What sound qualities made you love them so much? What were the other components of the system? And least but not last what music was played by them?

 

Let's have fun! ;)

 

The best "sound" I ever heard was from 10 Paradigm Reference Active speakers plus a Sunfire subwoofer in an Auro 3D setup using the auromatic upmixer to upmix 2 channel PCM. I have never heard music reproduced as live sounding and dynamic from just 2 speakers compared to this setup.

 

The best sound I ever heard in a 2 speaker system were Egglestonworks Andra speakers (around $23K a pair).

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Kens   

I have Martin Logan CLX with a pair of Depth I subs that never fail to put a smile on my face. They are the best speakers that I have owned.

 

The best speakers that that I have heard would be YG Sonja and the Magico M7 absolutely stunning.

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