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Thread: Speaker's Corner

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    Senior Member senza sordino's Avatar
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    Default Speaker's Corner

    As you might have read in my other thread, My CD player has stopped working, I'm looking to upgrade my hifi system. And part of this upgrade is to buy new speakers. I have been looking at:

    Wharfedale Diamond 220 (Specs 56 Hz to 20 kHz, 86 dB, 5" base) $350 pair
    Polk S20 (39 Hz-40 kHz, 88 dB, 6 1/2" base) $450 pair
    Klipsch Rp 160M (45 Hz-25 KHz, 96 dB, 6 1/2" base) $630 pair
    Focal Chorus 706 (55 Hz-28 kHz, 90 dB, 6 1/2" base) $850 pair
    B&W 607 (52 Hz-28 kHz, 84 dB, 5" base) $800 pair

    My local shop hifi shop sells the Focal Chorus and B&W. Crutchfield sells the Wharfedale and Polk, I'm not sure where to buy the Klipsch. I'm know whatever I buy, it will be an improvement. But I'd prefer a big improvement. Budget is of course a concern, and the Focal Chorus is a lot of money, but I can afford them. Bookshelf speakers are better for my smaller space in my apartment. I have an odd shaped room. Fortunately the speakers will be up against an interior wall so I won't be blasting my neighbours.

    I do not need a lot of power, but I do want clarity. I want to hear things in the music I've never heard before. I listen to classical mostly, but I also listen to jazz and rock music.

    What are your opinions about speakers, these speakers, any speakers, your speakers? What speakers do you like? What speakers do you own? What speakers do you not like? If your budget were unlimited, what would you buy? Are $1000 speakers twice as good as $500 speakers? Are $10 000 speakers twenty times as good as $500 speakers? What specs do you think are important? What specs are unimportant? Where should speakers be placed for optimal sound?

    These are my questions. Stand up and have your say at Speaker's Corner.

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    Senior Member bigshot's Avatar
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    My system is a blend of different kinds of speakers with different dispersion patterns. My mains are old school 15 inch JBL studio monitors from the 70s. My center is a horn loaded Klipsch. The rears are radial design KEFs. The studio monitors put out a big fat room filling sound that may not be quite as accurate as more modern designs, but it packs a wallop. The Klipsch is very directional and cuts through the middle clearly with precise location. The KEFs have a very wide dispersion pattern to fill the whole rear of the room with ctightly controlled phase. Each design has its own purpose.

    If you are looking for broad dispersion to fill a good sized space along with clarity, I would recommend a radial design like the KEF. That is what they are good for. This might be what you're looking for here... https://www.kefdirect.com/speakers/h...f-speaker.html Klipsch would be better for a specific listening position without having to fill a whole room with sound. They tend to be more focused and you might need a sub with them. I've found that Polk tends to sound a little tubby. It would be better if your room has a lot of hard floors and windows. I've heard good things about B&W, but I've never heard them myself.

    Are you planning to add a sub? That will make a difference with the mains you choose. Some mains are designed to perform well just above 80Hz and others are meant to be full range without a sub.
    Last edited by bigshot; Mar-02-2019 at 21:13.
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    Senior Member jegreenwood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by senza sordino View Post
    . . .

    Bookshelf speakers are better for my smaller space in my apartment. I have an odd shaped room. Fortunately the speakers will be up against an interior wall so I won't be blasting my neighbours.

    . . . .

    Stand up and have your say at Speaker's Corner.
    Most bookshelf speakers will not sound their best directly against a wall (corners are worse). There are (or were the last time I looked) a few exceptions, but you will need to do your homework.

    Like you, I live in an apartment. My speakers are as far from the living room walls as I can get away with - about 18"

    As for brands/models, I haven't bought speakers in 10 years. However based on my perusals of the audio magazines (less frequent than in the past) the budget brand that the critics seem to salivate over is ELAC. They have a number of models starting at $250 a pair. I would include them on your list.
    Last edited by jegreenwood; Mar-02-2019 at 21:53.

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    THIS YOUTUBER was very positive about Wharfedale Denton 85th Anniversary Speakers. Price $899.00 at MusicDirect. Attractive little guys.

    Lots of excitement when KEF LS50 speakers were reduced to $999 (a pair) around Christmas. Many people swear by them.

    I have a pair of Klipsch Fortes that I bought in the 80s. I love the sound, but some don't like the horn characteristics (they are accused of brightness and directionality). I also have a pair of ELAC Debut 2.0 B6.2 that I bought when they were recently on sale for half price, but I haven't set them up yet. I think most people say that the real ELAC bookshelf winners are the ELAC Uni-Fi UB5 model, as they earn a lot of praise (but are a little more expensive).

    I also have a couple of SVS sealed subwoofers that I'd recommend, but in an apartment they might cause you lots of grief with the neighbors. That said, they sure do round out the sound.
    Last edited by Forsooth; Mar-03-2019 at 02:02.

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    Senior Member D Smith's Avatar
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    My speakers are 30 years old so I won't bother recommending them. Like you I live in an apartment and I'd say a subwoofer is a no no if you have consideration for your neighbors. And that whatever speaker you get should not be placed close to a wall. I got some speaker stands so the speakers could sit about a foot from the wall and the sound was helped a lot. And, personally, I would not buy a speaker unless I heard them first, or could send them back if I didn't like them.

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    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    My office stereo uses the “original Ensemble” speakers from Cambridge Soundworks, supposedly designed by Henry Kloss. This is a four-speaker system, each channel having an 8” acoustic suspension passive subwoofer plus two speakers, midrange-treble, in a much smaller case. These are old! I think the Wright brothers used them in their shop…

    Anyway, they play as good as new, very clean and clear. Over the years I have replaced a couple of speakers that got damaged using ebay, where such speakers can be had quite cheaply. 99% of them are black, but I could only find a picture in white.



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    Senior Member bigshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jegreenwood View Post
    Most bookshelf speakers will not sound their best directly against a wall (corners are worse). There are (or were the last time I looked) a few exceptions, but you will need to do your homework.
    My KEFs came with a plug in the back that you would pull out for wall mounting.
    CD Sound Is All You Need: http://xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html
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    I have three sets of speakers.

    1. Little Warfdale diamonds connected to a cheap 1990s Rotel integrated amp which I use as computer speakers, they're wall mounted. They are fine for listening to youtube.

    2. Rogers JR 149s connected to an Electrocompaniet ECI-2, a Class A integrated. They are wall mounted. They are very good and I would be happy living with just these speakers if I had to.

    3. Quad ESL 63s driven by a Quad 520, no preamp (I have one source only.) These are point source electrostatic speakers, they need to be a good distance from the back wall. They project the image about 30cm behind, they are outstanding in midrange and treble. But they're imposing, they take up a lot of space. And they're high rent, because of service costs.

    I have extended them with Gradient subwoofers (also driven be a Quad 520) and Townshend supertweeters -- the effect is a much more extended image and a more natural, musical, bass. The room has also been treated with bass traps. However I've clearly destroyed the point source and so the jury's out still on whether it's a good thing to enhance the Quads. At the moment I feel very positive about it.

    If I had unlimited budget I would ditch the Quads for large corner Tannoys I think. 15" Golds in a corner York cabinet maybe. These would be sensitive enough to combine with a classic valve amp, a Radford maybe, which could be fun to explore.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Mar-05-2019 at 12:53.

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    Quote Originally Posted by senza sordino View Post

    My local shop hifi shop sells the Focal Chorus and B&W. Crutchfield sells the Wharfedale and Polk, I'm not sure where to buy the Klipsch. I'm know whatever I buy, it will be an improvement. But I'd prefer a big improvement. Budget is of course a concern, and the Focal Chorus is a lot of money, but I can afford them. Bookshelf speakers are better for my smaller space in my apartment. I have an odd shaped room. Fortunately the speakers will be up against an interior wall so I won't be blasting my neighbours.

    I do not need a lot of power, but I do want clarity. I want to hear things in the music I've never heard before. I listen to classical mostly, but I also listen to jazz and rock music.
    I think you should buy a clean pair of classic speakers second hand, being patient to buy a clean pair, preferably with a return period.

    I would explore JR 149s. They will be fine in a small apartment, they are real BBC style monitors, they are becoming more and more sought after by Japanese so you may well be able to make a profit when they sell, all the parts are available so if you blow a driver it can be easily repaired, they look cool, they're easy to drive, they are small and neat.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Mar-05-2019 at 12:49.

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    Senior Member bigshot's Avatar
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    Second hand stores are a great place to find good old speakers. They won't have as good distortion ratings as modern speakers, but the fullness and dynamic punch will make up for it.
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    Senior Member senza sordino's Avatar
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    What do people think of subwoofers? Are they worth the expense? Do they add to the listening experience? Do they make a difference? Are they a problem when living in an apartment? Will there be more oomphf when listening to Saint Saens Organ Symphony?

    I live on the ground floor. And my listening room is separated from my neighbours by my master bedroom and my second bedroom.

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    Senior Member Joe B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by senza sordino View Post
    What do people think of subwoofers? Are they worth the expense? Do they add to the listening experience? Do they make a difference? Are they a problem when living in an apartment? Will there be more oomphf when listening to Saint Saens Organ Symphony?

    I live on the ground floor. And my listening room is separated from my neighbours by my master bedroom and my second bedroom.
    A sub-woofer definitely adds to your listening experience. Positioned and set up properly, the sub will disappear while you're listening. As low frequency sounds are not directional, the bass will 'appear' to be coming from your two speakers. It will most definitely make the listening experience more enjoyable. They'll be more "oomphf" in everything you listen to. Highly recommend!
    I love music. I want music. I need music.

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    Senior Member bigshot's Avatar
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    I love my sub, but I don't live in an apartment. I would imagine the neighbors downstairs might not like it as much.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
    Second hand stores are a great place to find good old speakers. They won't have as good distortion ratings as modern speakers, but the fullness and dynamic punch will make up for it.
    Which speakers? How to decide when standing in front of a row of boxes.

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    Senior Member bigshot's Avatar
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    You have to know a little bit about what you're looking for... brands and models. It isn't hard to tell the difference between good US or British 70s speakers and cheap late 80s Chinese ones. Then you inspect them carefully, and ask if you can take them home and make sure they work and get a refund if they don't. Generally really good speakers sell for nothing in charity shops, especially old school box speakers. So even if you get stuck with a bad pair, you can just write it off as a loss and still get a good deal with the next set.
    Last edited by bigshot; Mar-14-2019 at 17:08.
    CD Sound Is All You Need: http://xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html
    AES Audio Myths Seminar: http://youtu.be/BYTlN6wjcvQ
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