General Speaker Advice and Recommendations

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

  1. PoochZag

    PoochZag The Shadow knows - Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,223
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Boston
    I'm going to grab my first pair of "real" speakers, and I'm completely overwhelmed by choice and don't know where to start. They need to be passive, and bookshelf speakers. They will either be used in a desk setup with Gungnir Multibit/ZDS, or as a TV/vinyl family room type setup, the uncertainty is a result of unsure how the furniture will be arranged after an upcoming move, so a smaller bookshelf size would be nice for either location.

    I just tried to buy a pair of local used Blumenstein Orca's, but I was vetoed on looks of the wood, I'm told they didn't match our furniture, so models with multiple finishes would be a plus in order to appease the SO.

    Budget is $1k max but I'm willing to buy used and be very patient. Amplifiers in either location can do at least 50W into 8ohms so no issue there. Unsure on what kid of signature, just looking for "best" in a musical enjoyment sense, especially in the context of no subwoofer, does not have to get very loud.

    Models that have caught my eye but I'm really lost, suggestions of things to look into would be great:
    KEF LS50 (used)
    KEF Q100/300
    Elac B5/B6/UB5
    Focal Aria/Chorus
    Blumenstein Marlin/Orca
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2017
  2. Grahad2

    Grahad2 Red eyes from too much anime

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2017
    Likes Received:
    1,227
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Singapore
    I've heard the LS50, but I think they need quite a fair bit of power to sound ok, and need quite some space from the wall otherwise you get boomy one note bass.

    If you want different finishes, you can try Omega. I quite like their sound (I've only heard the older Super 3 Monitor, 5 Monitor, and 7 XRS), which are definitely less steel and more musically involving even without much power than the LS50. Single digit watts are ok.

    Edit: Or you can veneer and build your own OSMT, given how well received they are in this forum, they should be pretty good. A older Omega 3U and OSMT was looked at in this thread if you haven't already finished reading it
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 1
    • List
  3. Rockin_Zombie

    Rockin_Zombie Facebook Friend

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2017
    Likes Received:
    130
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Toronto
    Omegas won't sound good without subwoofers. But yes they will be more musical than steely LS50s. The LS50s are quite picky with amps though, make sure your amp is rated well for 4 Ohm as well, their impedance vary wildly.
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 2
    • List
  4. purr1n

    purr1n Building Magnis part time because it's peaceful.

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    75,339
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Padre Island CC TX
    I vote for the Omegas.
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 3
    • List
  5. Klasse

    Klasse Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    121
    Trophy Points:
    43
    I have the Focal Aria 906 on S900 stands, they are good all-rounders speakers, retaining Focal finesse while being slightly warmer and more organic sounding than other Focals. They are just a tad more transparent but less energetic than Choruses in my experience. Both Arias and Choruses project a big an well delineated stage although placement and room acoustics are key here (same can be said for other speakers). Mines are Piano Black, the finish is really top notch.

    Not much of a WOW-ing speaker in terms of signature. You pay for a neutralish yet slightly warm, detailed and transparent sound that's big, clean and relatively easy on the ears. If you want an analytical tool or a very warm and laid back sound or an overly lively sound with plenty of impact and treble spark then look elsewhere, these are definitely on the neutralish/balanced camp.
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 4
    • List
  6. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    9,483
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    India
    Just one experience, but they were connected to a vintage Quad valve amp, so not many watts there. They sounded lovely.
     
  7. sphinxvc

    sphinxvc Gear Master (retired)

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    3,260
    Trophy Points:
    113
    OSMT, of course. To see if you'll like the Omegas, try digitally sloping off everything after 140hz on your headphones, then do something similar to the top end.
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 3
    • List
  8. Dr. Higgs

    Dr. Higgs Boson - Member

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2015
    Likes Received:
    793
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Roswell, GA
    Another vote for OSMT (and an anti-vote for the Omegas based on the Super 3U's mentioned in this thread: http://www.superbestaudiofriends.or...sations-mt-and-fostex-p1000-bh-shootout.3243/). I think I've heard the OSMT driven by at least 4 amps, and it's sounded consistently good out of all of them. The Omega's sounded exceptional out of an EC Studio, but it still wasn't enough to make up for the bass/treble roll off for me and didn't play nearly as well with any of the other amps (i.e. FirstWatt F3).

    I've been enjoying my Dynaudio x14a's for a few months now with desktop use, so you might want to consider looking for a set of the passive x14's for under $1k. Not sure how they would fill a living room, but I think they would fare as well as any other bookshelf speaker with a 5-6" driver.
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 1
    • List
  9. Grahad2

    Grahad2 Red eyes from too much anime

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2017
    Likes Received:
    1,227
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Singapore
    To be fair, that's like voting nay for all Sennheisers based off the HD700.
     
  10. Dr. Higgs

    Dr. Higgs Boson - Member

    Friend
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2015
    Likes Received:
    793
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Roswell, GA
    True, but you did recommend "Omega" based on the Super 3, etc. so I felt like a disclaimer was in order. I think everyone should be well aware of the limitations of small "full" range speakers before they consider putting money down, especially since I found the listed bass response on the Omega site to be quite misleading compared to what I heard and PoochZag mentioned that the speakers should be enjoyable "especially in the context of no subwoofer." Might not apply to the larger non-RS5 driver models. I can see the appeal when driven with some serious tube gear and paired with a sub, but it's not for me personally.
     
  11. ak2angel

    ak2angel Acquaintance

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2016
    Likes Received:
    80
    Trophy Points:
    18
    I second the Excite X14 passive. Musical, forgiving and does nothing too wrong, maybe a bit boring at times The downside is that they need a bit power to wake up (which is not an issue with >50wpc) and space to breathe (rear ported). If you can find one in good condition, or better yet, a Focus 140, I'd say go for it. They seems to appear often at reasonable price (~$700 for the X14 and ~$1000 for the 140)
     
  12. jhaider

    jhaider Acquaintance

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2016
    Likes Received:
    46
    Trophy Points:
    18
    The KEF Q100 and Elac UB5 are the best two speakers listed above, I think. (I own both.) The Q300 is not as good as the Q100. Comparatively, it has a directivity mismatch through the crossover. Also, the crossover is too simple to deal with the larger woofer's cone breakup. The LS50 has a "better" driver and cabinet, but the Q100 is voiced more neutrally. It's really amazing what KEF was able to do with a crude cabinet and three crossover components.

    Two others I'd recommend listening to are the Revel M105 and if you can find a set the old NHT Classic Three.

    The M105 is just an astounding little monitor. Great drivers, great cabinet, very well engineered crossover. Does nothing wrong.

    The NHT Classic Three is another very neutral speaker, though they do have fragile midrange domes. I use a set as rear surrounds in a 7.1-channel system. NHT has a successor model, C3. The C3 has a larger tweeter than the Classic Three, wider midrange-tweeter driver spacing, and a simplified cabinet. I have not heard it, but would like to. One potential advantage of the C3 is separate mounting plates for midrange and tweeter. The Classic Three has the midrange and tweeter domes on one plate, which means you have to replace both if the midrange dome gets dented.

    The Blumensteins are pretty, but not serious speakers in my view. The Focals are typical 1990s-style standmounts, with flattish/smoothish axial response but clearly audible sound power problems at the crossover. Some people love that kind of speaker. I don't.
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 3
    • List
  13. murphythecat

    murphythecat Self Imposed Exile

    Friend Banned
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2016
    Likes Received:
    1,091
    Trophy Points:
    93
    op needs to know if he can live with small speakers or if he needs big speakers... 2k budget for big speakers is rough, plenty of choices at 2k for small speakers..
     
  14. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    6,324
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Northwest France
    Been looking around at high end speakers and I've noticed quite a few WMTMW type speaker. What do the extra drives add over a WMT 3-way speaker?
     
  15. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

    Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    4,971
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Winnipeg
    Assuming all else equal, more drivers producing the same output means each one doesn't have to work as hard, which typically means lower distortion.
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 1
    • List
  16. Grahad2

    Grahad2 Red eyes from too much anime

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2017
    Likes Received:
    1,227
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Singapore
    You get more sensitivity, your driver excursion for given SPL is reduced since you have larger effective surface area so lesser chance of it hitting the even more non-linear portion during peaks, and possibly (I think) you get better coherence since the acoustic centre for the drivers are now all sort of centre-ish.
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 2
    • List
  17. Muse Wanderer

    Muse Wanderer Friend

    Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,124
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Malta
    As I look at speakers to purchase I am also interested at the differences between single driver speakers (with or without sub support) and multi driver ones. At present I am intrigued by Voxativ Pi and Marten Bird 2s. Near back wall placement is a must in my case, so speakers like Audionote may well be an option.

    Coherence of single driver ones is a plus. Multidriver speakers are said to be more 'accurate'. Coherence is easy to understand (stable image and no crossover nasties) but I wonder what accurate means. I presume it is lack of linear distorsion due to a flatter frequency reproduction.

    Now yesterday I listened to Wagner's Ring opera ending with JRiver band visualisation and frequencies from null till 20KHz were produced in synchrony. Would a single driver speaker keep up with such an opera or other complex orchestral works?
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 1
    • List
  18. Grahad2

    Grahad2 Red eyes from too much anime

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2017
    Likes Received:
    1,227
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Singapore
    Multidriver has more drivers to share the frequency response workload, which means you'd get better coverage of the spectrum.

    Single drivers, if well implemented, will have better coherency as the driver characteristics is constant (I recognise the same argument can be made for multi drivers as well), and typically image very well potentially due to lack of any need for phase correction in construction and crossover implementation.

    There's typically higher sensitivities with single drivers, since you don't have to have a crossover and compensate for different driver sensitivities, so it opens up your amplification choices to many low power SET tube amps as well - you also get more stable & reasonable driver impedances typically.

    There's the typical pick two out of three in speakers, which is size, extension, and efficiency. This tends to be even more exaggerated in single driver units, so chances are you'd get roll off at both extremes for your music which can cause some sense of lack of body or air, since the lowest and higher registers are not as well represented.

    I say this, but I still think single drivers have that wee bit of je ne sais quoi that really draw me; I've heard expensive multi driver systems (Guru, Monitor Audio, Harbeth, KEF, Emerald Physics, Gradient etc) but I've never really had a WOW moment like I did with a single driver.
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 2
    • List
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2017
  19. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    6,324
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Northwest France
    What about the symmetrical arrangement? Grahad mentions acoustical center, does this mean the woofer/mids sound as if they come from the tweeter?
     
  20. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

    Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2015
    Likes Received:
    4,971
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Winnipeg
    Yes... although all the drivers should have been configured (with crossover, placement, depth, etc etc) to have that proper sweet spot and coherence even without the symmetrical arrangement.
     

Share This Page