In Reply to: Which speakers to get? posted by flood on April 27, 2000 at 19:31:16:
Avoid the Monitor 5, it is not in the same class as the monitor 7, which has better woofer/tweeter integration. Also avoid Monitor Audio - I owned a pair of silver 5i's for a year & heaved a huge sigh of relief when I finally sold them. Check out the nOrh 6.5 which is on sale for $700 (normally $1000). www.norh.com Very high end build quality/sound. Much better than anything in the paradigm/nht/B&W budget lines. Somewhat better than the Dynaudio audience 50 ($900), but that is closer. Do not buy ANY tower speakers for under $1500 (about $2500 is where they start getting pretty decent - Meadolark comes to mind)or so - you will not be satisfied for any length of time & will end up selling them to "upgrade" in the future. (about $2500 is where they start getting pretty decent - Meadolark & Dynaudio comes to mind along with many others, but now it becomes a matter of personal preference as quality is pretty good in this price range)If you are looking to spend less than $1000, then a quality bookshelf is the only way to get decent sound that can be lived with for a long time. But even that is pretty rare (only dynaudio & norh come to mind). Avoid also, at all costs, metal dome tweeters in inexpensive speakers - see mrbigglesworth posting on this page as to why. CHEAP metal domes are IMPOSSIBLE to live with. This means paradigm, B&W, Energy, Def Tech Polk, PSB & the like are out. Also, do not get a bookshelf with a tipped up upper bass response because in the future you will have to sell them in favor of something with a flat frequency response in order to get them to properly integrate with a sub. Or you will sell them & get very expensive tower speakers (for $3-5k Hales & ProAc have pretty good towers for some what reasonable prices, plus Hales has some of the only decent metal domes around if you insist on metal tweeters). Especially with inexpensive equipment like you list, avoid matal tweets and certainly Monitor Audio Silver line speakers. Oh, almost forgot, another speaker line that is decent is Sound Dynamics, their RTS series is not bad (Soft dome tweeters!) They voiced them much closer to quality speakers, no Boom & Sizzle here (well, maybe some boom, but definitely no irritating sizzle!), but they do give up the "etched" detail for an attempt at more refined sound. But Sound Dynamics is merely a competent set of speakers that would get you by pretty well for a few years, but ones you would eventually look to better. The Dyn's and nOrh's are GREAT speakers that you will be happy with for a very long time. They do not have a boosted upper bass response, so they will integrate very well with a high quality sub if you desire "full range" sound in the future, thus making upgrading much cheaper, and somewhat painless. Dynaudio's are available many times at local dealers & you can audition them for yourself to see how good they are. nOrh's are only available over the internet at www.norh.com, but I can say the norhs do sound somewhat better (it is pretty close though), and are definitely built to a much higher standard (hand carved out of 20 inch tree trunks - hows that for build quality?!). Happy hunting. PS, a good way to tell the quality of the tweeter & its integration w/ the rest of the speaker is with female vocals & especially sibilants. Do the ssss & ssshhhh sounds stand out from the rest of the music? If so avoid that speaker. Sure it sounds more "detailed", but trust me, you will tire of it over time & find yourself listening to music less & less. Now, before everyone starts flaming me, there may in fact be some decent speaker out there for less than a grand which I have not listed, but I have not heard them. If you think there are some worthy ones, list them so I can put them on MY audition list - I like recommending good, cheap speakers to my friends, especially since none of them are audiophiles, they just want "a good system".
If you havent heard any other good speakers under a grand then please state that rather than sounding as if you know all and have heard all.
There are many very good speakers under a grand, mainly british models come to mind as well as Vienna Acoustics Hayden's SF Concertino's. If a speaker has to be butt ugly on the case of the nOrh then Id rather not have it in my house.The nOrhs have weakness's too and if someone that listened at low volumes bought them they may be disapointed. The Dynaudio's are fine speakers and about the best at their prices at the current time but to state that everything inexpensive with a metal dome tweeter is crap is silly and downright uneducated. I am interested to learn the electronics you use if a speaker has to be so forgiving. You mention the peak in the MA 5i, I bet what you hear is what you think is that peak based on the printed measurments, my guess is something in your system is feeding an unpleasant signal to the speaker as well and the revealing tweeter is telling it like it is for the most part with the peak being faint but adding to it. BTW speaking from experience, I own the Dynaudio 50s, 40s and C120 as well as the Monitor Audio MA702PMC. The 702 is in no way more fatiguing than the Dynaudios with good amplification and the mids are actually better, bass is lighter and a bit quicker as well and the soundstage is a bit bigger and of course highs more detailed. Percussion is a lot of metal, cymbals, bells etc. A metal tweeter makes sense in letting the true sounds through, you dont see silk over cymbals in concerts do you? Now if all speakers are graded on tweeters alone and on your ears alone you might have had a point but the truth is many speakers sound good under a grand and they are worth a darn to many people that buy them and enjoy them.
Your "test" for sibilance on female vocals is not very reliable. I had a friend with a set of speakers that sounded QUITE sibilant in a specific system . Changed one cable and it sounded much smoother. It did lose a bit of "air", but was well worth the trade-off. The same could be said of substituting a different amp, preamp, DAC, etc...
It's all about system synergy. You might be amazed at how good some products that you wrote off as being "crap" could sound if you only took the time to fine tune the system that they were in. This takes time and a LOT of trial and error. Most people don't have the resources, time, knowledge or patience to get the most out of their individual systems.
I do agree that less expensive speakers with metal domes should be avoided at all costs though. With most people using "digital" sources, the sound would typically be very annoying after only a short period of time. Sean
Agreed, but with mid-fi cd player & integrated amp & a speaker under 1k, you will be very hard pressed to find a combo that is not sibilant. Most likely under 1k speakers will be demo'd with mid fi equipment in the store. I was speaking primarily of home auditions - if it sounds sibilant on your system & like you said, you dont want to have to buy extra cables/cd players/amps, get speakers that do match your current system. The best way to check the speakers in that particular situation is to look for smooth sounding speakers with the equipment you already have. Besides, almost every sub-$1k speaker I have heard is somewhat shouty. Otherwise you are right, system synergy is almost everyting.
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