Audiophile's Guide to the Galaxy  
 

 

Speakers
Smallish Rooms, Average-sized Rooms

Audio Federation Dealership Magazine Music Guide Blog

 

   

These tables list speakers by the type of experience they were apparently designed to produce. Secondary characteristics of a speaker, if any, are listed in order of significance. There are no better or best in these lists - just different. We have personally heard all of these speakers, most of them many times using our test CDs.

Many people put impressive amps on non-impressive speakers to try and make their system a more impressive system (not getting impressive speakers in the first place because they are typically some of the more expensive speakers and need, in general, a larger room).

Similarly with other types of speakers. For example, some might pair an emotional amp (typically a tube-based amp) with a real sounding speaker in order to make a real, emotional, and enjoyable system. The risk to any pairing of differents is that they might result in a system sounding like the worst of both worlds - instead of the best.

Impressive - Exaggerated bass and/or detail and/or dynamics
Enjoyable - Nice to listen to, pleasant
Sweet - Exaggerated harmonics and/or warmth
Emotional - Music often pulls at heart strings
Real/Truth - Transparent, accurate
Magical/Spiritual - Precipitates psychological effects other than what might be expected

     

Use the ears, Luke.

 

 


Smallish Rooms
(12 feet by 16 feet or smaller)
 
    Impressive   Enjoyable   Sweet   Emotional   Real   Magical
                         
Picture            
Brand   MBL   Acoustic Zen   Sonus Faber   Audio Note U.K.   Marten   Kharma
                         
Models   MBL 121   Adagio   Guarneri   AN-E series   Coltrane
Duke/Ellington
Miles III
Mingus
Monk
  Mini Exquisite
Ceramique 3.2
Price range   $15,000   $3,700   $10,000   $4,000 - $120,000   $7,000-50,000   $20,000 - 56,000
Secondary characteristics   Enjoyable   Real   Enjoyable
Impressive
Emotional
  Enjoyable
Real
Impressive
  Impressive
(Coltranes)
Enjoyable
  Emotional
Real
Enjoyable
                         
Notes   Requires large amp, typically an MBL amp. No microdynamics to speak of.       Not much bass below 40 Hz. Sonus Faber speakers are always harder to drive than one might think, but still sound good with lower powered amps   Pairs best with Audio Note U.K. amplifiers which come in all prices       Back-firing port requires speaker to be out from front wall.
                         
                         
Picture                
Brand   Wilson   Almarro       Acapella   Starsound    
                         
Models   Sophia           Fidelio II   Caravelle    
Price range   $12,000   $1,500 - $3,000       $6800   $5000    
Secondary characteristics   Real   Emotional
Real
      Real
Impressive
Enjoyable
       
                         
Notes   Careful positioning is required   Correct matching between Almarro speaker and Almarro amp is required. Otherwise results are unpredictable.                
                         
                         
Picture                
Brand   Revel   Audio Note       WLM   Intuitive Design    
                         
Models   Studio   AN-K series           Summit    
Price range   $12,000           $7,000 - 15,000   $3,500    
Secondary characteristics   Real   Emotional
Real
      Enjoyable   Impressive    
                         
Notes       Pairs best with Audio Note U.K. amplifiers which come in all prices                
                         
                         
Others   The smaller speakers from:

JM Lab / Usher,
BMW,
KRELL,
Avantgarde

and

Legend

  The smaller speakers from:

Sonus Faber,
Von Schweikert,
Vandersteen

and all speakers from

EPOS
Oskar Heil

         
 
   
                         

 


Average-sized Rooms
(between 12 feet by 16 feet and 25 feet by 40 feet, or so)
 
    Impressive   Enjoyable   Sweet   Emotional   Real   Magical
                         
Picture            
Brand   Wilson   Sound Lab   Sonus Faber   Avalon   Wilson   Marten
                         
Models   Maxx II   U1   Amati
Stradivarius
  Eidolon Vision   Alexandria X2   Coltrane Supreme
Price range   $45,000   $32,700   $34,000 - 40,000   $20,000 - $120,000   $135,000   $250,000
Secondary characteristics   Real   Impressive
Real
  Enjoyable
Impressive
Emotional
  Sweet
Enjoyable
Impressive
  Impressive   Real
Impressive
Enjoyable
                         
Notes   Careful positioning is required. Careful amplification is required       Sonus Faber speakers are always harder to drive than one might think, but still sound good with lower powered amps   Pairs best with powerful amplifiers if there is a desire for a bass response commensurate with midrange response.        
                         
                         
Picture              
Brand   MBL   Vandersteen       Kharma   Marten   Acapella
                         
Models   101E   5A       Midi Exquisite
Exquisite
  Coltrane   Triolon Excalibur
Price range   $45,000   $10,000       $75,000 - 125,000   $50,000   $145,000
Secondary characteristics   Enjoyable   Real       Enjoyable   Impressive
Enjoyable
  Real
Emotional
Impressive
                         
Notes   Careful positioning is required. Powerful amplification is required, and recommend the large MBL amps.                    
                         
                         
Picture                    
Brand   Avantgarde               Von Schweikert    
                         
Models   Duo
Trio
              VR9
VR11
   
Price range   $27,000 - 39,000               $60,000-100,000    
Secondary characteristics                   Impressive    
                         
Notes                        
                         
                         
Others   The speakers, in no specific order, from:

JM Lab / Usher,
BMW,
KRELL,
Pipedreams,
Genesis,
Dali,
TAD,
Wisdom,
Revel,
Hansen,
JAS Audio
 

  Other speakers from:

Sonus Faber
 

         
 
   
                         

 

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