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What are the best speakers in the world?

post #1 of 126
Thread Starter 
there are so many speakers and speaker companies out there,it's damn confuisng.
what are the best speakers currently available?i ofcourse will not be able to afford them...but it's nice to dream.

Gear mentioned in this thread:

post #2 of 126
Wilson Audio X-2
That was easy.
post #3 of 126
Wilson is just one of many top-notch consumer loudspeaker brands:

Quad
Revel
Focal JM Labs
Dynaudio
Wilson
Thiel
Triangle
B&W


Best value consumer speakers, depends on price range of interest, but some of the ones with best price/perf. ratios:

Paradigm
NHT
Tannoy
Axiom
Magnepans

... (quite a few more that don't pop right now)


Within the pro-audio world, M&K and JBL are the ones that first pop into my mind. Mackie is another, Genelec...
post #4 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by rsaavedra View Post
Wilson is just one of many top-notch consumer loudspeaker brands:

Quad
Focal JM Labs
Dynaudio
Wilson
Thiel
Triangle
B&W
Really? Have you heard all those? I have. If you want to know "best", its X-2.
(j/k of course)
post #5 of 126
In terms of absolute success, reputation and respect I don't think that there is a single loudspeaker which can touch the Quad ESL 57.

As far as the best speaker ever is concerned, its a bit like asking what's the best beer. Too subjective to ever have a real answer.
post #6 of 126
Every time I've heard the X-2 it was uninspiring. I'm sure it's just the expectation of greatness and the lousy showroom, though.

Once, at Audio Federation, I heard a fully calibrated Marten Coltrane supreme. At $250,000 a pair, it's perhaps the most expensive in the world. Really, the most expensive is what you're looking for here. I've still heard speakers I enjoyed more than the Marten, but none of them cost more than my home or were made of diamonds.

However, for my money, I think the Meridian DSP8000 is absolutely phenomenal, and truly adaptive. It's gorgeous to boot, and sounds good everywhere. There's something to be said for maximum technology, sometimes.
post #7 of 126
what's the best headphones?
post #8 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Champ04 View Post
Really? Have you heard all those? I have. If you want to know "best", its X-2.
(j/k of course)
I wish I had sampled all those. Of those I've auditioned B&Ws, Focals, and some Dynaudios. The highest model I've heard was the fat B&W 801. The Focals I heard one in Orlando. They were towers but not the Utopias, they were a lesser model, can't recall the exact name.

I forgot to mention one other most excellent brand: Revel, which I have heard, and is one of the best speakers I've heard. In fact, I liked them better than the 801, even though they were bookshelves. They were in the same room with the 801s, at a high-end audio store in Seattle.

The Dynaudios I heard in Indianapolis, room was small, sounded boomy. I'm sure they can deliver much better sound than what I heard.
post #9 of 126
Highly subjective INDEED!

duggeh is right on that note.

there was some million dollar setup designed by engineers complete with a concrete tunnel system for bass! I mean 5' wide and 6' deep ****ing bass tunnels lol.

I believe it was Brits who did it but am uncertain.
post #10 of 126
Most expensive doesn't always mean best. I personally like the signature of the B&W. I have an uncle that has 2 pairs (one inverted over the other) of Some Dalquist panels. They are about 3' square and the drivers are suspended in an open frame and just covered with grill cloth. He has all McIntosh gear driving them.

The ultimate speakers for me would be B&W 800D, but I would settle for a pair of original Matrix 801s
post #11 of 126
The best speakers in the world are the ones you like the best until you've heard something that you like better. Then even when you think you've heard them all and have settled on the best of the best, that same company will come out with something better.

Plus, no matter how many great speakers you get to listen to, there are a zillion extraneous factors that will come into play in terms of your subjective impressions of them. First, there is the room that they're in. What size, what shape, what kinds of rom treatments, how it was lit, what kind of flooring, how the speakers are positioned, what distance you're listening postion is from the speakers, the volume level you've selected, the music you've selected, the format of that music, how well it has been remastered, how familiar with it you are, what time a day it is, ambient room noise, when and what you last ate, whether your breath is fresh, whether your wife would rather be doing something else, the CD player being used, or worse yet the turntable, cart and phono premap being used, how well it is set up, the preamp, amps, cables, racks and other tweeks, whether you have any preconceived notions about the speakers themselves or any of the associated equipment, whether you know what they cost, and a few other things I'm forgetting at the moment.

If you can control for all of that and can still manage to do quick A/B speaker comparisons by having the world's fastest and strongest man move one set of speakers out of the way and immediately place the next set of speakers in that same position, connect them up, and component match to suit the new set of speakers (almost for sure that means different amps at a minimum), then you can get a pretty good idea if you like A or B better. Your friends may not agree, but that's Ok.

So just repeat this process about 1,752 times (which, last count, is the number of times I've read a "professional" audio reviewer claim that "X, Y, or Z is the best set of speakers I've ever heard and thus has become my new reference"). At that point you would have heard them all in a fairly well controlled environment, and thus you'll be able to decide for yourself which speakers are the world's best.

This is, of course, assuming that you can listen to the same song 1,752 times in a row without suffering any listener's fatigue, short term memory loss, hunger, thirst, or abdominal pain from puking your guts out due to the sheer boredom of it all.

Otherwise, just do some reading to find out what the usual suspects are within your budget, audition a couple of them, and make a decision. You can always upgrade later. We all do.
post #12 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by cotdt View Post
what's the best headphones?
Point taken!

I'm sure we could narrow down the list to 10 or so without too much trouble though.
post #13 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wmcmanus View Post
First, there is the room that they're in. What size, what shape, what kinds of rom treatments, how it was lit, what kind of flooring, how the speakers are positioned, what distance you're listening postion is from the speakers, the volume level you've selected, the music you've selected, the format of that music, how well it has been remastered, how familiar with it you are
Definitely Wayne, listening to some speakers in one room with certain electronics (source and amp) driving them, and with certain music, then going to another room, with some other speakers, some other electronics, and some other music, won't be a sound comparison, pardon the pun

And room acoustic issues certainly can't be stressed enough. I've posted a few times the fact that the Focals I heard in Orlando were placed in a cubic room, AND with a hugely powerful Rel subwoofer right in the corner. That setup arguably yields one of the worst possible room acoustics you can get, and it showed: the sound was aweful, even though the Focals were really high-end (iirc > $10K the pair), though still, smaller and much cheaper than the Utopias. The electronics were all premium Musical Fidelity stuff btw, but that didn't help such a bad setup.

In all the auditions of speakers I've gone to, I´ve taken my little CD holder with about 30 CDs, including my main auditioning ones with the songs I know best: Tool, Bjork, Diana Krall, Ana Caram, Chesky records Jazz sampler... So I certainly try to keep the variables under control as much as practically possibly.

The comparison in Seattle was one of the best I've had the chance to do, because the room for the 801's was huge and properly treated, the speakers were very well placed, as well as the recliner. I heard the same Diana krall tracks from both speakers, the 801s and the Revel M20s next to them, and I preferred the Revels. Electronics were very high end, iirc Classé. Wasn't an instant A/B comparison though, full songs first the 801's then the Revels, then parts of the song the 801's, then the Revels.
post #14 of 126
There are no "best" speakers, and you definitely can't judge by price. Many speakers in the $6000 and up range are awful.

If I had to vote for just one, it would be the Linkwitz Orion.
post #15 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wmcmanus View Post
The best speakers in the world are the ones you like the best until you've heard something that you like better...You can always upgrade later. We all do.
Said the man with the mbl 101E system (my personal fav ).

But your point is well taken, my friend. Perform your own due diligence (within all of your personal constraints), listen for yourself, make your own choices, and don't forget it's still about the music.
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