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Passive Speaker Recommendations for USA (by @sweetchaos)

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sweetchaos

sweetchaos

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By the way the Revel M16 scores 6.0 with the port closed.

Maybe it should be moved out of the worthy title and into a regular title with a note at the end?
I can't find this information. Can you show me the source?

You can rotate the BMR Monitor RAAL Tweeter 90 degrees should you require the speaker be on it's side. But it's not that big of a speaker that vertical orientation is an issue in most installs. I also find the Monolith THX-365C does a great job as a center channel at a superb price.
Very cool. I didn't know that. Then it becomes a worthy pick for center-channel use. Thanks.

Is the New Sierra LX model not present here because of the vertical directivity issues?
Yes, it's a typical 2-way, which means it's vertical directivity is aweful. And if you rotate the speaker 90 degrees (to be horizontal, like a center channel), then it's vertical directivity becomes horizontal. So now your horizontal directivity is aweful.
That's why coaxial speakers work best for center channel, since when you rotate the speaker, the vertical directivity (which is good) becomes horizontal, and everything works out.
 

abdo123

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I can't find this information. Can you show me the source?
You can read about it here: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...orama-and-misc-measurements.27076/post-980559

In that post you can see that the score increases by 0.3 when you close the port. So the original NFS score is 5.6 so it's 5.9 with the port closed and would be 8.0 with the port closed and with a subwoofer.

8/10 with Sub is remarkable without EQ though for a passive speaker. and would be #2 on your list for a speaker pair under 1000$
 
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sweetchaos

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You can read about it here: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...orama-and-misc-measurements.27076/post-980559

In that post you can see that the score increases by 0.3 when you close the port. So the original NFS score is 5.6 so it's 5.9 with the port closed and would be 8.0 with the port closed and with a subwoofer.

8/10 with Sub is remarkable without EQ though for a passive speaker. and would be #2 on your list for a speaker pair under 1000$
Thanks, added. :)
 

warthor

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That would be cool if the Revel M16 could be used as a center speaker, but I think it has issues as a two way design with vertical directivity (as sweetchaos mentioned). It would be nice because you can buy them as single speakers from crutchfield. And they have been on sale for a while, making the value pretty good ($700/pair).

 

jae

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Do you think they are better than the r3? Based on only score they are, and I've read that they can manage a lot of power,but I've seen the directivity are different,the kef are more narrower, i currently have the R3 and reselling them wouldn't be a problem
Even if they aren't clearly better/worse, they also cost basically half the price. So an amazing opportunity for new buyers. I'm even considering getting these as a stop gap until I can justify buying Genelecs or similar.
 

kenimaru

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Even if they aren't clearly better/worse, they also cost basically half the price. So an amazing opportunity for new buyers. I'm even considering getting these as a stop gap until I can justify buying Genelecs or similar.
What Genelec models are you looking at? They seem interesting.
 

Ciobi69

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Even if they aren't clearly better/worse, they also cost basically half the price. So an amazing opportunity for new buyers. I'm even considering getting these as a stop gap until I can justify buying Genelecs or similar.
not for me i paid 1070 dollars for a new pair of kef R3 and the sierra acoustics could cost me 1700-1800 dollars if im not wrong, because import taxes in EU, but for new buyers i would try the sierra
 

jae

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What Genelec models are you looking at? They seem interesting.
8351B/8361A. Very pricey.

not for me i paid 1070 dollars for a new pair of kef R3 and the sierra acoustics could cost me 1700-1800 dollars if im not wrong, because import taxes in EU, but for new buyers i would try the sierra
Yeah, Kef is generally cheaper in countries outside of US, especially if you can get them used. Kef is due to update their R3 with their new drivers soon, so we will probably see a lot of them getting unloaded cheaper in the coming months. Kef R3, Buchardt, Sierra-LX, Sointuva are all the passive bookshelves to be buying depending on budget.
 

jae

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Why not going for the Ones, given these are 3-way?
Biggest reason right now is cost/logistics. I am stuck overseas now, buying Genelec here will cost me 11k USD for 8351B's or 13k for 8361A's. That is a massive premium over retail where I am from, and then if I had speakers that expensive, I would be compelled to ship them back if I moved back home (the likelihood of which seems high), and that will also incur a massive cost and of course long waiting times and worry about it being mishandled. In comparison, buying ones in my home country will only cost $7.7k/9.2k USD respectively. And while there may be some tax on that, I can also get some % off from the dealer, so it still works out to be much cheaper.

The Sierra-LX seem good enough that I would not regret waiting to buy the Genelec and will not break the bank at only ~$1750 after its shipped, and the measurements seemingly beat virtually everything else up to the $6-10k+ range. They are much lighter to ship back or wouldn't be much of a loss to sell them here before I left. I am essentially considering them as a compromise/stop gap speaker before I purchase a dream system down the line. I am still not 100% sure if that dream system will be Genelec.
 

sweetmusic

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This site (and this thread in particular) is an amazing resource, and I'm so grateful to the community here for compiling a list like this! I'm using it to help in an upcoming speaker purchase.

I have a question about the selection of speakers that are included in the spreadsheet. It looks like certain brands have had many models measured (Revel and KEF, for example), while other brands are mostly absent. It's not that other brands appear and measured badly, but that they have not been measured at all, fwict.

Given that this is a crowd-sourced effort, it makes sense that what's been tracked is influenced by what the members here have access to. And clearly people have access to a lot.

Is there any way to import results from all of the measurements taken by soundstage and stereophile, and compute preference scores from them? Would that bring in more valuable data for comparison? Or are those already mostly included?
 

sweetmusic

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The Sierra LX does measure amazingly well. The price is shockingly reasonable given the quality of parts and the measured performance.

I wonder a little about the flat fronts of the cabinets. Are early reflections from a flat surface an issue? Would that show up in any of the measurements? Or is it not really a concern, and it's mostly a marketing gimmick to add a curved face?

The only downside I can see is that the enclosures look pretty ordinary and boxy. Not ugly, just a little retro compared to the state of the art measurement and drivers. If you want to impress people with expensive-looking speakers, other brands have more bling. If you care about the objective measurements, the Sierra's are a step up in appearance from most of the studio monitors that offer similar performance.
 
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sweetchaos

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Is there any way to import results from all of the measurements taken by soundstage and stereophile, and compute preference scores from them?
No, because both include only the on-axis measurements.

SoundStageNetwork:
fr_on1530.gif


Stereophile:
422JBLfig4.jpg

You need the CEA2034 spinorama that Amir, Erin (and others) publish, to calculate the preference score.
Example:
CEA2034.jpg

In order to calculate the Olive Preference Score, you need to measure all the angles (off-axis and on-axis) and then present the data (on axis, listening window, early reflections, sound power, early reflections DI, sound power DI).

Since Stereophile and SoundStageNetwork only show a single graph (the on-axis), there isn't enough information to compute the preference score.
 

sweetmusic

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No, because both include only the on-axis measurements.

SoundStageNetwork:
fr_on1530.gif


Stereophile:
422JBLfig4.jpg

You need the CEA2034 spinorama that Amir, Erin (and others) publish, to calculate the preference score.
Example:
CEA2034.jpg

In order to calculate the Olive Preference Score, you need to measure all the angles (off-axis and on-axis) and then present the data (on axis, listening window, early reflections, sound power, early reflections DI, sound power DI).

Since Stereophile and SoundStageNetwork only show a single graph (the on-axis), there isn't enough information to compute the preference score.
Thanks, @sweetchaos . That makes sense.

Seems like there would be a benefit to using all that data though. Maybe someone could create a simplified Preference Score that can be computed from the data that's available in all 3 methodologies. It would be less predictive but allow ranking of more speakers.

Lots of challenges to compile and curate it all, but it would be fun to see more speakers in the list, and also see how speaker measurements improved over time.
 

kenimaru

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[redacted]

I have a question about the selection of speakers that are included in the spreadsheet. It looks like certain brands have had many models measured (Revel and KEF, for example), while other brands are mostly absent. It's not that other brands appear and measured badly, but that they have not been measured at all, fwict.

[redacted]

Is there any way to import results from all of the measurements taken by soundstage and stereophile, and compute preference scores from them? Would that bring in more valuable data for comparison? Or are those already mostly included?
Warning: soapbox.

So any speakers that do not publish the FR measurement curve, just ignore them and move on. There is so much snake oil in the business and there are plenty of reputable companies that deserve your money. In a perfect world, you want a flat FR curve at the full range 20Hz - 20kHz that human can hear (I know B&W 803 can do that, it's also $20K a pair), but realistically 40Hz is probably good enough for most situations, and at that point you might just as well pair with a sub to go that low.

As other had mentioned, the main issue is that the PS is calculated from the spinorama, and the methodology is not exactly without issues (for example, RAAL tweeter is punished because of the wider horizontal dispersion and the narrow vertical, which implies coaxial driver will score better because of the dispersion pattern), having said that, I think being able to read the FR and spec is a good starting point to objectively evaluate what speakers sound good.
 

cavedriver

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More soapbox:

This thread (and the site in general) really deserves to have a giant disclaimer right at the beginning: "We only recommend speakers that either Amir, Erin, or the OP has reviewed". This statement may seem self-evident, but it's very important that people understand that there is a ton of data on this site and in aggregate it gives the impression that this is ALL there is out there and therefore a "complete" view of the audio world and the options out there to purchase. This is, of course, far from the truth, especially when you publish a list that goes into the tens of thousands of dollars per pair. The end of the list in this thread basically covers the price range of most of the speakers on the market, but there are literally hundreds of models not reviewed by any of these sites, especially when you get over a thousand or two a pair. This isn't anyone's fault- it takes time to review speakers and there are lots out there, and due to the collapse of the US dealer network even getting a hold of many of these speakers to listen to is even harder than it was 30 years ago. I just think right after the first sentence of this post ("Here's the speakers 'I' recommend buying"), should be the sentence, "This is based only from among the speakers that have been reviewed by X,Y, or Z". Personally I would not buy any speaker based solely on the reviews here, but nor would I buy any "keeper" speaker without demo'ing it and any others I can listen to that suggest they will be worth the effort.

For reference, a few of the solid speaker brands that are woefully underrepresented by the reviews on this website and in these lists: Wharfedale, Monitor Audio, Dali, Golden Ear, Audio Note, Coincident, DeVore, and so on and so on.
 

sweetmusic

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No, because both include only the on-axis measurements.

SoundStageNetwork:
fr_on1530.gif


Stereophile:
422JBLfig4.jpg

You need the CEA2034 spinorama that Amir, Erin (and others) publish, to calculate the preference score.
Example:
CEA2034.jpg

In order to calculate the Olive Preference Score, you need to measure all the angles (off-axis and on-axis) and then present the data (on axis, listening window, early reflections, sound power, early reflections DI, sound power DI).

Since Stereophile and SoundStageNetwork only show a single graph (the on-axis), there isn't enough information to compute the preference score.

Am I misinterpreting the data on Stereophile and SoundStage? For several years, Stereophile has shown off-axis response plots like this:
916DF200fig3.jpg


And SoundStage plots 15, 30, 45, 60 and 75 degrees off-axis, split into two plots. Here's an example of 45/60/75:

fr_456075.gif

It's a lot of valuable data that can be compared by eye and could be aggregated. I understand it may not work for specifics of the Preference Score formula. But given that the Preference Score is a heuristic, and speakers may do better on some aspects than others, wouldn't it be nice to have a giant sortable spreadsheet that shows more speakers? Then people on this site could take the data and invent their own alternative to the Preference Score that maybe captures what they like best about speakers, or dig into the individual dimensions more.
 

Dodgexander

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Can someone put me out of my misery? I'm looking for a good compromise between size and sound quality whilst also keeping my current Meridian Explorer² DAC.

Ideally I want the speaker (or amp) to have a headphone out to for conveniently plugging in my headphones (Denon AH-M400).

I have no preference between active or amp+passive but I want to avoid speakers like the Vanatoo's that downsample audio via it's ADC.

Does anyone have any suggestions? I'm open to ebay too.

I was initially looking at monitors and thought the Presonos monitors looked perfect but they seem to be plagued with bad hiss.

The speakers will be used near field mainly but also it would be nice if they could fill a 10x10ft room.

If a compromise has to be made with size I'm happy to get larger speakers and place them on a stand.
 
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