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Passive Speaker Recommendations for USA (by @sweetchaos)

I made some wall mounts for the KEF 3 out of some 1" (really 3/4") alder plus heavy duty brackets mounted over studs. The R3 have sealed nuts in the bottom (I don't remeber the size), so I was able securely attach them to the shelf. For smaller speakers one can buy pre-made speaker mounts. One thing I like about the Arendal line is they have wall mounts for most of their speakers.

View attachment 332688
Any pics of them setup?
 
Any pics of them setup?

It's not a great photo -- I was installing height speakers to replace the atmos. There's R3s on the side, and an R2c on a floating shelf below the TV. The box to the lower left is a Sigberg Inkognito 10. The rear of that wall was exposed framing in an attic space, so I was able to install 2x4 braces if things did not line up with a stud.


IMG_2995 (2).jpeg
 
I've removed all R non-meta
Seems a bit premature, they're still readily available (at discounted prices) - unlike the non-meta Reference.
Maybe revisit that in half a year or so.
 
Distortion handling of a loudspeaker is usually secondary to frequency response. Meaning, a great frequency response and poor distortion handling speaker will still be preferred over a poor frequency response speaker with great distortion handling. A great example of this is the fact that JBL 305P/306P/308P MKII speakers have higher-than-normal distortion, but because of their relatively neutral frequency response, a lot of people still enjoy them.

So I've always thought this was an interesting claim, as it has not been borne out in my own life.

In fact a significant part of the drive that led me to do DIY speaker construction was both mine and my wife's dissatisfaction with our previous HT set (pro audio based) which measured quite flat in frequency response. It would sound fine at normal volume levels listening to things that weren't super-complex, but more complexity or more volume, and sometimes the latter exacerbating the former as we "turned it up to hear", all were just lacking in clarity.

The current DIY speakers we use as the fronts are very low distortion (Seas W18EX001 and RAAL 70-20XR drivers) but also frankly fairly uneven response at lower frequencies and at the crossover point. My wife thought they were so much clearer and better than the previous speakers that she lets me keep them in the living room even though she hates what they look like.
 
I was really surprised on the Polk Reserve 500 Erin reviewed. PS 6.2 for 1200-dollar speakers. Limitations, of course, but otherwise, a budget king priced similarly to or less than many bookshelf speakers.
 
I was really surprised on the Polk Reserve 500 Erin reviewed. PS 6.2 for 1200-dollar speakers. Limitations, of course, but otherwise, a budget king priced similarly to or less than many bookshelf speakers.
I need to check the review, but for the price they look like a good value. I'm biased to the Encores from monoprice, but only when they are on sale.
 
Changelog:

2024-04-11:
Added a 'NEVER BUY THESE' section:
- In April 2024, a lot of revealing information was released about Tekton (speaker manufacturer).
See these 2 threads:
- Legal fund for Reviewers/Erin? (from Page 1)
- Tekton M-Lore Speaker Review (from Page 13)
In conclusion, this speaker brand should go to the graveyard.
I encourage people to never buy from this speaker brand.

Will update my tables with the recent speaker reviews, shortly.
 
Update:
2024-04-15:
- Updated spins for Kef Blade 2 Meta (Erin), Kef R11 Meta (Amir)
- Added Polk Audio Reserve R500 tower (Erin)
- We now have 3 Klippel NFS scans for Ascend Acoustics Sierra 1 V2. First is by vendor with PS of 6.7, then Erin reviewed it with PS of 6.4, then Amir reviewed it with PS of 5.9. Seeing how much variation there is, I decided to take the average of these 3, which is PS of 6.4. There is still some variability with Klippel NFS, but I think the average of 3 makes the most sense.
 
I own a few of those under 1k. Ironically, imho, the m lores sound better than the others I own in the specific room they are in. I believe measurements are great, but musical preferences and reproduction of such is subjective.
 
I own a few of those under 1k. Ironically, imho, the m lores sound better than the others I own in the specific room they are in. I believe measurements are great, but musical preferences and reproduction of such is subjective.
Sounds like an idea for a new thread. Post your impressions and preference of speakers there.
 
Changelog:



Will update my tables with the recent speaker reviews, shortly.
Hey @sweetchaos love your work, absolute ripper. Just wondering if the “Never buy these” category is a bit…. much. Your lists and recommendations are all based on measured performance, ie if the speakers no good it doesn’t get recommended. As we have seen though customer service and retailer integrity needs to be considered. I was thinking maybe a “Retailers to be weary of”? then you can list what they have done.
Im just nit picking and providing another perspective, feel free to ignore me
 
The previous disclaimer I’ve added on this thread was for March Audio Souituva (1st gen). It was a link to an ASR thread, discussing some quality issues. The speaker was highly rated, but a newcomer to the market, so I wanted to let people know about this. A disclaimer like that lets people know about a potential issue they need to be aware of. I haven’t seen any issues with March Audio since, that’s because the owner got the feedback and fixed any outstanding issues. Kudos to March Audio.

Tekton, on the other hand, is a different story isn’t it?
So, this brand gets my strongest disclaimer, which is to avoid buying.
 
^^Just a footnote, I bought the 1st generation and it was the second sample Erin measured. I have had absolutely no trouble with it QR or soundwise. I did read the thread on the “issues” and personally was very dubious of the claims in that thread but didn’t comment.
 
We now have 3 Klippel NFS scans for Ascend Acoustics Sierra 1 V2.
@amirm's review of the Ascend Sierra1V2 makes me wish I didn't already have 1-active and 3-passive speaker pairs around the house.

I thought I'd be hip - via ASR peer-pressure ;)- and bought my mate her very own (active) KEF LSX2s for Christmas.

The LSXs should be heard and seen but no speaker should ever be high-maintenance.:mad:
imo: Actives are like that!

ADD: In the case of the LSX2s: *The remote-control is worth about $5 and unresponsive, *Control via mobile app but no Windows app, *The front-panel LED 'status' indicator-ring stops status'ing and *When the PC goes to S1 sleep, the KEFs emit a low-level squeak (bzzzk, bzzzk...), every few seconds.
If a pair of passive speakers ever had such problems, they'd be taken out in the back of the farm and shot to death!:eek:
 
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It would be nice if you could add a max spl at 1m measurement for each speaker to the right of LFX. But thanks anyway for all this awesome work!
 
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