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Speaker recommendation in view of brand's cost cutting

Roy_L

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I'm looking to get new speakers after quite a long time with a temporary pair (Polk R200, they're really good). However, I've decided it's time to invest more money, and now I'm facing a new problem. I was intending to go for speakers with good measurements like Revel m106 (or even higher). But then I dug deeper, I found out that there is considerable cost cutting going on especially where we can't look- i.e. in the crossover, where they use some real penny-cheapo low end components, and cabinet damping. After taking the time and digging some more, it seems to be the norm even in speakers costing twice as much, Revel far from being alone in this bad practice. And that's really annoying to me given the prices of these things.
Since I'm not going the diy route, I thought maybe the solution could be found with one of those small direct sale speaker businesses which are somewhere between diy's and consmer brands, such as Tyler acoustics, Fritz speakers, Ryan speakers, Salk sound (which build BMR monitors) etc. Other than BMR monitors which were much discussed and I understand are great, does anyone have any recommendation? I'm looking for a pair of large bookshelf speakers, which measure great, cost between 2.5-3.5 thousand dollars (preferably up to 3), and are actually built from real high quality parts in all regards- cabinets, drivers, crossover, everything! I mean, it's not like I dare expecting anything like a floorstander or a complicated 4 way, right? Is it too much to ask for a pair of 3,000$ bookshelf speakers to be really built of actual high quality parts and measure great?
 
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Spkrdctr

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I'm looking to get new speakers after quite a long time with a temporary pair (Polk R200, they're really good). However, I've decided it's time to invest more money,
I'm looking for a pair of large bookshelf speakers, which measure great, cost between 2.5-3.5 thousand dollars (preferably up to 3), and are actually built from real high quality parts in all regards- cabinets, drivers, crossover, everything! I mean, it's not like I dare expecting anything like a floorstander or a complicated 4 way, right? Is it too much to ask for a pair of 3,000$ bookshelf speakers to be really built of actual high quality parts and measure great?
Well, it all depends. Many fairly expensive speakers do not test well. A few do. But I'm wondering why you feel the need to spend more money if your Polk R200 speakers are doing such a good job? Any new speaker you buy will be a crap shoot in getting you better performance than the Polk's. More money, more expensive speakers does not mean better. All speakers are individuals. Asking for speakers to be built with high quality parts an measure great is a HUGE ask. I would do some research with the speaker Review section (tab up top of the page) to see what looks good in testing. Also, you can try listening to some that may not have been tested. If you find something you like better than the Polk's, buy them. I would make sure you get to return them after a week or two. You might find they are no better than the Polk's. So, be careful with your money and use your current Polk's as the baseline. Good Luck on your journey to trying to find better speakers. It can be a long time and money consuming job. Let us know what you end up doing. It is always fun to hear about some ones quest for better sound.
 

Chaconne

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I'm looking to get new speakers after quite a long time with a temporary pair (Polk R200, they're really good). However, I've decided it's time to invest more money, and now I'm facing a new problem. I was intending to go for speakers with good measurements like Revel m106 (or even higher). But then I dug deeper, I found out that there is considerable cost cutting going on especially where we can't look- i.e. in the crossover, where they use some real penny-cheapo low end components, and cabinet damping. After taking the time and digging some more, it seems to be the norm even in speakers costing twice as much, Revel far from being alone in this bad practice. And that's really annoying to me given the prices of these things.
Since I'm not going the diy route, I thought maybe the solution could be found with one of those small direct sale speaker businesses which are somewhere between diy's and consmer brands, such as Tyler acoustics, Fritz speakers, Ryan speakers, Salk sound (which build BMR monitors) etc. Other than BMR monitors which were much discussed and I understand are great, does anyone have any recommendation? I'm looking for a pair of large bookshelf speakers, which measure great, cost between 2.5-3.5 thousand dollars (preferably up to 3), and are actually built from real high quality parts in all regards- cabinets, drivers, crossover, everything! I mean, it's not like I dare expecting anything like a floorstander or a complicated 4 way, right? Is it too much to ask for a pair of 3,000$ bookshelf speakers to be really built of actual high quality parts and measure great?
You might want to consider cutting back on your consumption of Danny Richie videos! :)
 

mhardy6647

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I'm looking to get new speakers after quite a long time with a temporary pair (Polk R200, they're really good).
I guess I'm also curious as to the OP's definition of quite a long time -- since the Polk Reserve Series was only introduced in March 2021.

As a bit of (anecdotal) counterpoint: I've owned a pair of Polk Audio Monitor Series Model 7A since 1978. I'd say that is getting to be a long time.

And as another anecdotal data point: I've owned a pair of R200s since late fall 2021 -- although that's not what I'd consider a long time.
 

Skyro

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Polk R200 are fine speakers. Well regarded and measure fairly well. Why are you looking to upgrade specifically?

I'm not an expert on crossovers but wasn't there some ASR member who tested more expensive crossover components and found virtually no difference? My understanding is that while there are merits/benefits to some crossover components over others in a sort of lab setting (i.e. pushing them to extremes/limits), in a practical real world scenario it is much more about the design than the price of the components. That said there are some speaker manufacturers who detail out their crossovers and which also measure well. Buchardt comes to mind.
 

jtongret

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I can tell from your post that you've been watching Danny Richie on YT, lol! That's fine, but understand that will only lead you to purchase one of his gr research speakers, or a different brand that'll require you to buy one his crossover upgrade kits. He's not really guiding anyone to good purchases as much as he's advertising what he's selling. Let me say however, to each his own and I don't have anything against the guy or his business. When it comes to wanting to get more for your money, or a better cost to price ratio I think the smaller consumer direct model or buying on the used market are very good options. What's also important is learning your own preferences and what your you're looking to achieve with your upgrade. If you want recommendations I can tell you to look at Arendal Sound if their design is to your liking. I personally like their controlled directivity and high spl capabilities, not to mention the design is gorgeous to me. Revel is a popular brand here, and I picked up a pair of second hand F208's for $2700, and felt like it was money well spent for the quality. When I sold them I got back what I paid for them. Point being that the used market is a great option to stretch your dollar with speakers. Other consumer direct brands that seem to be high value based on owner reviews are Ascend Acoustics and Aperion Audio,but I don't have first hand experience with them. So much comes down to your particular situation and your personal goals and preferences. Don't get hung up on searching for a speaker with a Danny Richie approved crossover or you'll probably miss the mark on what's going to bring you the best experience! Best of luck and enjoy the search, don't make it chore!
 

mhardy6647

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Oh.
Speaking of R200s/Polk Reserve Series and XO upgrades...


before:

xj0r5jtc6iaq.jpg


after (or perhaps during):

t03mrmfprung.jpg
 

JWAmerica

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Perhaps engineering departments have determined that it's a waste of money to build heavy, braced and damped cabinets with high quality crossovers. If the performance is there and the cut corners are inaudible, they're delivering a superior product at a lower price.
 

dfuller

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But then I dug deeper, I found out that there is considerable cost cutting going on especially where we can't look- i.e. in the crossover, where they use some real penny-cheapo low end components, and cabinet damping
Do yourself a favor and stop watching anything Danny Richie puts out. That dude is straight up snake oil given form.
 

captainbeefheart

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Nah it's literally bogus BS that people like Danny and GR Research YT videos push because they don't understand electronics very well.

I watched a video on how he explains why he thinks the woofer network shunt capacitor is in the signal path. It's not, shunt caps are their own separate load in parallel with the voice coil, the AC current through the shunt cap never passes through the speaker voice coil. This makes consumers freak out because they think their beloved signal is going to be tainted by the electrolytic cap there when it's just poor advice and the people telling you this do not understand how AC circuits function. For series capacitors like for the tweeter, with modern speakers you can get very inexpensive polypropylene which have the lowest losses and as close to a "perfect" cap compared to other dielectrics, for vintage type speakers polyester can fit the original form and function well, going polypropylene may or may not be too perfect and people have reported a boost in high frequencies. BUT, for the most part any film cap will work very well. You do not need $300 copper foil and beeswax capacitors nor should you actually want them, their size is actually a curse and they end up being more noisy vs a smaller quality film capacitor.

These people putting out bad information is to drum up business. Since they do not have a deep understanding of passive filter designs or even remotely how AC current functions they just swap parts as "upgrades" without any before and after testing.

For people that know, the only time a series capacitor is really "in the circuit" where it's going to induce phase shift and possible distortion is going to be at crossover frequency, phase shift starts there and as frequency drops the capacitor impedance increases and the shunt inductor (if it's a steeper filter/ higher order filter) impedance decreases, this is where we are attenuating the low frequencies anyway so any defects from the capacitor is not important. Where the capacitor impedance is low and it's essentially a wire, is above the crossover frequency, the capacitor isn't doing anything and it has zero effect on the signal.

Capacitors in crossover networks are grossly exaggerated.

Same with people that think you need thick wire for the short runs inside the speaker enclosure. That's just silly, good old decent copper preferably tinned is just fine, 18 awg and stranded.
 
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ta240

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Oh.
Speaking of R200s/Polk Reserve Series and XO upgrades...


before:

xj0r5jtc6iaq.jpg


after (or perhaps during):

t03mrmfprung.jpg

Doesn’t changing things like inductor style and capacitors alter the overall resistance of the circuit and thus the functioning of the crossover?
 

ta240

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Stop believing bullshit videos.
It was bad enough that the owner of the video can delete any comments that questioned their claims but now we don’t even get to see downvotes to get a rough guess of how many people disagree with them. So if 5e person sounds convincing it is taken as fact.
 
OP
R

Roy_L

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Alright, allow me to put things into perspective, because I see that most comments here assume I'm a noob and don't really answer my question. I'm not. It's a 20 year old hobby, while 3 years out of which were spent in hifi retail, in which I developed a healthy amount of skepticism (and wasn't great at my job as a result). Also, I'm well aware that GR is very unreliable (much like the annoying hack from ps audio). It doesn't take a genious to understand that he has a clear intetest (selling his kits), and that he's a snake oil guy (putting out videos with rediculous claims about iec cables etc.). However, this doesn't mean that he's wrong about the use of penny components, and it doesn't mean this guy is the my only source of information.

So, in short, for my money, I want speakers built with more than the bare minimum. Why? Because I'm not just buying sound (I know, outragious) I'm also buying an expensive product, and an expensive product, in my book, has to be made of more than the bare minimum. In light of this, can anyone please provide some recommendations? Or perhaps what I'm looking for just isn't there?

P.s., The Polks are great, but I've owned better speakers before, especially Dynaudio comes to mind. I therefore consider to have a look at the Contour 20i, but they're over my budget. Also, I'm not sure they're not using minimal components just as other brands do.
 
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Chrispy

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Why not just build your own? That way you can use whatever component you want for the spec....

I doubt there's much off with the Revel builds in any case.....why do you think so?
 
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Roy_L

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Why not just build your own? That way you can use whatever component you want for the spec....

I doubt there's much off with the Revel builds in any case.....why do you think so?
DIY is just not for everyone. I prefer a product made by someone who actually knows what they're doing.
I'm also aware that the Revels measure great and are generally well built, but the crossover being made from penny parts is simply a fact (that may not have any relevance to the sound, but that's not my point).
 

Jim Taylor

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...... an expensive product, in my book, has to be made of more than the bare minimum.

1) There is no "bare minimum". Something either works or it doesn't. Electronics and electricity don't care about a person's "book."

..... the crossover being made from penny parts is simply a fact (that may not have any relevance to the sound, but that's not my point).

You are correct; it has no relevance to the sound, and that's the manufacturer's point.

What you're doing is applying standards that have absolutely no relevance to the matter at hand. That sort of mis-application is why snake oil continues to thrive.

You are enabling your own worst enemy.
 
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