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Speaker recommendation in view of brand's cost cutting

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Roy_L

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I think I'm more a focused-sound kinda guy. I do move around, but the critical part of my brain is really up and running when I'm in the sweet spot.
 
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Roy_L

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It makes it easier with room treatments if the dispersion is not wide.
Absolutely. The main treatment I have is 2 thick acoustic panels on the back wall behind the listener's head. The difference there for the person sitting down, compared to anywhere else in the room, is the greatest.
 

Bob from Florida

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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.
I will take a shot at answering your original question. If I understand correctly, you are looking for a quality build with good quality crossover components. Reference 3A Dulcets or MM De Capos are 2 possible choices. Links show the “old” color which is now gloss piano black. The mid-woofer runs full range and the crossover is first order to the tweeter with a high quality film cap. They used Mundorf at one point but found a replacement of equal quality for less bucks. The only other components are a zobel network - also high quality components. You will need a subwoofer for bottom octave bass with both speakers if you want a full range system. The cabinet bracing and build finish are also first rate. I own a pair of their floor standers - Grand Veenas - and they are very satisfying. I also have heard both their monitor speakers on many occasions and properly set up with bass support can be outstanding.

 

fineMen

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You might want to consider cutting back on your consumption of Danny Richie videos! :)
Useless, I would advise to watch even more. Up to the point of over-saturation. Only pain makes the addictive think, not insight.

Why would a consumer think of "parts quality"?

The super-super-sonic SR-71 is made of titanium. But wait, my room's wall paint also, titanium dioxide. Anybody to accuse Lockheed to have chosen cheap parts? Fraud!
 
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Roy_L

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Why would a consumer think of "parts quality"?
Because he pays an arm and a leg, and expects the product to reflect that in every aspect. Like I've written above, some of us don't just buy a result. See my example regarding cars.
 

fineMen

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Because he pays an arm and a leg, and expects the product to reflect that in every aspect. Like I've written above, some of us don't just buy a result. See my example regarding cars.
Problem is, You do not know too much about the qualification of a "part". K.E.F.'s BBC speakers once had the cheapest "parts", but were held as a reference, literally.

What I understand from Your "car" example is the need to be blinded by irrelevant expenses (that You only then spend an arm and a leg for), brand-name voodoo like many audio-buffs, who, in my book, do not qualify by that. The car example is anyway mistaken, as what is under the hood can and shall be accessed, and the door thump is experienced during regular use.

If You want an example which fits better, ask for the shine of the pistons, or the color of the crank. To see the "quality parts" needs to dismantle, and by that defunct the speaker!

And again, I dare to say You do not know what quality is, actually.
 

Spkrdctr

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It all seems to go full circle. With no subwoofer you are looking at the BMR Bookshelves. they have it all, all the other recommendations are fairly good speakers but most lack bass and would need a sub. My opinion is to buy the BMR and let us know what you think. Most anyone who has owned them seems to say they are fantastic. What more do you want then fantastic? Plus, the finish on the cabinets is suppose to be top notch world class. They should meet all of your requirements. So, I'm saying BUY! I want to hear what you think of them.
 

Aerith Gainsborough

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Because he pays an arm and a leg, and expects the product to reflect that in every aspect.
So .. you want to pay more just ... to pay more?!

I mean you got two choices:
Speaker with El-Cheapo parts -> Absurd markup -> Retail price.
Speaker with Deluxe parts -> Even absurder markup -> Retail price.

No matter how you slice it, the absurd markup will see to it, that you NEVER get "your money's worth" in terms of part quality. You will always pay way, way more than the speaker would actually be worth in terms of materials, R&D and labor.
Loudspeaker manufacturers are in it to make a killing and rob you blind, if you let them. Simple as that.

There is only one objective way around this: Taking complete control yourself.
Design and build speakers yourself.
 

captainbeefheart

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But. If the OP just likes his stuff a little over engineered? That’s not a sin right?

Over engineered is completely different then what he is saying. I believe he has been tainted by seeing these stock crossover be stuffed with oversized boutique capacitors without any engineering talk, only subjective listening talk about wider sound stage, blacker backgrounds etc...

If the OP came into the conversation comparing voltage ratings, dielectric absorption (tan, loss angle), ripple current rating, lifespan, etc.... Or with the series inductor for the woofer DCR, maximum current rating before saturation etc.. then I would say he is looking to redo the networks with over engineered specs. This is why I was trying to get a specific example of a "bare minimum" part and what that means to him.

For example, let's take the shunt caps in the woofer network. We typically need large value of capacitance here, knowing it's not in the signal path and so losses are of no consequence nor distortion an aluminum electrolytic is the best choice even if it may need to be replaced in 50 years. I have seen people install a film cap here that actually ended up throwing a resonance smack dab in the audible range, 380Hz I believe it was. The ESR of the electrolytic that was there to begin with offered critical damping. The film cap ended up boosting frequencies around 380Hz. This is a prime example of someone thinking they are improving upon the network by adding a film capacitor when in fact they did more harm than good. Because of people like Danny that spreads myths like the woofer capacitor is in the signal path of the woofer when it's not. I can only cringe when Danny tries to explain theory to people.

Another example is if say you found at high signal levels the series inductor for the woofer is saturating and you can show this, then it would be advantageous to replace it with a better one. Or say if the inductor had a rather high DCR value which lowers damping factor and increases loss, then go ahead and find a better replacement.

These are all engineering discussions that have merit. But I truly believe he is just not seeing name brand boutique capacitors and makes the wrong assumption that they are not up to the task. The only way to know is do testing and take some measurements, read data sheets, etc....
 
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captainbeefheart

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Don't get me wrong, I can completely understand paying as much as these companies ask for speakers and for that price all you want it assurance the engineers aren't cutting corners, if they were then you would typically see it in the performance or in high failure rates of crossover parts early in life.

I have a rule with speakers and that's to purchase second hand. You save a ton of money and the speakers are already broken in for you. I don't see why so many people are against purchasing used speakers. A lot of times people are just gear slutz and swap gear for no reason other than it's a hobby, there is nothing wrong with used speakers so long as they were decently cared for.

We did a blind test with a group where one crossover board had ALL electrolytics including series elements that are in direct signal path. Those networks ended up with the most votes for best sound. Granted nobody could reliably select any particular type of capacitor and the all electrolytic board still fell under the percentage of no better than guessing but it did receive the most votes for best sound. We found this quite odd, we couldn't measure any distortion, there were slightly higher losses at high frequencies, I forget but it was a very small difference I would think would be not audible but people did say "smooth" a lot which must have been the only difference, slightly rolled off treble, like -.5db or somewhere around there at 20kHz. Because of the higher loss angle ESR increases with frequency in these caps but people must have preferred that sound, slightly. This may not be the same effect with all speaker types depending on how clean the tweeter is, lowering output may have smoothed out the harsh tweeter performance.

This harks back to the application of capacitors in series with the tweeter, frequencies we want to pass the cap is essentially a wire with very low impedance, at some point in frequency the ESR dominates the impedance which accounted for the slight loss in treble. Other than that where capacitors show their properties most is when the signal is across both terminals, I.e. at high impedance. This is going to be well below the crossover frequency so it's moot because those frequencies are attenuated anyway. Having a deep understanding of application substantially helps with assessment of the situation. People just see the capacitor in series and think it's analogous to water and a filter, where the cap is filtering water but that's not how it works, electrons are electrons and where impedance of the capacitor is low (these are frequencies of interest that pass through the tweeter) the AC current just passes right through it as if it's a wire.
 
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Roy_L

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Problem is, You do not know too much about the qualification of a "part". K.E.F.'s BBC speakers once had the cheapest "parts", but were held as a reference, literally.

What I understand from Your "car" example is the need to be blinded by irrelevant expenses (that You only then spend an arm and a leg for), brand-name voodoo like many audio-buffs, who, in my book, do not qualify by that. The car example is anyway mistaken, as what is under the hood can and shall be accessed, and the door thump is experienced during regular use.

If You want an example which fits better, ask for the shine of the pistons, or the color of the crank. To see the "quality parts" needs to dismantle, and by that defunct the speaker!

And again, I dare to say You do not know what quality is, actually.
This right here is exactly why I generally avoid forums.
 
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Roy_L

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It all seems to go full circle. With no subwoofer you are looking at the BMR Bookshelves. they have it all, all the other recommendations are fairly good speakers but most lack bass and would need a sub. My opinion is to buy the BMR and let us know what you think. Most anyone who has owned them seems to say they are fantastic. What more do you want then fantastic? Plus, the finish on the cabinets is suppose to be top notch world class. They should meet all of your requirements. So, I'm saying BUY! I want to hear what you think of them.
Thanks, more and more this seems to be the direction. Especially given that extra edge in the bass section over regular stand-sized speakers.
 

Aerith Gainsborough

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I don't see why so many people are against purchasing used speakers.
I prefer having 5 - 10 yrs of warranty over rolling the dice on used equipment. Especially when you cannot really tell how it has been treated by the previous owner, has already been repaired ect.
 

DMill

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I prefer having 5 - 10 yrs of warranty over rolling the dice on used equipment. Especially when you cannot really tell how it has been treated by the previous owner, has already been repaired ect.
It is funny how often the description of used equipment contains things like, only played for 20 hours despite being 15 years old. Or my favorite, it’s never been around smokers but there is a 2-inch gash in the MDF. :)
 

captainbeefheart

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I prefer having 5 - 10 yrs of warranty over rolling the dice on used equipment. Especially when you cannot really tell how it has been treated by the previous owner, has already been repaired ect.

Okay I should have been more clear. I only purchase used speakers locally, there is no rolling of the dice if you inspect them thoroughly. Inspect cabinet, make sure all drivers are working properly. If they are over 20 years old and contain electrolytic capacitors in the balance network I'll just replace them for fresh ones. Film caps pretty much last a lifetime easy unless damaged, it would be pretty obvious if something was not functional.

I've never purchased used speakers that were a waste of money, often it's the opposite where i sell them for more than i paid. I just picked up a pair of Klipsch Heresy's from 1975, the balance networks are pretty simple, a total of 6 polyester caps were replaced, two 13uF and four 2uF. Drivers were all in amazing condition and cabinets were almost perfect except for a small piece of veneer chipped off a corner about 1" easily fixable. Total cost $500 for great efficient speakers. I know some of the locals here turn their nose up at these types of speakers but I like them a lot, they just sound very good. I have plenty of friends with much more expensive speakers tell me my setup is one of the best in the group. I also have some 1982 La Scalas from Klipsch, 105db at 1 watt fully horn loaded 3 ways, they work very well in larger rooms and put you right in the concert hall.

PWK did pretty good for the tools he had to work with.
 

DMill

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Okay I should have been more clear. I only purchase used speakers locally, there is no rolling of the dice if you inspect them thoroughly. Inspect cabinet, make sure all drivers are working properly. If they are over 20 years old and contain electrolytic capacitors in the balance network I'll just replace them for fresh ones. Film caps pretty much last a lifetime easy unless damaged, it would be pretty obvious if something was not functional.

I've never purchased used speakers that were a waste of money, often it's the opposite where i sell them for more than i paid. I just picked up a pair of Klipsch Heresy's from 1975, the balance networks are pretty simple, a total of 6 polyester caps were replaced, two 13uF and four 2uF. Drivers were all in amazing condition and cabinets were almost perfect except for a small piece of veneer chipped off a corner about 1" easily fixable. Total cost $500 for great efficient speakers. I know some of the locals here turn their nose up at these types of speakers but I like them a lot, they just sound very good. I have plenty of friends with much more expensive speakers tell me my setup is one of the best in the group. I also have some 1982 La Scalas from Klipsch, 105db at 1 watt fully horn loaded 3 ways, they work very well in larger rooms and put you right in the concert hall.

PWK did pretty good for the tools he had to work with.
I agree if they are passive speakers. I have some 20 year old b&w speakers where the rubber ring around the woofer and mid started to get brittle. Needed a fix, did it myself. But for the most part repairs with passives are pretty simple and not overly expensive. Active speakers and electronics just have more that may go wrong. For amps with a cap upgrade I love to see a receipt If I buy used. But even cap upgrades aren’t too bad if you make friends with a tech at your local shop or have the DIY skills.
 
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