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What is the worst speaker you've ever heard?

Blumlein 88

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Meh, still didn't mean much in my various on hand amps/receivers over the years.....if you perceive some advantage in one or another, great, just seems largely a waste of time/effort.
Depends upon your speakers I think. Some speakers have needs so that amp selection takes some care and even listening to them. Some don't. Most people probably just go for big power and figure it will cover any sins.
 

Chrispy

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Depends upon your speakers I think. Some speakers have needs so that amp selection takes some care and even listening to them. Some don't. Most people probably just go for big power and figure it will cover any sins.
Perhaps, but think using such odd needs speakers is just generally a poor direction to encourage good designs with too....but mostly have not needed such odd requirements of amps as poorly designed speakers.
 

Dennis Murphy

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Heard a lot of absolutely shocking speakers, but the standout headscratcher to me was/is the Auratone cubes that somehow became 'legendary' in studios. Sure, I know their nickname (horrortones) and their raison d'etre, but they are so bad they nearly made me vomit.

These terrors are also up there:
View attachment 230493
I tried to give them away, but nobody would take them. Enough to put you off HiFi for life. Now they are used as sacrificial speakers for intermittent fault amplifier testing. I was able to give away the tower version to my Dad. He uses them as pedestal stands for bookshelf speakers.
Now really. The tweeter kind of sucked, but overall it was a better speaker than the BS22 that garnered so much praise. What was your major gripe about the 21?
 

restorer-john

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Now really. The tweeter kind of sucked, but overall it was a better speaker than the BS22 that garnered so much praise. What was your major gripe about the 21?

I’ll hook them up tonight and remind myself. Got a good dozen other small 2 ways to compare, but not worth making a mess and wiring the comparator, so it’ll be A/B.
 

solderdude

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The Auratones were/are a tool for the sound engineer to get a feel as to how the mix sounds on a portable radio.
They are not intended as a monitor to mix on, just to check how a mix could sound on a crappy speaker.
 

jtgofish

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JBL Century L100.A tweeter that sounds like an arc welder and no crossover on the 12 inch woofer.Nasty and coarse sounding and yet some people seem to love them-with them placed upside down on the floor!Maybe getting the tweeter as far away from your ear was the reason for that.
 

Blumlein 88

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Here is a response measure of Auratones. From this paper about studio monitors. They measure 36 studio monitors. Why wouldn't you use the Auratone?:facepalm:


1663047985772.png

Some claim it let you only hear the midrange and if you got it right the rest would be okay. I've wondered why in an industry that does all kinds of processing especially EQ why they wouldn't use their best monitors and have a standard EQ setting to roll off the lows and highs for concentrating on the midrange. We've all likely heard music that was altered so it sounded good on the miserable speaker response above this paragraph. What the artists intended.....right?

 
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thewas

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The Auratones were/are a tool for the sound engineer to get a feel as to how the mix sounds on a portable radio.
They are not intended as a monitor to mix on, just to check how a mix could sound on a crappy speaker.
Yes, they where used to emulate the typical full band driver kitchen and car audio systems of the 70-80s.
 

PatentLawyer

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I am assuming the spirit of this question is what is the worst speaker you've heard, that should have been good. So, I'm not including computer accessories, built in speakers in clock-radios, etc. :)

So, the worst for me was a pair of B&W towers (exact model I don't recall; picture of something close pasted below)....they had the yellow kevlar midrange without any visible surround. Now, while the demo occurred at Magnolia and so I'm sure conditions were imperfect, the salesman played Adele. And because my wife loves Adele and I heard that same track 100s of times on my own system, I had a good sense for that recording. There was an unmistakable ringing in her voice--like a resonance or vibrato that was not supposed to be there--that drove me insane. It wasn't the room because other speakers did not show it. To this day, I cannot look at a yellow-coned B&W without cringing.

2020-07-0910.47.08_1600x.jpg
 

ferrellms

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We talk about the best speakers all the time. What are the worst you've heard and what made them so bad?

Ed.: I thought I wouldn't need to mention multimedia or PC speakers were probably always going to be terrible so I didn't mention them, but yeah, disregarding those...

For me, two speakers stand out as infuriatingly terrible.

1. Barefoot MM27 Gen 1. Huge presence peak so very harsh sounding (they give a false sense of detail and precision from it), very scooped, messy uncontrolled low end. Also run out of headroom surprisingly fast for how much amp they have.

2. PMC 8-2. Boomy low end, muddled midrange, very very bright.
The worst? The tiny loudspeaker in Talking Barbie.
 

thewas

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I am assuming the spirit of this question is what is the worst speaker you've heard, that should have been good. So, I'm not including computer accessories, built in speakers in clock-radios, etc. :)

So, the worst for me was a pair of B&W towers (exact model I don't recall; picture of something close pasted below)....they had the yellow kevlar midrange without any visible surround. Now, while the demo occurred at Magnolia and so I'm sure conditions were imperfect, the salesman played Adele. And because my wife loves Adele and I heard that same track 100s of times on my own system, I had a good sense for that recording. There was an unmistakable ringing in her voice--like a resonance or vibrato that was not supposed to be there--that drove me insane. It wasn't the room because other speakers did not show it. To this day, I cannot look at a yellow-coned B&W without cringing.

2020-07-0910.47.08_1600x.jpg
This should be the B&W CM8, here are measurements of the CM8 S2 which had mainly cosmetic changes like non visible screws on the alu rings:

1663080632407.png

Source: https://www.bwgroup.ch/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/BW-CM8-S2-Test-Audio-12-2016.pdf

000778-0.jpg

Source: https://www.stereo.de/hifi-test/produkt/bw-cm8-s2-778
 

PatentLawyer

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Thanks @thewas ! There sure are response aberrations in the midrange; out of idle curiosity, I wonder if there is more to it, though.
 

Schollaudio

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JBL Century L100.A tweeter that sounds like an arc welder and no crossover on the 12 inch woofer.Nasty and coarse sounding and yet some people seem to love them-with them placed upside down on the floor!Maybe getting the tweeter as far away from your ear was the reason for that.
The woofer is very good but misused in that system. Maybe the mids are OK if used properly but the tweeter is crap by today's standards. The whole integration is that of a high school kid. I used the 123A in 3.5 cubic foot BR with very good results. Add a well thought-out and tested crossover with better tweeter and that would have been a good system.
 

Sbrtoy

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I'll discount many rough DIY ones I've heard, but for actual brand names I would say I have too many to list but here's a few:

B&W CDM7NT- I actually owned these, bought on a recommendation unable to demo...spent a year plus trying to make them sound passable and finally gave up. No real bass, weird cabinet diffraction issues, poor imaging and very very bright.
Zu Druid- I've made better sounding DIY single driver TLs for less than $100. Nuff said
McIntosh XRT28- These were at RMAF a year I exhibited and wow they were awful...too big for the room but even so not sure what the goal was with these as everything sounded off.
Devialet Phantom- cool to look at and watch the sci fi woofer flop around, sound overall was really bad.

The worst really though are the chameleons, stuff like big horns with SET amps playing just the right jazz tune. In one specific spot snuggled in with that magic track they sound good, then move your head or play anything else and it all falls apart. I'm sure many people have dropped 6 figures on a demo of these to then have huge regret when they realize that was the only track they could play...
 

Gringoaudio1

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Bose 901. Look very cool and 1960s but awful muddy sound. In two homes and got elbowed by two ex-wives to stop talking about my DIY speakers sounding great and offering tips if they wanted to improve their sound. Both parties oblivious to how craptacular their sound was though.
Thread should have been restricted to so-called hifi speakers. Nobody expects good sound from cheap car factory audio etc.
 

komhst

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We talk about the best speakers all the time. What are the worst you've heard and what made them so bad?

By far, the worst speaker I've ever heard was Rehdeko. No treble, no bass, just mids like an old AM radio from 60's

rehdeko-rk-145-a-b-high-end-lautsprecher.jpg
 

sq225917

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Some clown speakers some guy was trying to Brington market in the UK. Crossovers designed by ear, random drive unit choice, just kin awful
 

fitero

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The shop I worked at sold Dynaudio, B&W, PMC, McIntosh, and for a short time Anthony Gallo speakers. I hated the Gallo speakers, followed closely by whatever McIntosh speaker that was forced on us by the distributor. I never bought any speakers there, even though I could get them for employee discount.
 
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