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Who would buy a speaker without listening to it?

Would you buy a speaker without first listening to it?

  • Yes, but only if I had no way to audition it

  • Yes, if I trust the reviews and measurements

  • Yes, if it were inexpensive or could be returned

  • No


Results are only viewable after voting.

RayDunzl

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mikewxyz

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I bought a used pair of Sonus Faber Auditor M’s unheard from Audiogon. I did triangulate measurements and subjective reviews to get a good idea of what they would sound like before hand. In retrospect, the reviews were correct.

Every part of my system (CD player, pre-amp, amp, speakers, cables) was bought without listening to the individual component anywhere let alone in my system. I’m very satisfied with the end results. I guess guys like Tom Nousaine and Alan Shaw (Harbeth) with their blind amplifier tests/ challenge influenced me.

Lastly, my daughter just bought the Ascend Acoustic Sierra LX speakers based on my recommendation based on ASR’s recommendation. I’ll hear them next week when I get to Boston. I’m sure they will be great. If not, she’ll send them back.
 

Philbo King

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I doubt there is a hifi store within 300 miles of where I live. (No, Best Buy does not count).

I bought most of my stuff, used, from private parties, and I always verified it worked first.

The stuff I bought new I always got it from a full service (i.e., good return policy). For the new gear, it was mostly from sweetwater.com or musiciansfriend.com (I never buy consumer grade gear).
 

Teeter

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I buy based on internet/website reviews + any measurements. And my budget. I watch MOVIES and TV programs. The center channel is most important with close specs to the mains, for me. The Denon AVR auto speaker calibration, has my 5 speakers matched very well, in my 5.1HT.
 

JktHifi

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It will destroy the credibility of the individual or community who do the review and measurement. I don’t think it will happen.
 

Overseas

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Never listened to any equipment I bought. Triangle Australe EZ, Yamaha AS1100, QA 3050i, RN803D, Rotel A11 Tribute, Wharfedale Diamond 9.1, Mission QX1 and so on...
 

Spkrdctr

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Wait, what? People are actually listening to their audio equipment? I just buy it and let it sit there so I can look at it and feel superior to others knowing that only the best snake oil is for me. Maybe I will actually turn it all on soon........LOL
 

Mart68

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Wait, what? People are actually listening to their audio equipment? I just buy it and let it sit there so I can look at it and feel superior to others knowing that only the best snake oil is for me. Maybe I will actually turn it all on soon........LOL
when I was a penniless teenager I dreamed of having big kick-ass speakers and a whole rack of fancy audio equipment.

Now I have that I find it strangely comforting just to have it in the room , even if I'm not actually using it at the time. Perhaps because it is at least one youthful dream that actually came true, I don't know.
 

onion

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Only time I auditioned before buying was a shoot-out between The Ones, Steinway-Lyngdorf and Kii in my music room. I'm very glad I did as the Ones won out, and I'd have probably gone for the more expensive S-L speakers if I hadn't auditioned.
 

Benedium

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Of course if there are no measurements, at least go listen?
 

TonyJZX

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yeah i have... eg. I bought a set of JBL speakers with the knowledge I already own a set I like, listened to a few in their range in the shops and I knew what to expect...


eg. would I buy a Ford Mustang V8 manual without driving it? yeah I would... I know what to expect, I know what to forgive, I know what its going to do good and what its going to do bad.

I would also caution listening to a set of speakers in a controlled shop environment where they run it thru an amp you dont have with a room that isnt your room... i mean its better than nothing but its not ideal either... ALSO you have some psychological 'pressure' in that you *should* find new expensive nice branded equipment to give you that "new item" feel and buzz...

another example... i'm sure if I was demo'ed a McIntosh amp and I see the blue VU meters and the whole thing is in a relaxed airconditioned room with Sonus Fabers and I'm enjoying canapes and a nice chardonnay then its going to be a good experience...
 

Mart68

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Of course if there are no measurements, at least go listen?
if there's no measurements that makes me suspicious right away.

Did they design without measuring -AKA 'designed by ear'? - if so probably not worth the time and trouble to go and listen.

If not then there must be measurements but they are not publishing them. Why would they not do that? Because the speaker measures poorly? I can't think of another reason.

It's interesting that at least some boutique 'by ear' designers are happy to send their speaker to Stereophile even though they know it will be measured. Either they don't think it will measure like a dog's dinner, or they figure that the target market for their speaker will only read the poetry side of the review and skip the graphs.
 

jim1274

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The 11.8% that would only buy after an audition was an interesting statistic, not surprising though. I can’t recall the last time a speaker was purchased after an audition—I think 1984. (I take that back—I bought 2 pairs of Energy 22 Ref Conn used in the 90’s because could not afford after audition in 1984 if that qualifies). I live near Chicago, so there were a number of options back in the day. Back then, It was a regular men’s outing to hit a half dozen or so places, usually working from a prospect list culled from the pages of “The Sensible Sound” magazine, the closest thing then to ASR in pre-internet days.

I bought a pair of BMR monitors solely based on this forum.

I also bought 2 pairs of Duevel Omnis in the last year, the biggest crap shoot ever with so little coverage, almost no mention here on ASR, plus no return option. Most internet direct sellers offer a money back if you don’t like them.

I’m not sure what is left even in Chicago that are like joints back in the day—probably should find out. I have purchased a number of things shipped to me without audition (but no speakers) from Saturday Audio Exchange in Chicago which is an old school style joint, but can’t even recall if that was on the audio boutique map back in 1984.
 

Mart68

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I’m not sure what is left even in Chicago that are like joints back in the day—probably should find out. I have purchased a number of things shipped to me without audition (but no speakers) from Saturday Audio Exchange in Chicago which is an old school style joint, but can’t even recall if that was on the audio boutique map back in 1984.
Opened in 1982 - according to the internet - but was originally only open on Saturday (hence the name) and a for a few hours on Thursdays.
 

EJ3

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I answered No because it could be the best sounding speaker in the universe but if it doesn't fit in aesthetically & dimensionally, then a somewhat lesser speaker will have to be the answer.
So, neutral sound is the single most important function but form, color, etc. can combine to negate function.
Picture and dimensions help but, in the end, I would have to drive or fly somewhere to see it (since Charleston, SC no longer has any any audio gear stores [we used to have a handful of very good ones that would allow you to borrow gear to check it out, etc.] {they would say, why don't you take this home & bring it back in 2 weeks if it doesn't meet your expectations} and there was an active audio video club that members would go to others homes & check systems out a9and sometimes lend each other gear).I do not count places like Best Buy & other big box stores.
An Example: Most (if not all) of the B&O speakers that I have seen that are newer that the BEO5 would never be in my home even if their sound was perfect.
But, like all things, that is subject to possibly change.
On the other hand, I will drive 100 miles for GREAT BBQ, so I would travel to go check out a speaker that I was truly interested in.
 

groovybassist

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I’ve bought and enjoyed a number of speakers without listening to them in advance (KEF LS50 Meta and LSX II, PSB Synchrony B600, Philharmonic Audio BMR HT Towers). I felt confident doing so due to objective measurements published on sites like ASR and Audioholics. Funny thing is, all of these “sound unheard” speakers sound very good in room and were easier to get good sound from vs things I listened to in advance. Having been a subjectivist audiophile in the past, my experience with objectivist oriented designs has made it very clear to me personally how much the brain messes with you when subjectively evaluating gear. I now have all objectively excellent measuring pieces in my system and it’s never sounded better!
 

steve59

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I selected no, but in reality if I can get A pair used and cheap enough to resell without loss I'll give them a try. Speakers aren't the only variable and while I'm fairly confident I have the right electronics to make any speaker sing, my room's still a variable that's going to affect bass, so home demo's are necessary for me.
 
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