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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.

FdF

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Nov 19, 2023
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The room is so important.

Only way to properly evaluate is to audition in your room. For me, that means purchase and audition at my pace and time.

If good stays and previous speakers sold, vice versa if not good.

Not comfortable with home audition as limited time and guilt of dealer not getting a sale if dont proceed.
 

Leporello

Senior Member
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Oct 27, 2019
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Speakers in a normal room will always be a huge compromise. I purchased a pair of small Genelecs without listening because of their reputation. Placebo took care of the rest. Happy now.
 

jim1274

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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.

Then I almost surely visited in 1984. (They still are only open for very limited hours). We visited about every audio joint in Chicago until interrupted by “Lincoln Park Pirates”, ironically at the place who had the Energy 22 Reference speakers, ones I eventually bought years later used.

If there are any other old guys out there from the Chicago area, anybody ever visit “The Golden Ear”, I think in Beverly neighborhood—maybe Western Avenue. There was no place I’ve ever been like there, in a good way, a kinda dive joint in a rundown area, owned by a true mad scientist. I only went there because he was the closest (maybe only) Superphon dealer, ending up buying a whole system and returning several times with friends who did the same. How many places were there around, thst after you stop and hang around a bit, the owner says “if we are going to sit and BS, don’t you think we need a few brews?” Didn’t need to ask me twice, and there was a liquor store in the same block, so we were shortly sitting on an old beaten up couch in the back, drinking beer and listening to some Wilson Audio WAMMS. They were buried in his shop, not really even on display. I think those were well north of $30k, in a store that 90% of what he sold was under a grand. I was baffled why they were literally hidden and he said something like nobody will ever by them at my dive, but Wilson Audio insisted I have the flagship in my store, so I put in back with a couch and enjoy them in my workshop or with special customers thoughtful enough to bring beers. I’d give anything to have photos of that place, but a long time before cameras in a cell phone.
 

goldark

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I prefer to have Klippel data before purchasing and most of my speakers do have that data (KEF, Revel, and Ascend speakers). I bought the JBL Studio 570 without auditioning and without data on the strength of the Studio 530 review and the fact that it was Greg Timbers' favorite speaker out of the Studio 500 line. I have not been disappointed.
 

Robin L

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I realize that I did - bought all five of the Infinity Primus series speakers (360, 250 and the matching center channel) sound unheard. However, they were at a thrift store and all five went for $80. Probably the best single audio purchase I've made. The reviews I've read pointed out how the midrange of these speakers is exceptional, and it is. My stepson has the 360s in his den/TV room, I've got the 250s for my stereo.
 

sq225917

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Jun 23, 2019
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Speakers are the only item of hifi I'd have to hear at home, or have heard many times in rooms I know
 

Holmz

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The room is so important.

Only way to properly evaluate is to audition in your room. For me, that means purchase and audition at my pace and time.

If good stays and previous speakers sold, vice versa if not good.

Not comfortable with home audition as limited time and guilt of dealer not getting a sale if dont proceed.

So is it like buying a piano?
 

Platypus20

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Yep, bought a set of KEF R3 Metas, without listening to them. I’d read reviews and have a couple of friends have them and rave. The only music the guy wanted or was willing to play was Hotel California, and as I did not want to have clean up puke, I resisted, to say I hate the album/song is an understatement.
 

ahofer

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Yep, bought a set of KEF R3 Metas, without listening to them. I’d read reviews and have a couple of friends have them and rave. The only music the guy wanted or was willing to play was Hotel California, and as I did not want to have clean up puke, I resisted, to say I hate the album/song is an understatement.
I’m with you on that. Never liked the song so much, but its associations were cemented when I saw the Eagles at the Yale Bowl in summer of 1981. It was 102 degrees (F) and the guy next to me puked something pink during…Hotel California.
 

Platypus20

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I’m with you on that. Never liked the song so much, but its associations were cemented when I saw the Eagles at the Yale Bowl in summer of 1981. It was 102 degrees (F) and the guy next to me puked something pink during…Hotel California.
I worked on construction sites, installing and starting up industrial boilers, over the many years, Pink Floyd’s The Wall, Hotel California and The Doors, were played non stop, can’t stand any of them anymore.

I bought the speakers, but not from him, bought them on line from Amazon, for less money.
 

benanders

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Nov 12, 2022
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Back when I bought my first pair of current speakers (sound unheard, but familiar with other [similar] models from the designer) there were no measurements available.
Probably a good thing; subsequent measurements put online for the model I got weren’t ideal.
Whether or not I am still using the same speakers because (1) the measurements don’t tell enough about real-world performance to apply to what I like (i.e. I could be an outlier…), or (2) I’ve snuggled into a sense of Stockhearing’s Syndrome, is irrelevant to me. The speakers sound as I prefer, and it makes me wonder that, while knowledgeably viewing measurements before hearing a speaker is a relatively objective approach logistcally, that order-of-operations will (potentially; likely) skew [first time] listener bias to an extreme.
I always wish the speaker reviews on ASR made listening impressions first - it would be more informative in a real world way.
 

Short38

Active Member
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Mar 9, 2023
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Bought Dynaudio Special 40s unheard based on a pile of reviews. Lovely speakers in red. Probably should have kept and added a sub woofer or two. Decided I needed more bass and bought Paradigm Founder 80s unheard based on one subjectivist review. Lovely speakers, keepers. Good bottom end. No dealers of note in central Virginia with an actual listening room. A couple of dealers with jumbles of speakers in cramped quarters. Speakers are a crap shoot. Were I starting over I’d go with actives recommended by Amir.
 

Holmz

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Definitely not like buying a piano
That is kind of the point…
The piano should sound like a piano.

It will sound like a piano is crappy room, or a piano in a great room… but it will sound like a piano.

Why would I want to spice the piano to account for the room?

I can see some counter point argument for wide spatial dispersion or narrow, given a bright tile walled room, etc… But the speaker should be able to make a piano track sound like a piano in a good or bad room.
 

Justdafactsmaam

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That is kind of the point…
The piano should sound like a piano.

It will sound like a piano is crappy room, or a piano in a great room… but it will sound like a piano.

Why would I want to spice the piano to account for the room?

I can see some counter point argument for wide spatial dispersion or narrow, given a bright tile walled room, etc… But the speaker should be able to make a piano track sound like a piano in a good or bad room.
There is a lot to consider when buying a piano. Sound is just one thing. I can’t speak on other brands but buying a Steinway requires a substantial audition. Each Steinway is a unique piano with its own personality.

It’s about sound, it’s about anticipating how the sound will change over time and it’s about playability. And consideration for the space the piano will occupy.

I don’t know anything about spicing pianos but you definitely want pick a piano to sound good in the room it will be used. Otherwise you just paid a lot of money for bad sound.
 

Haflermichi

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Jul 22, 2020
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Sonoma, California
I bought a pair of used Hales Revelation Three un-auditioned based on reviews (yes, unfortunately Stereophile) but also recommendation from a trusted friend who owned a pair and whom has similar musical taste. The Veneer was beat up and the grill-socks were completely missing.
However.
1. The seller was a business owner who runs a High End AV install business and turns around traded in equipment.
2. He tested them in his shop to verify all drivers were working.
3. The price was $350 (!for the pair!)
4. He delivered them for free...in a WHITE VAN (!!!)
I ended up re-veneering them and they have purred away in my system for years now.
 

srrxr71

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That is kind of the point…
The piano should sound like a piano.

It will sound like a piano is crappy room, or a piano in a great room… but it will sound like a piano.

Why would I want to spice the piano to account for the room?

I can see some counter point argument for wide spatial dispersion or narrow, given a bright tile walled room, etc… But the speaker should be able to make a piano track sound like a piano in a good or bad room.
This is tough. Unless the next development in electro acoustics is using strings to play music. The entire physical situation is different with a piano and an electro acoustic transducer.
 

ahofer

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That is kind of the point…
The piano should sound like a piano.

It will sound like a piano is crappy room, or a piano in a great room… but it will sound like a piano.

Why would I want to spice the piano to account for the room?

I can see some counter point argument for wide spatial dispersion or narrow, given a bright tile walled room, etc… But the speaker should be able to make a piano track sound like a piano in a good or bad room.
Unlike a recording, though, an instrument sound doesn’t come with another room‘s sound around it.
 

ahofer

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Back when I bought my first pair of current speakers (sound unheard, but familiar with other [similar] models from the designer) there were no measurements available.
Probably a good thing; subsequent measurements put online for the model I got weren’t ideal.
Whether or not I am still using the same speakers because (1) the measurements don’t tell enough about real-world performance to apply to what I like (i.e. I could be an outlier…), or (2) I’ve snuggled into a sense of Stockhearing’s Syndrome, is irrelevant to me. The speakers sound as I prefer, and it makes me wonder that, while knowledgeably viewing measurements before hearing a speaker is a relatively objective approach logistcally, that order-of-operations will (potentially; likely) skew [first time] listener bias to an extreme.
I always wish the speaker reviews on ASR made listening impressions first - it would be more informative in a real world way.
Certainly acclimation happens, but speaker listening is always affected by the listening room. Using measurements to increase your chances of a satisfactory outcome only makes sense.
 
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