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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.

JSmith

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I am actually surprised to see how many of us purchase without listening first.
Well I think it comes down to the circumstances and brand as well. I would buy without listening if they measured exceptionally well on the Klippel or an anechoic chamber, but only if I couldn't audition them. Preference would be to audition and that audition would be best in the room they're destined for, but at the very least at a hi-fi store.

That said, some speakers are not available online or via chain stores, rather from specific hi-fi stores or even direct from a boutique manufacturer.

I wouldn't consider any speaker that I had not seen independent and trustworthy measurements for.


JSmith
 

GDK

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I actually don't think I have ever auditioned a speaker before buying it, but that may have more to do with my discomfort with being trapped in an listening room and making small talk with a salesperson for more than two minutes.
 

Blumlein 88

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Back years ago, I purchased everything 2nd hand. I made sure it had a good rep, and I got a good price. Try it, and if needed, I could sell it for a slight profit, or break even or a minor loss. I was about 50% on that method, but the cost wasn't bad. Mostly for speakers I purchased those after hearing some, and being impressed. I did buy some without hearing them and somehow those were very good imo, except for one purchase. Again however, 2nd hand purchase and not a lot of risk. If it was not to my liking I resold it. A bother to ship in and out, but I got to live with them and decide at my leisure.

More recent purchases the past decade were a combination of good measurements and a good rep by reviews. 100% happy with them. Now that is within context. I don't expect a pair of monitor speakers at less than $300 for the pair to be the ultimate. They were more than fit for purpose and far better than I expected. My most recent purchase of Revel F208s maybe the best bargain.

It is about time speaker measures were good enough to use for purchasing. Like DACs and amp and such. There is still enough variability it is good to hear the speakers first, but it isn't nearly the issue it once was.
 

PeterW

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I have seen this question come up a few times. I think things have changed over the last 20 years in terms of the quality and quantity of information we now have access to. Does that change anyone's view?

I would never have considered doing this 20 years ago, a few of my recent purchases have been based on trusted reviews (which included music listening) and measurements.
I did, I bought a pair of Z Soul Supremes, a disater, than bought Yamaha NS1000, quite pleased with those until the next ones.
 

frabor

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All the new gear I have I bought without listening to it. Just bought a pair of Polk's based on measurements and a river site discount sale, it's a way to maximize resources. Chosing something with similar quality and size on the listening rooms I have around would have been twice as expensive. I am happy 90 percent with my purchase, dislike the efficiency but a listening room would have made no difference.
 

Bleib

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Purchased Ino Audio piPcrt without listening to them at first. Didn't regret it.
 

kaopad999

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Yes, i would buy without auditioning, providing that there are independent objective measurements available.
biggest buying mistake I made was buying based off subjective reviews alone.
Subjecte reviews are fine, providing that they somewhat align with the messuremnts.
 

kaopad999

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Back years ago, I purchased everything 2nd hand. I made sure it had a good rep, and I got a good price. Try it, and if needed, I could sell it for a slight profit, or break even or a minor loss.
This is exactly how i buy speakers now if there isn't any or objective data and measurements on them.
There is no real loss for the most part and can be quite a lot of fun :)
 

Bleib

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This is exactly how i buy speakers now if there isn't any or objective data and measurements on them.
There is no real loss for the most part and can be quite a lot of fun :)
I did this 2020-2022 when covid put some life-restrictions in place
 

Mart68

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Auditioning at the dealers has two problems as I see it. Firstly, his room is likely very different. Secondly, there is unlikely to be enough demo time to listen to sufficient programme to be sure that there are no recordings that will show up the speakers' fatal flaw (if it has one).

I buy based on independent measurements but usually only when the speaker is heavily discounted or being sold used at a price where I could in theory move it on with little or no loss.

I don't do final judgement until I have had the speakers for months and listened to the majority of my collection of recordings on them. If nothing bad has shown up by then, they get a pass.

I have occasionally bought speakers where no independent measurements exist, just because the design interests me, or because I have always wanted to try them. But always second hand and never for more than a couple of hundred pounds.
 

valerianf

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Long time ago when listening room were available, I was staying long time comparing different speakers.
Nowadays it is not more possible alas.
Also I am buying speakers that technically fit my will, but always at low price.
If I am not satisfied by them, or I buy a new different one, or I modify the speaker to get the sound that I want.
 

kaopad999

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I actually don't think I have ever auditioned a speaker before buying it, but that may have more to do with my discomfort with being trapped in an listening room and making small talk with a salesperson for more than two minutes.
Yeah, i know what you mean. lol
also, i think expectation bias is more likely to occur in such environments when you have a salesman trying to convince you of a particular product.
Still, the main issue for me is that the listening room is going to be very different than my own home.
 

Paolo

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I have seen this question come up a few times. I think things have changed over the last 20 years in terms of the quality and quantity of information we now have access to. Does that change anyone's view?

I would never have considered doing this 20 years ago, a few of my recent purchases have been based on trusted reviews (which included music listening) and measurements.
There is no “Yes.” option in the poll. And that would be my choice.
I see no point in auditioning something in conditions i can’t replicate at home. Now, if I had to spend the price of a car I may feel a bit uncomfortable… but this is not a pressing problem right now :)
 

vicenzo_del_paris

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I never purchased devices and speakers based on online/magazines reviews that did not provide any detailed measurements (except once and it ended up being a bad choice).
I did buy stuff that did not have stellar measurements but had ok specs and very featured and handy (e.g. streamer)
For speakers, most of the time, small imperfections can be addressed with DSP, which also helps with room interactions.
I don't really trust auditioning at a dealer's shop place as in the end, it will always sound different in our rooms.
For amplifiers, measurement tells me if manufacturers meet it's specs or if there is anything wrong with the implementation.
 

DSJR

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Just my take here. Since most domestic listening rooms are total shite in so many ways and speakers, even good measuring ones, have differing dispersion characteristics, I'd suggest at the very least a quick dem if possible compared to what you've had before (was easier here as dealer-distances were smaller) followed if there's any doubt by a period at home to confirm the choice was the right one.

To me still, it's a massive gamble if you buy totally blind on Klippel results and just plonk them down (not all of us out here use computer based digital only sources and would be competent with a UMIK and REW, sorry. Maybe I'm talking to the wrong crowd in this and I apologise if so.
 

Mart68

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Just my take here. Since most domestic listening rooms are total shite in so many ways and speakers, even good measuring ones, have differing dispersion characteristics, I'd suggest at the very least a quick dem if possible compared to what you've had before (was easier here as dealer-distances were smaller) followed if there's any doubt by a period at home to confirm the choice was the right one.

To me still, it's a massive gamble if you buy totally blind on Klippel results and just plonk them down (not all of us out here use computer based digital only sources and would be competent with a UMIK and REW, sorry. Maybe I'm talking to the wrong crowd in this and I apologise if so.
I think the best a dealer demo will tell you is that the speaker is not a piece of junk. Or that it is a piece of junk.

I think the opposite to you, that buying totally blind is a massive gamble, buying based on a dealer demo is a big gamble, and that buying based on a full suite of Klippel measurements is actually the lowest risk approach.
 

vicenzo_del_paris

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I think that the combination of knowing your own flaws as a listener + well measuring speakers + well implemented DSP is far less a gamble that relying on impressions from subjective demo on a dealer's auditorium (kind of russian roulette).

I would never NOT use DSP for a hifi setup anymore.
In my case, I still use passive speakers and have no plans to go to active.
I rather prefer have a DSP box in the loop to correct (when correctable/attenuable) speaker response and room interactions.
 

tuga

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If you are not able to listen buy used and re-sell at little loss if it doesn;t meet the expectations.

Buying used will give you more sound-for-the-money and is less damaging to the environment too.
 
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