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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.

DSJR

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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.
Back in the day, many would bring their own speakers in for comparison, so even though the rooms are different, one could get a handle on the differences between them. We also offered (in all three of my main employments) a fourteen day return/exchange if they didn't suit. Furthermore, none of my colleagues then were commission led sharks eager for punters' money* and nothing else, as we had reputations (alright, egos) to preserve and in our little country, bad dealer reps travelled between the faithful as many prospective clients trawled the dealer base, tyre-kicking as they went - * The first store-chain got a bonus which was split equally between us but it was never much more than 10% of our pay packet and the other two were fixed salary.

- I witnessed this yesterday at a dealer event for an expensive but totally and utterly gorgeous in the flesh range of Japanese made audio gear (gold fronted with meters (plus digital readout) on the front - you can guess which). In discussion in general, I was told that a certain well known Scottish made turntable with newly introduced tonearm was bought and set up in east London, but the owner moved out here to the coast and wanted my local dealer salon to check it over after the move. The deck set-up was fine, but the (European made?) arm had a fault which apparently has affected a few of them and had to be replaced under warranty. The selling dealer should have quickly picked up on this when setting the deck up as the fault apparently is out of the box and not something that occurs later... Current tonearm examples seem fine now I was told.

So, if buying new and obviously, if we're talking passive domestic 'audiophile grade' speakers, a dealer's advice is essential I maintain! It's also part of the hobby experience, something I was patently reminded of yesterday after some time away - you do midlands and northern bakeoffs Mart, with a gaggle of like-minded older men talking and enthusing about their gear, often used if not DIY builds and sharing music nobody else has ever heard of as well as old classic albums from 'my' day. We don't have so many down this way I'm afraid!

Got to say that Erin, ASR and a few others who rigorously test speakers have been a boon to those of us interested in pro orientated speakers not always sold with dem facilities. It makes it a bit of a lonely experience though when you don't easily have face to face experience-sharing, but I'm going off the subject now. A return if the purchase doesn't work out is essential in that case.

My take is obviously from this overcrowded country's perspective of course. In the US, one may have to travel many hundreds of miles to find a dealer at all, in which case it's a totally different matter :)
 

Mart68

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B

So, if buying new and obviously, if we're talking passive domestic 'audiophile grade' speakers, a dealer's advice is essential I maintain! It's also part of the hobby experience, something I was patently reminded of yesterday after some time away - you do midlands and northern bakeoffs Mart, with a gaggle of like-minded older men talking and enthusing about their gear, often used if not DIY builds and sharing music nobody else has ever heard of as well as old classic albums from 'my' day. We don't have so many down this way I'm afraid!
Move out of the sticks, Dave!
 

Vacceo

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I actually did. After reading Amir's review of the LS50 meta, Erin's review of the Wireless II and the users around here, I pulled the trigger and added a KC62. I have been a happy user for months.
 

SoundGuy

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Tangband

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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.
Im a little shocked that so many people are ready to buy a pair of speakers before doing any listening.
I wouldnt do that.

At first:

You need two speakers to judge the spatial quality with your brain/ears ( never tested, cant be tested with measurements ) .

Second - you really need to listen to your speaker in your own room , and doing set up correctly.

Third : Amirms measurements only gives about 70 % clues how the loudspeaker will sound for real.
 

vicenzo_del_paris

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Of course being able to listen to speakers before buying is better.
But sometimes it is not possible.
Hifi dealers are not everywhere and have only a selection of their own.
In Europe (at least France), return policies differ a lot from what you can get in the US.
Returning stuff is not as easy as in the US and not in our habits, especially for such items.
Returning different speakers from a dealer (online/physical) is not something well established.
When possible, it is always a burden and not cost free.
Some dealers might be ok to return once, but not many times.
At least with measurements, you get an idea of how it end up.
And knowing the pitfalls of room, you might know what is possible to fix/adapt with DSP.
 

sergeauckland

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What I get from reading this thread, is that choosing 'speakers is a matter of taste, choosing by whether we like them or not.
I would like to propose an alternative, that is to buy 'speakers that measure well, then get to like them, as the 'speakers will be right, our taste may not be.

Buying 'speakers that measure well means that the sound in the room will be as good as the room is capable of, objectively measured. As we can get used to many (most?) things if we put our minds to it, why buy something that is wrong, just because we may like it. To me, much better to get something knowing it's right.

S.
 
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Mnyb

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I don't think we have a choice , it's more about finding trustworthy sources of reviews and measurements and try to guesstimate how your own taste would factor in.

There is harder and harder to find dealers with a wide selection of interesting speakers
 

Adi777

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Can't borrow home speakers for listening sessions?

I would like to propose an alternative, that is to buy 'speakers that measure well, then get to like them, as the 'speakers will be right, our taste may not be.
Hmm, it sounds little strange for me. Should I buy, for example, Genelec or Neumann without listening sessions - neither in the living room, or even at home, and get used to them? What if I don't like them? Should I bring myself to like them ???
 

Mart68

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What I get from reading this thread, is that choosing 'speakers is a matter of taste, whether we like them or not.
I would like to propose an alternative, that is to buy 'speakers that measure well, then get to like them, as the 'speakers will be right, our taste may not be.

Buying 'speakers that measure well means that the sound in the room will be as good as the room is capable of, objectively measured. As we can get used to many (most?) things if we put our minds to it, why buy something that is wrong, just because we may like it. To me, much better to get something knowing it's right.

S.
I agree, I am not sure that buying a loudspeaker the same way that you would buy a musical instrument is really a good idea.

If the intention is to hear the sound of the recording and not the sound of the loudspeaker or the other equipment anyway.

With enough measurement we can tell if a speaker is likely to be too bright, too dull, fall apart at higher levels, be bass heavy, be bass light, sound forward, sound distant, plus many other real world outcomes. With some extrapolation the performance in our specific room and choice of location can be anticipated to a useful extent.

Not an exact process I concede but given the choice between that approach and having to assess a loudspeaker for which I've seen no useful metrics, in someone else's room with just an hour or two's worth of listening I know I would always take the measurements approach over the dealer demo.
 

Balle Clorin

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I bought a high efficiency speaker kit from one country , had the parts sent to a speaker cabinet builder building the cabinet in a second country, before I drove over the border and picked it up. After 8 years it was replaced with a Revel F36 that I tried at home for 6 weeks before buying it.

I see a general trend that common speakers are easy to audition in store and at home, while expensive exotic high end speakers are ordered by people without audition( often not possible ). Not everyone have a hifi store in town….

But I have some good ones luckily , but I have to ignore the snake oil departments
 
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Adi777

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The dealers don't want open box items and they don't like loaning out the demo units because they get scratched and dinged.
Unless after paying the deposit.
 

Mnyb

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What I get from reading this thread, is that choosing 'speakers is a matter of taste, choosing by whether we like them or not.
I would like to propose an alternative, that is to buy 'speakers that measure well, then get to like them, as the 'speakers will be right, our taste may not be.

Buying 'speakers that measure well means that the sound in the room will be as good as the room is capable of, objectively measured. As we can get used to many (most?) things if we put our minds to it, why buy something that is wrong, just because we may like it. To me, much better to get something knowing it's right.

S.
That’s a variation on trying to break the circle of confusion.
One does not really have a reference, you don’t know how the recordings was intended to sound , nor did the producers in many cases :)

You could go this route but then have ample of EQ possibilities at hand , for adjusting to taste when needed.
 

YSC

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I trust measurements more than demo room or friends setup..

Data tells you what it likely will sound, or at least not dud with high certainty, but demo rooms with or without all sort of treatments etc is delusional and may turn out much more likely to have tricked anyone
 

Blumlein 88

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One of the better demos I've seen was a dealer with a moderately large rectangler room. Identical system in each end other than speakers. He would move in any two pairs you wanted to listen to for comparison. Had swiveling listening chairs.

You listened to one and could swivel around and hear the other in the same symmetrical room.
 

3125b

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I did just yesterday. And my Focals as well.
High-resolution measurements are way more useful for determining speaker performance than listening under uncontrolled and varying circumstances.
 
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