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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.

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.
 

ahofer

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I got really serious about auditioning a while back and spent 5 or 6 years frequenting the HiFi shops around Sydney. I enjoyed this as something to do but to this day I really don't know if it got me better speakers. The two things that struck me were that you could only ever A/B the speakers they actually sold or had in stock and then comparing that objectively to another shop across town the next day was just pointless (for me) and that the speakers did not sound the same at my place.
Bingo. Listening in the shops barely helps. I tended to focus on whether I found them annoying after 15 minutes of steady listening.
 

sergeauckland

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Can't borrow home speakers for listening sessions?


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 ???
Both Genelec and Neumann are decent enough, so it wouldn't matter to me which I had, either would do. It would then be more of an aesthetic decision, and I can get that from a photo. If I didn't like them, that's my fault, not that of the 'speakers, so I should just get to like them.

S.
 

Chromatischism

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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.
The business model has moved to online only sales and in-home trials.
 

Phorize

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It’s a mix of the options really- ie . yes, if I trust the manufacturers own measurements or that of a reviewers and it is either inexpensive or if more expensive can be returned. Notwithstanding the fact that this is a lot about individual preference I feel I’ve reached a point where good measurements and some basic knowledge about their interpretation is more meaningful to me than an impression gained listening at a dealers. I may go and listen to my next purchase (likely to be KEF) but I’m likely to ask to listen in mono just for kicks,
 

srrxr71

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Some were and some were not.

The PSB alpha was auctioned but in a horribly suboptimal location and was bought on reputation and reviews. Sounded great in my room.

The NHT super one was bought after an audition in which sounded great and sounded good at home (limited low frequency and sealed woofer just sound good in a room)

The one which ruined me was the Von Schweikert VR-5.

That demo sounded so good. The store employee of course tricked me with cherry picked tracks and an ideal room and listening position.

So impressive I went far past my budget and even took out a personal loan to acquire them. (So stupid).

At home they were nice but not so great as they were at the demo.

I’ve noticed some things are a mental circle jerk. We focus on the aura around the thing (these are those dream speakers I heard that day and they are in my home and blah blah blah) instead of the essence of the thing itself.

With the Genelec Ones it the opposite. They were ordered based on the straight scientific facts laid down on this life changing website.

I can listen to them with thoughts of coaxial, minimum diffraction, aluminum enclosure blah blah blah. But I don’t have to. I don’t care about any of that. All that matters is the sweet sweet waves hitting my eardrums. I don’t need any mental process to justify why this is great. It just is.
 

Vacceo

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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.
There are cases that shouldn't surprise you much. I'm very used to listen to coaxials, hence why I can get an general idea of what I'll get if I buy another KEF, a Genelec or a Tannoy. Of course there will be variation, but graphs can help you fill in a lot of gaps.

If I were going to buy a planar, that would be drastically different.
 

Vintage57

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I purchased my Neumann KH420’s without the benefit of an audition. I had reviews and forum chats to go by. I couldn’t be happier. When I was looking for a smaller second system I went to Neumann KH120’s and have nothing but accolades for them.
In my experience facts and figures align.
 

eddantes

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What is the point of listening to something, other than in your own space? Even in your own space, unless it's a pretty good AB test, you're just as likely to fool yourself than not. "Just dished 4K on new speakers" - of course they will be manna from heaven. Replaced $500 dollar speakers with $3000 dollar speakers - of course they will "reveal microdynamics". Well done measurements = strong likelihood of predictability. So no, no auditioning - last two sets were bought based on measurements alone. Previous sets of speakers were bought mostly on whim and resaleabilty... which is why they all (well most) left the house and the last two stayed.
 

Robin L

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Lived in a neighborhood that had yearly street sales. Happened to be near a college and had a lot of audio gear for dirt cheap prices, so I could experiment with different brands. A local thrift store had a complete set of Infinity Primus speakers in surround, four floor standing speakers and a center, $80. Right now, after getting rid of a lot of excess speakers, I settled on the Infinity Primus 250s from the surround set for my small room. With prices like these, I could afford to buy before trying. Also got a/d/s, Klipsch and Advent speakers this way. Also, three subs, kept the Sonus "Son of Sub" that set me back $50, used of course.
 

Digby

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HiFi is about fidelity, not personal preference, and fidelity can be measured.
Hi-Fi is nothing of the sort. Stereo is low fidelity (missing a lot of sound information), microphones can be set up any which way a person chooses.

There are too many variables/compromises, and this is why I don't agree with the idea of a perfect speaker making perfect reproduction. There is so much before the speaker that is imperfect, all you have is a perfect reproduction of highly imperfect recordings (anything in stereo).

The wonder is the ability of our ears to 'make do' with such compromised reproduction, this is the really clever part.
 

Adi777

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No, not joking at all. HiFi is about fidelity, not personal preference, and fidelity can be measured.
Hmm, okay. So you would prefer speakers with very high fidelity, but which you would not like, rather than speakers that fare worse in measurements - but not weak! - which would "charm" you?
BTW, personal preferences are important, someone likes horns, someone likes a bookshelf with subwoofers, someone likes large loudspeakers. Why should I bother with loudspeakers - Genelec, Neumann - that do not suit me in terms of sound. Just because they are great in measurements?
PS I did not listen to Genelec and Neumann, this is only example.
 
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YSC

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Hmm, okay. So you would prefer speakers with very high fidelity, but which you would not like, rather than speakers that fare worse in measurements - but not weak! - which would "charm" you?
BTW, personal preferences are important, someone likes horns, someone likes a bookshelf with subwoofers, someone likes large loudspeakers. Why should I bother with loudspeakers - Genelec, Neumann - that do not suit me in terms of sound. Just because they are great in measurements?
PS I did not listen to Genelec and Neumann, this is only example.
I always wonders about these sort of arguements... why MUST measuring good and the speaker one likes be mutually exclusive???? it's like asking one would you marry a pretty girl, or the girl you love, but why can't I marry a pretty girl that I love???
 

Gorgonzola

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I opted of a DIY speaker without hearing or even reading any serious reviews: Zaph Audio ZTR (Zaph Revelator Towers). A fair expense and a good many hours of work went into them Fortunately I'm extremely pleased with the result.

Partially completed ZRT cabinets ...
gi.mpl
 

rnd

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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.
Nice of them to set up such a room.

I'm thinking, if seated right in the middle of the room, I suppose the listener may be pretty close to a strong room mode, and may encounter some serious nulls or peaks in that position.

Doesn't really matter when comparing two speakers to one another, I think. Although it could happen that the one with lower bass extension may sound worse if it excites one more mode that the other set of speakers doesn't.
 

AlexanderM

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Hmm, okay. So you would prefer speakers with very high fidelity, but which you would not like, rather than speakers that fare worse in measurements - but not weak! - which would "charm" you?
BTW, personal preferences are important, someone likes horns, someone likes a bookshelf with subwoofers, someone likes large loudspeakers. Why should I bother with loudspeakers - Genelec, Neumann - that do not suit me in terms of sound. Just because they are great in measurements?
PS I did not listen to Genelec and Neumann, this is only example.
Agreed!! There are quite a few speakers that have passed the Amir test, beyond that we are allowed to follow our ears, personal preference does matter.
 

Triliza

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Hmm, okay. So you would prefer speakers with very high fidelity, but which you would not like, rather than speakers that fare worse in measurements - but not weak! - which would "charm" you?
BTW, personal preferences are important, someone likes horns, someone likes a bookshelf with subwoofers, someone likes large loudspeakers. Why should I bother with loudspeakers - Genelec, Neumann - that do not suit me in terms of sound. Just because they are great in measurements?
PS I did not listen to Genelec and Neumann, this is only example.
Dr. Toole research back then was about that, and it showed that most people (75% or 85% I don't remember) preffer those speakers that have good measurements, in a blind test. So for one to be 100% sure what he really like, the right way would be to do blinds tests between different speakers, which is not feasible, so lets enjoy whatever we have and not ponder much about it :)
 
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