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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.
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Peluvius

Peluvius

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When some argue that those speakers are "dry and boring" I always think that perhaps they should listen to sources that are not dry and boring.

I try to understand why someone would think that when they listen to Genelecs (and I would imagine D&D, Neuman and similar excellent actives). Maybe there is some individual and unique physiology at play? This would lend credence towards always listening before buying also. Curious to me.
 

Vacceo

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I try to understand why someone would think that when they listen to Genelecs (and I would imagine D&D, Neuman and similar excellent actives). Maybe there is some individual and unique physiology at play? This would lend credence towards always listening before buying also. Curious to me.
My guess with ultra clean speakers is that it's similar to TV's. If you are used to smeared (distorted in the end) images and you get to see a clean and well-calibrated image, your brain thinks something is wrong.

Then you get used to good reproduction, but it takes a bit.
 

ferrellms

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Both my Genelecs and Mackies were purchased without listening. If they are good enough for the people mixing the music, I figured they would be good enough for me. And they are both as good as anything I have heard so far.
 

pablolie

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I try to understand why someone would think that when they listen to Genelecs (and I would imagine D&D, Neuman and similar excellent actives). Maybe there is some individual and unique physiology at play? This would lend credence towards always listening before buying also. Curious to me.
It's no surprise: what you have trained yourself to "sound great" will influence your perception, and rightly so - why not if it works for you?

I buy equipment based on how it sounds with recordings that I know are pretty stellar and set references for me. But then very often I'll have to make some concessions in order to make recordings that I enjoy -but are not great recordings- sound more "together", which often involves toeing in speakers more than the best recordings require to sound their best.

So sometimes somewhat compromised equipment my result in the all-around best personal experience for many - and I don't criticize that at all.
 
OP
Peluvius

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It's no surprise: what you have trained yourself to "sound great" will influence your perception, and rightly so - why not if it works for you?

I buy equipment based on how it sounds with recordings that I know are pretty stellar and set references for me. But then very often I'll have to make some concessions in order to make recordings that I enjoy -but are not great recordings- sound more "together", which often involves toeing in speakers more than the best recordings require to sound their best.

So sometimes somewhat compromised equipment my result in the all-around best personal experience for many - and I don't criticize that at all.

I have been following with interest the thread following the review of the Crinacle Zeros. So many people who are knowledgeable and caring about sound quality all effectively listening to the same thing. Look at how different some of these experiences have been! Some of this can be explained through tip fit and source but surely not all of it....
 
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pablolie

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The other relevant question is "Do you buy a recording without listening to it in HD first?"... :)

I love a lot of music across genres. But it's kind of funny that, to me... let's say someone is at my place, says "wow this sounds great" and Carole King's "So Far Away" or The Eagles' "Hotel California" is their favorite. The next step is playing those. And it's funny to see people react. Invariably, those who love the music and have a history of it being severely compromised (and that is a large %) will go "OMG that sounds awesome"... and while I am glad they like it, I also think (not say) in my head "Hm I'd picked a different recording for critical equipment listening", because while I love both those tracks, I know they are not great recordings, sorry. Then there are my few audiophile friends, who'll try to tell me my stuff sounds "too lean and cold" because they listen to the recording through the same vinyl system they used in the 80s... :-D
 

Mtbf

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Never ever, unthinkable. I’ve always listened before buying, mostly extensively, and even nowadays I would. One could say I also listened to my new Buchardt A500´s before buying them (for good that is). Too often there are smaller or bigger things in the way speakers sound that are annoying or can become annoying over time. I’ve also listened to the fabulous Grimm Ls1be’s, KII three’s, and Genelecs before not (yet!) buying them. Was dissapointed after listening to the Vivid Giya and Magico A5, before never buying them.
 

pseudoid

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...Can you spot a trend here?
...I tend to buy something and "make it work".
My record recently got ruined.
I bought a pair of Polk Audio R200 loudspeakers sound unheard on the strength of:
1) good reports here.
...
I was not, nor am I still, the least bit disappointed, either.
I was kind of disappointed by them. :confused:
I bought the Polk Reserve R350 Center speaker when introduced. Bad move!
@amirm tested it and confirmed what my ears heard (=pos and no way to "make it work"!
An esteemed ASR member suggested that I use it as a doorstop. How could I disagree?
I never liked that dude in the white lab-coat to begin with, anyways!
 

RayDunzl

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no way to "make it work"

What if you stand it on its end?
1665357102919.jpeg

Polk Reserve R350 Center
 

Blumlein 88

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I try to understand why someone would think that when they listen to Genelecs (and I would imagine D&D, Neuman and similar excellent actives). Maybe there is some individual and unique physiology at play? This would lend credence towards always listening before buying also. Curious to me.
Oh I can understand the boring part. For instance, as a lover of panel speakers, they sometimes do well recorded pieces in halls with a larger than life sense of air and space. The very low end on panels on such recordings sound right when on a flat full range speaker it might sound too much. The end results seems better with some recordings and with other departures from flatness there can be more excitement or more there there. In comparison a Genelec or similar might sound boring and dull. However, listen to enough different recordings and you'll likely find it easier to hear the Genelec as accurate.
 

pseudoid

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What if you stand it on its end?
Polk Reserve R350 Center
True to your character, great idea to make it work but I got the t-shirt! ;)
The only reason for purchase was that its height was just right (<6") and not many other competitors offered an "equal", based on Polk reputation.
Being a "center speaker"; it does not lend itself to be vertically positioned but even then; please allow me to simply call R350's sound "pinched".
I really should sell it but I am just mad at it and you posting its picture in your reply made me get PTSD.:mad:
 

MattHooper

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I think these days, with the ever more available sets of good measurements, and the way some speaker manufacturers are reliably upping their game
in pursuing "best practice" design goals, it makes sense for some people to purchase just on the measurements. I think you have to be of a certain mind-set, but it's entirely rational.

Personally I always want to hear speakers for myself because I can't completely predict if I'll love a speaker only from the measurements. Just as important, I simply love hearing different speakers. It's fun. So I will occasionally go through speaker-audition binges, and it's not arduous, it's a chance to get out and hear all sorts of intriguing designs. Same reason I enjoy audio shows.

Any times I've really loved a speaker in a show room, I've loved it when I bought it.

Though I have also bought the occaisional blind purchases via the second hand markets. I make sure the speaker has good re-sale value and that I'm getting it at a very good price, so I can quickly re-sell it if it doesn't turn my crank. Those are fun too.
 

AM88

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I’ve had more success with speakers I have bought without auditioning. In fact they are the only ones I have kept.
 

rwortman

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These days, at last in the US, if you don’t live in or near a large city, auditioning equipment means a lengthy drive after making an appointment with a stuffy snob you really don’t want to talk with. The last speakers I auditioned before buying were my PSB Stratus Gold i’s back in the early 90’s. I have a roomful of PSB Imagine series speakers that I listened to when they arrived. I picked the T2’s up from a dealer but I just told him what I wanted and picked them up from the store. Most, if not all, vendors that ship audio equipment have liberal return policies. I have yet to return any speakers. I usually have a good idea what to expect and if I am surprised, its on the plus side. I was a bit stunned at the sound coming from my Imagine Mini’s. I don’t think buying from established companies with reputations from decades of products is much of a gamble. I also don’t experiment with esoteric products or garage companies. I don’t think Paul Barton has designed a bad speaker and I have never been disappointed with a JBL product for car or home. The low end JBL stuff is not the best but solid performers for the price.
 
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JSmith

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Also, I think it depends on cost as well... I mean, if I'm going to drop $10K on some nice floorstanders there's no way I'm buying unsighted or unmeasured. Whereas if they were just $1K desktop speakers, I'd probably buy based on measurements alone.

There is also the aesthetics... I was to check the build quality, the finish, the connectors, feel the speakers, make sure they're visually appealing and whether they will compliment my listening space.

Amps and DAC's, no so much, but speakers... aesthetics are important too, as one must look at them every day.


JSmith
 

Chrispy

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These days, at last in the US, if you don’t live in or near a large city, auditioning equipment means a lengthy drive after making an appointment with a stuffy snob you really don’t want to talk with. The last speakers I auditioned before buying where my PSB Stratus Gold i’s back in the early 90’s. I have a roomful of PSB Imagine series speakers that I listened to when they arrived. I picked the T2’s up from a dealer but I just told him what I wanted and picked them up from the store. Most, if not all, vendors that ship audio equipment have liberal return policies. I have yet to return any speakers. I usually have a good idea what to expect and if I am surprised, its on the plus side. I was a bit stunned at the sound coming from my Imagine Mini’s. I don’t think buying from established companies with reputations from decades of products is much of a gamble. I also don’t experiment with esoteric products or garage companies. I don’t think Paul Barton has designed a bad speaker and I have never been disappointed with a JBL product for car or home. The low end JBL stuff is not the best but solid performers for the price.
Stuffy snob with an extremely limited selection most likely as well. :)
 

Chrispy

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Also, I think it depends on cost as well... I mean, if I'm going to drop $10K on some nice floorstanders there's no way I'm buying unsighted or unmeasured. Whereas if they were just $1K desktop speakers, I'd probably buy based on measurements alone.

There is also the aesthetics... I was to check the build quality, the finish, the connectors, feel the speakers, make sure they're visually appealing and whether they will compliment my listening space.

Amps and DAC's, no so much, but speakers... aesthetics are important too, as one must look at them every day.


JSmith
I'd still rather do that in-room on my own terms, even for mere aesthetics (as if you can do much with a coffin box)....even if I have to ship the speakers back afterwards it's still likely cheaper than me traveling to audition them (in unfamiliar settings).
 

JSmith

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I'd still rather do that in-room on my own terms
I agree, which I mentioned in my first post. Also maybe I'm spoilt in this case, as my speakers are designed/constructed locally and I met the owner of the company when I went to audition the speakers. I'd already seen independent measurements... but I wouldn't have laid out the dollars without seeing them aesthetically speaking and listening to them. Luckily this was a similar sized room to my own and was a treated listening room. In the end I actually felt they sounded even better at home, which was a great outcome.

For many years, when I got the itch, I would buy various speakers 2nd hand to try them out. It's great now there are more measurements to rely on when creating a shortlist of speakers to consider.


JSmith
 

Chrispy

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I agree, which I mentioned in my first post. Also maybe I'm spoilt in this case, as my speakers are designed/constructed locally and I met the owner of the company when I went to audition the speakers. I'd already seen independent measurements... but I wouldn't have laid out the dollars without seeing them aesthetically speaking and listening to them. Luckily this was a similar sized room to my own and was a treated listening room. In the end I actually felt they sounded even better at home, which was a great outcome.

For many years, when I got the itch, I would buy various speakers 2nd hand to try them out. It's great now there are more measurements to rely on when creating a shortlist of speakers to consider.


JSmith
Didn't particularly notice earlier posts fwiw. We often agree I've noticed in any case. What speakers are they?
 

Mnyb

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It's no surprise: what you have trained yourself to "sound great" will influence your perception, and rightly so - why not if it works for you?

I buy equipment based on how it sounds with recordings that I know are pretty stellar and set references for me. But then very often I'll have to make some concessions in order to make recordings that I enjoy -but are not great recordings- sound more "together", which often involves toeing in speakers more than the best recordings require to sound their best.

So sometimes somewhat compromised equipment my result in the all-around best personal experience for many - and I don't criticize that at all.
What about good recordings you don’t heard yet :) or good recordings not even made yet :)

Our reference recordings can be a bit flawed and may not help us getting a reference playback system ?

Currently I’ve auditioned in store most of my main speakers , the small ones for seconddary use I just bought.
I’m not sure it helped me .

I will try to get a speaker built using science and best practices next time hopefully it will present a neautral rendition of the source material .
I would deem it necessary have tone controls and/or eq and possibly a good physiological volume control then i can make some recordings behave that would not otherwise.

I just mean it may be a trap to buy a speakers that sounds just rigth with some recordings . Maybe its better to get something thats aspire to do actual reference playback and gets you almost there which I think is possible nowadays. But accept eq and tone controls as part of the system not as bandaids .
 
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