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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.

YSC

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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 .
That's also what I think, the measurements are for whole spectrum, and our known great recordings of specific genere and production time have their own prominent frequency spectrum. Yes if you know the recordings well and in your own room, in your own location, audition tells more about how it sound with reverb and various reflections combined which is all that important to you, but then when maybe one day you found another album on tidal/spotify etc. that you like and you got the HD version/CD, just to find that your own great setup might have drawbacks on those spectrums it may render the album less enjoyable or out landish too harsh on ears.

I would always prefer a neutral speaker, and for specific tracks/albums where I know I would want bass/highs to be attenuated or boosted, just pick out the EQ to do that.
 
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Peluvius

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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.

I have not heard very many panel speakers but what you describe makes sense. I know that lovers of the distortion many tube amplifiers impart often don't seem to like the accuracy you get from a Genelec but that is usually described as "harsh" or "aggressive" by those proponents.
 

beefkabob

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"Auditioning" audio equipment is part of the bullshit the audiophool companies want to sell you. I can't stand that word. You're not auditioning a guitar when play it in the store. You're trying it out. You're not auditioning a car. You're taking it for a test drive. You're not auditioning a wife when you bang on your first date. You're also not auditioning your stereo. You're just listening to a piece of equipment.
 

usersky

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I do it. Last one KEF R3. Before that ELAC DBR62. Any guess why these. Indeed, because of ASR.
 

Chrispy

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I do it. Last one KEF R3. Before that ELAC DBR62. Any guess why these. Indeed, because of ASR.
Uh, no, have no idea why you preferred one of those to the other.....
 

usersky

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They sound diferent but I cannot say I prefer one over the other. I bought them without listening first because of ASR reviews in largest part.
 

goat76

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I am lucky in the way my local HiFi store does have good-sounding demo rooms, which makes it possible to hear the characteristics of the speakers. It doesn't matter much if certain aspects of their rooms are better than mine acoustically, that will only give me an idea of the speaker's potential if I treat my room further.

But with that said, my current speakers were purchased from a store 1000 km away with no chance for a demo. I got the demo-ex cheap enough to be able to sell them if I didn't like them, but I was pretty sure I would like them as the characteristics I was looking for in a pair of speakers were repeated in user reviews. There isn't that often I buy something HiFi related and I have plenty of time to scan the whole internet for information, and I pay extra attention to the stuff people don't like about a particular speaker which was the reason they got rid of them. For me seeing a "trend" in the report from many different users who actually own/owned the product tells me even more than a set of measurements. But a demo in a good demo room is the next best thing after actually hearing the speakers in my own listening room.
 

Digby

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This is pretty much where I am. After punting around happily for years I came to the conclusion that I really didn't know my arse from my elbow when it came to truly judging whether a speaker was excellent.
So, you don't trust your ears?

I suppose this thread comes down to whether you 'trust' your ears or not. Personally, if my ears are happy, then I am happy, if my ears say 'wait a minute', then I am unhappy, regardless of how well a speaker measures. You have to live with your ears, as I have to live with mine, so it seems sensible to me that if our ears find something pleasing then that should be the benchmark.

I am a little surprised that people say that such and such speaker is accurate, therefore they would be happy to own it, even if their ears weren't satisfied.

Is this the only forum where you'd hear someone say that, I wonder. It just seems at odds with how people usually behave...

You can have a number of excellent speakers (see quote below), measurement wise, that sound quite different to each other, for various reasons, so how do 'measurements only' people square that circle?
And I mean Revel Salon 2, Genelec 8361, D&D 8c excellent.
They are all excellent, but likely they sound quite different from one another, probably different enough that they could be distinguished from each other in blind testing. If they are all excellent, but sound different from each, then which one is most excellent.

I have 8361a’s on order. There’s no way for me to audition them, no one here has them in stock, in fact I have been waiting a month now and it now appears the delivery date will be pushed back to ???.
What else to do but rely on detailed reviews and the feedback from owners on sites like this one.
But what do you do if you don't like them...:oops:

I'd like to hear your thoughts on how they compare to the 1032cs, when they finally arrive :rolleyes:
 
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Purité Audio

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Really fine measuring loudspeakers do sound different, but not that different.
You should still hear them ideally next to each other in your own room, obviously that is the ideal and what I advise.
Keith
 

sergeauckland

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So, you don't trust your ears?

I suppose this thread comes down to whether you 'trust' your ears or not. Personally, if my ears are happy, then I am happy, if my ears say 'wait a minute', then I am unhappy, regardless of how well a speaker measures. You have to live with your ears, as I have to live with mine, so it seems sensible to me that if our ears find something pleasing then that should be the benchmark.

I am a little surprised that people say that such and such speaker is accurate, therefore they would be happy to own it, even if their ears weren't satisfied.

Is this the only forum where you'd hear someone say that, I wonder. It just seems at odds with how people usually behave...


They are all excellent, but likely they sound quite different from one another, probably different enough that they could be distinguished from each other in blind testing. If they are all excellent, but sound different from each, then which one is most excellent.


But what do you do if you don't like them...:oops:

I'd like to hear your thoughts on how they compare to the 1032cs.
My ears get satisfied very easily by something that measures well, so I don't worry about buying something that I might not like in the long term. I've also found that the differences between well measuring 'speakers are small, even if on a side by side comparison they do sound different, I know I could live with any of them. Aesthetics are more important, as I'll be looking at them for a lot longer than I'll be listening to them.

The worry that I won't like something just isn't me, I get used to most things if they work well.

By the way, I've also bought cars without a test drive...

S
 

YSC

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So, you don't trust your ears?

I suppose this thread comes down to whether you 'trust' your ears or not. Personally, if my ears are happy, then I am happy, if my ears say 'wait a minute', then I am unhappy, regardless of how well a speaker measures. You have to live with your ears, as I have to live with mine, so it seems sensible to me that if our ears find something pleasing then that should be the benchmark.

I am a little surprised that people say that such and such speaker is accurate, therefore they would be happy to own it, even if their ears weren't satisfied.

Is this the only forum where you'd hear someone say that, I wonder. It just seems at odds with how people usually behave...

You can have a number of excellent speakers (see quote below), measurement wise, that sound quite different to each other, for various reasons, so how do 'measurements only' people square that circle?

They are all excellent, but likely they sound quite different from one another, probably different enough that they could be distinguished from each other in blind testing. If they are all excellent, but sound different from each, then which one is most excellent.


But what do you do if you don't like them...:oops:

I'd like to hear your thoughts on how they compare to the 1032cs, when they finally arrive :rolleyes:
I trust my ears only with prolonged period of use time with a ton of different music played in the system in my room.. only that will be valid, far too many painful experience that my ear tells me in a showroom or expo that a speaker or headphone is great, only get it back and after a month or so I will find something they are really bad at. then goes the next money pouring round.

For really good measuring speakers, yes, dispersion or distortion isn't the same, and the micro trend of frequency isn't all that in line from one another, but really, when audition to the options isn't a viable option for them in my place (except keep buying and selling, no local return policy possible), I believe in measurement more than other's ears and opinions, especially when owner defensive syndrome is common. and most importantly, the good measuring let alone the best measuring speakers would highly likely bring it to good enough level for me to not caring about upgrading anymore, so by then I could choose my personal good enough speakers and look for price, asthetic and functionality to suit my particular need.

E.g. I own only the Genelec 8030+7040 entry level setup, but then after simple EQ to tame room modes I would believe it's hard to improve significantly in my desktop gaming+music PC setup, so won't go any higher level for this usecase, say if you suddenly give me a pair of D&D 8C, it will be too large to not let the drivers right in front of my ears and with horrible tweeter+woofer summing.

Then I am planning when my pair of KEF X300A acting as TV speakers dies (which don't look anytime soon), my options will be of even lower budget than 8030, have flat top for wife to put photos/figures on top, and sound good enough, with dispersion wide enough to cover both seats, so my shortlist are Kali IN5, KRK RP5 G4 and Dynaudio LYD7, for styling and FR flatness I am leaning to the LYD7 atm, there are surely better speakers out there but it's all useless when size or input is limited, where no demo room is likely to be similar to the usecase, it's always a better bet to order based on measurement, and especially in local forum or magazines where home sizes are similar, >90% are just paid praising junk or ppl just buy on slogan or brand stories and praise with meaningless BS comments.
 

Digby

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The worry that I won't like something just isn't me, I get used to most things if they work well.
Maybe it is a question of individual character, more than measurements & listening?

I often wish I could be more flexible in some sense or other, but for loudspeakers, if I found something wasn't right, it would be like trying to ignore a stone in my shoe - good measurements or not.
 

DSJR

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My ears get satisfied very easily by something that measures well, so I don't worry about buying something that I might not like in the long term. I've also found that the differences between well measuring 'speakers are small, even if on a side by side comparison they do sound different, I know I could live with any of them. Aesthetics are more important, as I'll be looking at them for a lot longer than I'll be listening to them.

The worry that I won't like something just isn't me, I get used to most things if they work well.

By the way, I've also bought cars without a test drive...

S
Looking at two of the fave rave brands here, Neumann and Genelec, neither to my knowledge can be heard before purchase and yet comments here do crop up as to slightly different *perceived* quality up top which to me is important as I can still perceive 'one note tinsel' as in the PMC (and by inference, B&W) response balance. I don't want a muffled sounding speaker at all, but neither do I want what's left of my hearing bitten off (the aids are just good enough for me to tell the difference). The now old Harbeths here sound fine and delightful now, but yes, the inherent sweetness of this 2007 model can now be perceived and it's beguiling, even if it's very slightly too much the other way :) Had I the funds, it'd be all too easy for this old buffer to return to what he knows - active three way ATC's - as I fall into their 'character' so very easily (may be eye-Fi bringing back reminiscences of course too). Sorry fellas, I do need to listen first if I could afford to change.

P.S. Not sure a 'boomy under-damped bass quality' can easily be determined by a response plot alone?
 
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charleski

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I trust my ears only with prolonged period of use time with a ton of different music played in the system in my room.. only that will be valid, far too many painful experience that my ear tells me in a showroom or expo that a speaker or headphone is great, only get it back and after a month or so I will find something they are really bad at.
That's my experience as well. It is far too easy to pick a few pieces of music that will sound impressive on a particular set of speakers, only for them to fall apart when playing something else that reveals their deficiencies. This is why you get the audiophile nonsense that goes, 'Speaker X is great for chamber music, but if you want rock you should buy speaker Y.' A good speaker sounds good on everything and should only be limited in terms of its bass output (because physics).

My ears are the last thing I'd trust, because they're too easily fooled.
 

Triliza

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So, you don't trust your ears?
I don't disagree with what you are saying, but for that to be entirely valid, one must have blind tests when deciding between two speakers. When Dr. Toole did his blind sessions, I'm sure all of the participants had different opinions of what they thought was the best speaker for them, but the data showed that the majority liked speakers that measured good and had some specific characteristics that were measurable. Of the few blind test that have been done, always there are some people that get surprised of what the participant preferred in the end. So choosing speakers with good measurement has its merits, especially when no other options are provided.
 

Burning Sounds

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A chance audition of Magneplanar MG1s at a dealer in 1979 set me on the dipole speaker path. Without that audition I doubt I would ever have taken that route. Magnepan"s outstanding customer service kept me with them over the years, helping me restore some battered MG2.5Rs which I still have. But it was the discovery of Linkwitz' site and his empirical work as a respected audio engineer that convinced me I could buy a set of plans for his, at that time new LX521, and know it was the right speaker for me.

Its quirky looks are not a problem for me as I have a separate music room and I tend to like something that looks different, especially if there is an engineering reason behind the way something looks - form follows function. I have no desire whatsoever to change this speaker.
 

Mnyb

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I don't disagree with what you are saying, but for that to be entirely valid, one must have blind tests when deciding between two speakers. When Dr. Toole did his blind sessions, I'm sure all of the participants had different opinions of what they thought was the best speaker for them, but the data showed that the majority liked speakers that measured good and had some specific characteristics that were measurable. Of the few blind test that have been done, always there are some people that get surprised of what the participant preferred in the end. So choosing speakers with good measurement has its merits, especially when no other options are provided.
I like that and as other said, I would like many good speakers that sounds slightly different.

I would object to some very anoying flaws, but hopefully most well designed ones are rid of those?

Problem arise when your into speaker technology thats a bit of the proven path panel speakers very odd dispersion chracteristics etc , then only you can decide?
Or like old style speakers from when no oned cared about such things like BBC style monitors or other exotics.

Whats befudling me is what to pick when confronted with several very good options that do sound different :) which one to pick. Then I would like to actually *know* which one considered accurate to the extents current science tells us that ? Because if it follows current science , hopefully good studios also uses speakers designed that way and even more so in the future, making my new speaker even better with future recordings ?
 

Digby

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This is why you get the audiophile nonsense that goes, 'Speaker X is great for chamber music, but if you want rock you should buy speaker Y.' A good speaker sounds good on everything and should only be limited in terms of its bass output (because physics).
Is that nonsense though? I mean the recording techniques are quite different, not to mention the effects used in mixing rock will be absent in chamber/orchestral music.

For instance, I know my speakers aren't the last word in imaging, and some would find them quite lacking, but as I listen to a lot of older recordings where that information is somewhat absent anyway, I don't miss it too much.

Imaging is further down the list compared to other things, for other people the reverse may be true. Who is right, which single speaker can possibly scratch all itches equally?

I don't disagree with what you are saying, but for that to be entirely valid, one must have blind tests when deciding between two speakers.
That would depend. If I have to live with a speaker in my home, why should it need a blind test? Sure, I could be in some way fooling myself about preferring this speaker for other reasons, beyond sound, but what does it matter? I suppose a blind test matters only when you have groups of people.

Yes, there are confounding factors when choosing a speaker, like aesthetics, reputation, cost and what have you, but on an individual level, where a person has to live with speakers in their own room, how much does this really matter or hold true over long periods of time?

My ears are the last thing I'd trust, because they're too easily fooled.
Why? Sure, a listening session could be set up in such a way as to show the best of X speaker without highlighting the worst, by using particular source material, but you can always use a wide range of music to 'stress test' a speaker, as it were.

I have to say I am baffled by the concept that one wouldn't trust their own ears. Yes, they are flawed, yes, they can deceive you, but I have visions of someone sitting in their favourite chair, with gritted teeth, listening to music, but not enjoying it, reciting a mantra 'just relax, this is the best measuring speaker in your price range, just relax', as a single bead of sweat drips off their brow. :oops:

Exaggeration? Maybe. Silly? A little, but that is what some of this talk of distrusting your ears sounds likes to me.
 
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Peluvius

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So, you don't trust your ears?

I suppose this thread comes down to whether you 'trust' your ears or not. Personally, if my ears are happy, then I am happy, if my ears say 'wait a minute', then I am unhappy, regardless of how well a speaker measures. You have to live with your ears, as I have to live with mine, so it seems sensible to me that if our ears find something pleasing then that should be the benchmark.

I think my ears are as good as anyone's, it was more my ability to discern differences and improvement in speakers that I started to challenge. I would not keep listening to music on speakers I found to be unpleasant, my ears are happy :)

And I mean Revel Salon 2, Genelec 8361, D&D 8c excellent.
They are all excellent, but likely they sound quite different from one another, probably different enough that they could be distinguished from each other in blind testing. If they are all excellent, but sound different from each, then which one is most excellent.

That is an interesting point, I wouldn't know how different they might sound, surely you could hear them apart? I am happy that I am most of the way there in terms of my systems and have reached a point of diminishing return but maybe that is a point worth considering. I have bought speakers without hearing them previously but I would hesitate to buy another speaker in order to get better than the Genelec speakers I use without listening to them first.

Maybe the more excellent a speaker you have been exposed to makes you more likely to want/need to listen to a different one before buying it.....?
 

JSmith

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By the way, I've also bought cars without a test drive...
Actually, now you mention it, so have I. However I had an extensive inspection/testing and report done on the vehicle before I sealed the deal though... the test drive was the 2 hour drive home in effect. Best car I ever purchased and I still have that car now.


JSmith
 
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