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Old 8th April 2011, 02:50 AM   #1
j beede is offline j beede  United States
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Default You need to hear these speakers before buying anything

If someone asked me for a list of 10 speakers that an audio "beginner" should hear before making a speaker purchase I would suggest those below (I know the list is only 8 long). I am not suggesting or recommending any of these... I am simply saying that you should hear all of them to gain an appreciation for what they are and what they do. Maybe one or more would stand out from the others for you. I know which appeal to me!

I have tried to limit my list to speakers that an ordinary person might actually be able to experience (with a bit of effort/travel). I suppose the parameters that most people worry about with respect to speakers are--in alphabetical order: cost, efficiency, home theater/symphonic performance (big bass), placement/room requirements, and spouse-acceptance-factor. I have risked upsetting everyone by trying to grade my top "10" list . Can you follow my scoring? "+" means favorable, "-" means unfavorable. "=" is between. SAF is pretty subjective I suppose, but rarely are audiophiles truly surprised by their SO's positive or negative reaction to a particular speaker.

The grades are in this order: cost/eff/bass/placement/SAF

Quad(57) ESL +==--
Magneplanar 1.7 +-=-=
Wilson (any) --+=-
Polk r50 ++=++
Audio Note AN-E =+=+=
Martin Logan Vantage ==+-+
Quad 11L2 ++-++
MBL (any) --+=?

I have tried to include something old, something new, something $$$, something cheap, something British, something American, something small, something huge, and then the MBL which defy description and grading.

The price range for this list spans $99 to $50,000+ each. All of these speakers can be auditioned in the SF Bay area for sure and probably in most larger metro areas. Did I miss any "important" speakers? There were others that I would add but I don't think you could reasonably find any DQ-10, Stax, ServoStats, or Spica to audition!
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