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Rather useful information for future buyers

stereoman

Well-known member
Mar 22, 2016
142
11
4,595
Hello to all. Just a piece of my advice for everyone who want to change their HiFi , plan to buy or are not satisfied with the sound. It was probably mentioned thousand times here and there but I would like to emphasise this once again. If anything PLEASE START WITH THE PROPER LOUDSPEAKERS FIRST. In a traditional setup - Source - Amp - Speakers, it is the speakers that play the most important part reaching up to 80 % or more of the impact on sound. I.E. When you buy bad quality or not appropriate speakers your 3000 $ amp and 3K Source will not help ! The different thing is the other way round. With good quality loudspeakers and suitable to your taste - the sound will be much better with poor amp and source in this case. Really it is so !

Please mind - choose your loudspeakers correctly, never rush into buying them without proper listening. The studio or demo room in shops is only partially helpful - the loudspeakers will always sound a bit different when you take a personal listen to them in your room , not only acoustically but also your approach has influence on the sound - it is very important to have a chance to LISTEN TO THEM FIRST at your home with possibility of returning them if not suitable ! Please try to arrange such things when possible. DO NOT COUNT ON BURNING IN PROCESS ! This process will only soften a bit the drivers but will not change the overall character of the sound ! The bass can usually soften just a bit. So if you pull your LSs out of the box - after few seconds you will know whether they are good for you. If not do not prolong the time ! Pack them up and send back - prolonging listening WILL NOT IMPROVE THE THINGS.

Once again - despise low quality loudspeakers - they are rubbish ! There are many LSs there NOT EXPENSIVE but properly engineered by professionals , usually these LSs cannot be bought in popular chain shops but usually in HiFi dedicated shops or online. Please remember it is usually not an easy thing to pursue good loudspeakers and it takes time - but again this is the most critical link in HiFi chain.
 

friendly_ghost

New member
May 8, 2014
17
0
0
stereoman said:
DO NOT COUNT ON BURNING IN PROCESS ! This process will only soften a bit the drivers but will not change the overall character of the sound ! The bass can usually soften just a bit. So if you pull your LSs out of the box - after few seconds you will know whether they are good for you. If not do not prolong the time ! Pack them up and send back - prolonging listening WILL NOT IMPROVE THE THINGS.
At least give them the time to play around with positioning!

Other than that: garbage in = garbage out. So while LS might have the biggest impact, even very well fabricated speakers will suffer from amplifiers or sources which are not up to the task.
 

Gaz37

Well-known member
Sep 23, 2014
58
0
10,540
Surely if a bad source is played through a good amp and speaker all you'll get perfectly reproduced crap?
 

Native_bon

Well-known member
Nov 26, 2008
180
2
18,595
Cannot agree more when it comes to choosing loudspeakers. I always find most mass market produced speakers lacking in cohesion.

Very important to get right. If the speakers are wrong, you can almost never get the sound you desire.
 

MajorFubar

New member
Mar 3, 2010
690
3
0
gabage in = garbage out was only mainly true over quarter of a century ago when everyone was using turntables. Because you can't make a great turntable for pennies it was wise to spend the most money there. Compared to turntables there is so little difference between two half-decent digital sources, even when they're massively different in price, it makes more sense to spend more on the speakers.

Well that's my opinion at least. Other opinions are of course availabe, but if someone told me I had to spend either £3k on speakers and £200 on a DAC or £3000 on a DAC and £200 on speakers, with the same amp between either, I'm pretty certain the former choice would get me the better sound.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
20
0
0
MajorFubar said:
gabage in = garbage out was only mainly true over quarter of a century ago when everyone was using turntables. Because you can't make a great turntable for pennies it was wise to spend the most money there. Compared to turntables there is so little difference between two half-decent digital sources, even when they're massively different in price, it makes more sense to spend the most on the speakers.
Whilst what you say makes reasonable sense, I have one big issue about this approach though.

Many people (though probably not you, Major) will equate 'better' speakers as 'bigger' and 'more expensive' and end up with speakers that are inappropriate for the amplifier and too big for the room.

I see this so often, in fact there are plenty of threads on here about this issue (though not always described in these terms), that the op's views, whilst correct in places (the 'run in' issue for instance) are far too simplistic to be taken seriously.
 

Frank Harvey

Well-known member
Jun 27, 2008
567
0
18,890
Whilst there are some systems that will rub up against the very vague rules concerning this subject, I generally differ.

Yes, speakers can, and usually do make the most noticeable effect on the overall sound. This is because they're not solid state like amplifiers and digital sources, where differences are usually less noticeable. They're analogue, mechanical beings that have a larger scope to affect the sound, good or bad.

I would like to say though that it is surprising just how good a well designed "budget" speaker can be when fed with high quality amplification and source. A speaker can ONLY reproduce what it is given, send them a low quality signal and it can only amplify a low quality signal. Send them a high quality signal, and they have a better "base" to work from, and you're more likely to have a better sounding system. Of course, they're then limited to their own abilities, but above £500, there really shouldn't be any worry about a speaker's quality if it has been built for quality first (not size and output).

Most of the time, people end up with crazy expensive speakers because they've bought an ex demo deal or some used bargain. That's all well and good, everyone likes a bargain, but the majority of the time they don't have the amplifier to handle them properly, and usually end up on a forum complaining that their system doesn't sound as good as the rrp would suggest, or just doesn't excite them. Plus, it also usually means they've bought them without auditioning, so there's not even any guarantee they're going to like what they do - double trouble!

It's about balancing a system. By all means take into account future upgrades, but make sure you make those upgrades, otherwise you fall into the above trap. Putting together a great sounding system isn't just about buying expensive products. It's about balancing the system and getting the right speaker to work in your room.

Another point is that, given the system is the same, the speaker itself will sound exactly the same at home as it does in the dealer's demo room. It can't sound different, it's the same speaker! What is different is how the room's acoustics interacting with the sound coming from the speakers.

Above all though, source is still important. And so is the amplifier, which has to properly drive and control what the loudspeaker needs (and has been designed) to do. By all means start with the speaker you want or need, but then make sure you provide a source with a good enough signal, and an amplifier that can allow those speakers to perform as they have been intended. It's the key to any good sounding system.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
20
0
0
davidf said:
Whilst there are some systems that will rub up against the very vague rules concerning this subject, I generally differ.

Yes, speakers can, and usually do make the most noticeable effect on the overall sound. This is because they're not solid state like amplifiers and digital sources, where differences are usually less noticeable. They're analogue, mechanical beings that have a larger scope to affect the sound, good or bad.

I would like to say though that it is surprising just how good a well designed "budget" speaker can be when fed with high quality amplification and source. A speaker can ONLY reproduce what it is given, send them a low quality signal and it can only amplify a low quality signal. Send them a high quality signal, and they have a better "base" to work from, and you're more likely to have a better sounding system. Of course, they're then limited to their own abilities, but above £500, there really shouldn't be any worry about a speaker's quality if it has been built for quality first (not size and output).

Most of the time, people end up with crazy expensive speakers because they've bought an ex demo deal or some used bargain. That's all well and good, everyone likes a bargain, but the majority of the time they don't have the amplifier to handle them properly, and usually end up on a forum complaining that their system doesn't sound as good as the rrp would suggest, or just doesn't excite them. Plus, it also usually means they've bought them without auditioning, so there's not even any guarantee they're going to like what they do - double trouble!

It's about balancing a system. By all means take into account future upgrades, but make sure you make those upgrades, otherwise you fall into the above trap. Putting together a great sounding system isn't just about buying expensive products. It's about balancing the system and getting the right speaker to work in your room.

Another point is that, given the system is the same, the speaker itself will sound exactly the same at home as it does in the dealer's demo room. It can't sound different, it's the same speaker! What is different is how the room's acoustics interacting with the sound coming from the speakers.

Above all though, source is still important. And so is the amplifier, which has to properly drive and control what the loudspeaker needs (and has been designed) to do. By all means start with the speaker you want or need, but then make sure you provide a source with a good enough signal, and an amplifier that can allow those speakers to perform as they have been intended. It's the key to any good sounding system.
Pretty much on the money...*good*
 

stereoman

Well-known member
Mar 22, 2016
142
11
4,595
davidf said:
A speaker can ONLY reproduce what it is given, send them a low quality signal and it can only amplify a low quality signal. Send them a high quality signal, and they have a better "base" to work from, and you're more likely to have a better sounding system.

Another point is that, given the system is the same, the speaker itself will sound exactly the same at home as it does in the dealer's demo room. It can't sound different, it's the same speaker! What is different is how the room's acoustics interacting with the sound coming from the speakers.
Good post but let me clear these two things...A bad loudspeaker will never give you a satisifying sound no matter how expensive source and amp is. Even if they output better sound because of the electronics - it will not help and save the system. The good quality speakers will always keep the frequency and balance right no matter how bad the signal is being fed. Let me use this analogy it is a bit like two people who have different sound of their voice - one has a husky , nice voice with nice timbre , the other shrilling and squeaky in nature. The output from them for the same thing will sound still different. Similar thing with loudspeakers. Secondly, yes it matters. Not that the speakers will be different - it just your personal approach and time span. When you get into the demo room you're a bit excited, have time limit and only at home you can feel a bit more relaxed and much less biased to start to judge the sound, not saying that rather you will not bring your whole electronics to the demo room as well. So yes, a demo room will give you only a partial impression.

And of course - synergy is extremely important ! Right.
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
739
298
5,270
I applaud OP for starting what should be a sticky on any decent hifi forum. At the same time I share a lot of sentiments in comments above, DavidF summed it up nicely.

My two cents would be that yes I'd treat a speaker and the room as a starting point. Many people underestimate the importance of the room and the volume they'll be mostly listening at. It's where many go wrong. Don't consider the size, shape, furnishing, where the speakers will go or where their main listening position will be. They're happy to spend more in an expectation that the "better" = "more expensive" speaker will produce better sound quality showed in just about anywhere. At the same time their unwilling to make changes that are often inexpensive or even free.

Don't get me wrong, I was there to a certain degree.

It is rather sad that many would rather change speakers than adjust speaker placement, their usual listening position or invest in some decent speaker stands. Instead they go on this merry-go-round swapping speakers for something "better" (usually more expensive) looking for answers they may not get.

The issue of amplification and/or source (especially when dealing with digital media) is much easier to address. It's also easier to predict how certain components will interact with given speakers. Of course, demo is a must at all times. I would not go to any extremes here but wouldn't suggest to match up components by price point alone. And to top it all off, I would avoid making my mind up from reading reviews before actually listening.
 

Al ears

Moderator
davedotco said:
davidf said:
Whilst there are some systems that will rub up against the very vague rules concerning this subject, I generally differ.

Yes, speakers can, and usually do make the most noticeable effect on the overall sound. This is because they're not solid state like amplifiers and digital sources, where differences are usually less noticeable. They're analogue, mechanical beings that have a larger scope to affect the sound, good or bad.

I would like to say though that it is surprising just how good a well designed "budget" speaker can be when fed with high quality amplification and source. A speaker can ONLY reproduce what it is given, send them a low quality signal and it can only amplify a low quality signal. Send them a high quality signal, and they have a better "base" to work from, and you're more likely to have a better sounding system. Of course, they're then limited to their own abilities, but above £500, there really shouldn't be any worry about a speaker's quality if it has been built for quality first (not size and output).

Most of the time, people end up with crazy expensive speakers because they've bought an ex demo deal or some used bargain. That's all well and good, everyone likes a bargain, but the majority of the time they don't have the amplifier to handle them properly, and usually end up on a forum complaining that their system doesn't sound as good as the rrp would suggest, or just doesn't excite them. Plus, it also usually means they've bought them without auditioning, so there's not even any guarantee they're going to like what they do - double trouble!

It's about balancing a system. By all means take into account future upgrades, but make sure you make those upgrades, otherwise you fall into the above trap. Putting together a great sounding system isn't just about buying expensive products. It's about balancing the system and getting the right speaker to work in your room.

Another point is that, given the system is the same, the speaker itself will sound exactly the same at home as it does in the dealer's demo room. It can't sound different, it's the same speaker! What is different is how the room's acoustics interacting with the sound coming from the speakers.

Above all though, source is still important. And so is the amplifier, which has to properly drive and control what the loudspeaker needs (and has been designed) to do. By all means start with the speaker you want or need, but then make sure you provide a source with a good enough signal, and an amplifier that can allow those speakers to perform as they have been intended. It's the key to any good sounding system.
Pretty much on the money...*good*
I'd agree also.
 

Gaz37

Well-known member
Sep 23, 2014
58
0
10,540
Running shoes.
Isn't having amazing speakers with a lousy amp and source a bit like giving a fat bloke Usain Bolt's running shoes and wondering why he isn't fast.
However put Mr Bolt in the fat bloke's trainers and he'll still be fast.
 

MajorFubar

New member
Mar 3, 2010
690
3
0
Gaz37 said:
Running shoes. Isn't having amazing speakers with a lousy amp and source a bit like giving a fat bloke Usain Bolt's running shoes and wondering why he isn't fast. However put Mr Bolt in the fat bloke's trainers and he'll still be fast.
No because the difference between an unfit fat bloke and Usain Bolt is far greater than the difference between two half decent digital sources let's say £1500 apart and two half decent amps £1500 apart. Though I'd be with you all the way if we were talking turntables.

Great points made about speaker and room integration, I also agree that you don't just write-off cheaper speakers just because they're cheap, they can sound amazing. I didn't intend t automatically dismiss them.
 

Blacksabbath25

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2015
252
51
10,970
How meany people have you seen come onto this site and ask about speakers that they are interested in but never have a demo but just buy them blind online .

the same can be said about amplifiers too just too easy to buy theses things without trying them first both amplifier and speakers are very important choices to make .
 

Andrewjvt

New member
Jun 18, 2014
99
1
0
Blacksabbath25 said:
How meany people have you seen come onto this site and ask about speakers that they are interested in but never have a demo but just buy them blind online .

the same can be said about amplifiers too just too easy to buy theses things without trying them first both amplifier and speakers are very important choices to make .
Your so right but also its very hard to have a good demo these days. Lots of dealers dont do the combination or are just inflexable.
 

lindsayt

New member
Apr 8, 2011
16
2
0
Blacksabbath25 said:
How meany people have you seen come onto this site and ask about speakers that they are interested in but never have a demo but just buy them blind online .

the same can be said about amplifiers too just too easy to buy theses things without trying them first both amplifier and speakers are very important choices to make .
That'll be me then. Apart from the bit about asking on this site before buying.

A long time ago I used to only buy stuff after a demo. I'm so glad I kicked that habit.

...And at the end of the day, it's only hi-fi equipment. It's not that important at all.
 

Gaz37

Well-known member
Sep 23, 2014
58
0
10,540
Blacksabbath25 said:
How meany people have you seen come onto this site and ask about speakers that they are interested in but never have a demo but just buy them blind online .

the same can be said about amplifiers too just too easy to buy theses things without trying them first both amplifier and speakers are very important choices to make .
Virtually all my purchases are from Ebay so demos are not possible.
I just buy it, try it & if I don't like it, sell it on.
Anybody looking for some Ruark Epilogue II s?
 

Blacksabbath25

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2015
252
51
10,970
Gaz37 said:
Blacksabbath25 said:
How meany people have you seen come onto this site and ask about speakers that they are interested in but never have a demo but just buy them blind online .

the same can be said about amplifiers too just too easy to buy theses things without trying them first both amplifier and speakers are very important choices to make .
Virtually all my purchases are from Ebay so demos are not possible. I just buy it, try it & if I don't like it, sell it on. Anybody looking for some Ruark Epilogue II s?
surely it's a fast way of losing money

would you spend £2000-3000 on speakers without a demo first ?
 

MajorFubar

New member
Mar 3, 2010
690
3
0
Blacksabbath25 said:
How meany people have you seen come onto this site and ask about speakers that they are interested in but never have a demo but just buy them blind online .

the same can be said about amplifiers too just too easy to buy theses things without trying them first both amplifier and speakers are very important choices to make .
The worst are the ones who have already lined up half a dozen 'likelies' based on their requirements and third-party reviews but magically expect us to tell them specifically which one they should buy. Like we're going to know which set of speakers they'll like, based on their ears and how the speakers sound in their room, through some kind of collective osmosis, presumably.
 

lindsayt

New member
Apr 8, 2011
16
2
0
Blacksabbath25 said:
surely it's a fast way of losing money
would you spend £2000-3000 on speakers without a demo first ?
I spent £5500 on speakers that were on a different continent and for which I had no demo.

They're the best speakers I've ever bought - and so they should be at that price.

They're still worth £5500.
 

Frank Harvey

Well-known member
Jun 27, 2008
567
0
18,890
lindsayt said:
I spent £5500 on speakers that were on a different continent and for which I had no demo.

They're the best speakers I've ever bought - and so they should be at that price.

They're still worth £5500.
Thats a big risk though, particularly without any prior knowledge or experience of them.
 

lindsayt

New member
Apr 8, 2011
16
2
0
Wouldn't whether they were a big risk or not depend on what speakers they were, who was selling them and where they were being sold?
 

manicm

Well-known member
May 1, 2008
548
38
18,920
stereoman said:
A bad loudspeaker will never give you a satisifying sound no matter how expensive source and amp is. Even if they output better sound because of the electronics - it will not help and save the system.
The opposite is also true - a bad source or amplification will NEVER make an excellent speaker sound good either. Sometimes it really is a case of garbage in, garbage out. As David said - a budget speaker can be more easily flattered by a good source and amplification, but a great speaker will not be flattered by a bad source.

Where I do agree with the op 100% is to get speakers suitable for the environment.
 

Gaz37

Well-known member
Sep 23, 2014
58
0
10,540
Blacksabbath25 said:
Gaz37 said:
Blacksabbath25 said:
How meany people have you seen come onto this site and ask about speakers that they are interested in but never have a demo but just buy them blind online .

the same can be said about amplifiers too just too easy to buy theses things without trying them first both amplifier and speakers are very important choices to make .
Virtually all my purchases are from Ebay so demos are not possible. I just buy it, try it & if I don't like it, sell it on. Anybody looking for some Ruark Epilogue II s?
surely it's a fast way of losing money 

would you spend £2000-3000 on speakers without a  demo first ?
I cant think of any circumstances, including a 6 figure lottery win, under which I would spend that on a pair of speakers.
However so far I haven't lost any money by buying then selling cheaper speakers, in fact I usually make a small profit
 

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