what's best sounding speaker you have ever heard?

Kingrex

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Feb 4, 2019
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I'm going to go with the Elliot path of thinking. Its not just a speaker, its a system.
Dartzeel - Evolution at Mikes
Wilson - Gryphon at Marty's
Magnepan - AR Ref at Definitive audio.

What all these have similar is a very good room. The first 2 have hyper attention to detail and tuning. The last was probably set up in a few hours.
All have excellent amps and front end equipment supporting them.

At times I am surprised how much I like my speakers. Especially when I have a good 15 ips tape running. If I placed them in a premium room with well integrated subs, I could probably say I don't need to look further. I think my speaker, amp, preamp,15 ips tape and TT are end for me. I still need a better cartridge/phono pre/stand for the vinyl. The digital is never going to make it. But the digital is darn good for daily play, research and general fun listening. I don't ever see having the money to take digital to the next level. I will have a better room one day. We are making another offer on 5 acres on Vashon Island. I will know tomorrow if we have the land. My gut says no, but time will tell.
 

Tango

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I compare components and follow components around. You have to understand a component and a system. Not just one or the other, e.g. when I heard the Zellaton at audio arts with all unfamiliar gear, I followed Brinkmann balance around in many systems including compares. Same with his cartridge (Allaerts) electronics (did a compare of FM phono and pre) and graded the power again didn’t get to do a compare.

When I heard General’s system, I have followed the Vyger around in 10 systems and counting. The red sparrow on different arms. I had a compare of the phono in that system, but got a compare of the preamp couple of years later in another system. Rolled valves on the preamp to understand it. The Mayer 46 power amp is actually in for a compare again this Sunday with an 801 amp. And have heard the speaker with various other amps. Both the speaker and the TT I have heard sound splendid and not.

When I heard Mike’s system, I visited Dartzeel who has the same amps and speakers one level down. I’ve heard big darts on Stenheim with a compare two months ago. I heard the smaller Dartzeel, the integrated, the cartridge he used in different systems. I am visiting Mike again and have heard the CS port today, compared the linear tracker, have heard the DaVa, this will more continue at Mike’s and post Mike’s visit. Dava will be heard at Bill’s, Leif, and compared with Neumann and Analog DmT

Part of the hobby is understanding the character of the components that make a system work. And you have to understand them in different contexts to understand them. Listening in same context for hours on end is pointless. Those who don’t get it quickly in the same context are poor auditioners. They have the wrong recordings and don’t know what to listen for.

I try to understand my valve components with tube rolls. Every speaker I recommend I have heard in multiple rooms and set ups. Same with any other components in the chain. Things I don’t like such as Wilson and Magico I have heard in even more set ups than the ones I like. All carts I like I have heard in multiple contexts and try to hear them with different arms and phonos.

the Sigma MAAT speaker I am now listening in multiple rooms with multiple amps.

I often buy gear and post it around then visit to compare
Smart gear slut.
 

DasguteOhr

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Sep 26, 2013
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I liked the video of those stacked Quads, too.

I would have to spend serious time with a setup to declare any kind of 'winner', and the only thing I can do that with is my own system. Sometimes different might sound better just because it's different, until you get used to it, and it just becomes different, not necessarily better.
it doesn't take long to get used to. At first you are shocked how much more detail you can hear from the music. the best part is that the quad does it without being annoying and the musicality doesn't suffer. the big hook is quad esl 57 got in good condition. New Mylar films and electronic components cost a lot of money. new wooden side parts also necessary different angle of attack. Calculate 10,000-12,000€ for 4 Quad Electronstats. best contact person for revision manfred stein , Gering germany


P. S refurbished pair really cheap
 
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KeithR

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I compare components and follow components around. You have to understand a component and a system. Not just one or the other, e.g. when I heard the Zellaton at audio arts with all unfamiliar gear, I followed Brinkmann balance around in many systems including compares. Same with his cartridge (Allaerts) electronics (did a compare of FM phono and pre) and graded the power again didn’t get to do a compare.


I often buy gear and post it around then visit to compare
thought you were done with audio, soured on the hobby and only going to live concerts. what changed? you ever going to build the system in your signature?

how was the big Dart/Stenheim system?
 

bonzo75

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thought you were done with audio, soured on the hobby and only going to live concerts. what changed? you ever going to build the system in your signature?

how was the big Dart/Stenheim system?

i never said I soured with audio. And with addiction there is no souring. the second question has already been answered multiple times.

dart stenheim was good. I preferred audionec. Dart takes some setting up like Mike does.
 
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Ron Resnick

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bonzo75

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Ron Resnick

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Did you know Audionec uses the unique driver developed by Paul Paddock, a newer version of which is in his MC Audiotech speakers? (Paul is the designer I had a in-depth interview with in 2021.)

Several members of the Los Angeles/Long Beach Audio Group disagreed, but I think his driver — and the MC Audiotech speaker — are great!
 
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Jim Smith

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Of over a thousand systems that I have voiced to rooms, my favorite - at delivering the highest level of Musical Engagement - used the Vivid Audio G1 Spirits.

But the room - as well as the associated components - always enter powerfully into the Musical Engagement aspect, so some of my longer-term favorites could possibly have been better there, as we didn't do any comparisons.


 
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Ron Resnick

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Of over a thousand systems that I have voiced to rooms, my favorite - at delivering the highest level of Musical Engagement - used the Vivid Audio G1 Spirits.

This nomination is very interesting, Jim!

Would you please kindly tell us what is it sonically about the G1 Spirit (in that room) which created for you the highest level of musical engagement you have experienced?

What was so great acoustically about that room?

Thank you!
 
In no particular order: MBL, Sanders Sound, YFS–modified YG, ATC, Avalon…all completely different in their feel and presentation but all insanely high quality and heads above their competition. And yes; each of these was a complete system so that and the rooms contributed. The first three were at hifi shows no less!
 

marty

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I'm going to go with the Elliot path of thinking. Its not just a speaker, its a system.
Dartzeel - Evolution at Mikes
Wilson - Gryphon at Marty's
Magnepan - AR Ref at Definitive audio.

What all these have similar is a very good room. The first 2 have hyper attention to detail and tuning. The last was probably set up in a few hours.
All have excellent amps and front end equipment supporting them.
You heard the system an hour after some guy named Rex rewired the room with copper wire and trashed the aluminum buss panel board that the builder installed. It took 30+ days for the silver plated copper buss panel to settle down. The system has also since benefited from a Horizon DAC (armed with Sylvania 6SN7W/B65 metal base triodes or the incredible Mullard ECC32/31), a Reed 5T tonearm and perhaps most importantly, some Wilson customized speaker settings.

When Wilson provides installation placement settings for the modules of the Alexx V, it cannot provide precise settings for every possible listening height and distance since publishing every possible configuration would not be feasible. So the user must interpolate to come up with the best guess for module placement if the user's height and distances fall between the published values that Wilson provides in their set-up instructions. However, upon request, they will calculate precise module settings for one's exact listening parameters. In my case, I guessed correctly at the exact settings Wilson calculated for 2 of the modules, but missed by a considerable amount on the tweeter module setting. The sonic difference in the settings that Bill Peugh provided was therefore very significant. The tweeter was always a bit forward with a slight peak at 2.5K that has since been tamed beautifully. Hard to imagine, but not entirely surprising, what a few mm in module placement can do! I can only say that as good as it was, it's far more musically pleasing now.

As I've noted previously, it would have to be pure serendipity that a listener would be perfectly aligned with the ideal settings for an Alexx V at a show or a dealer as the optimal parameters are totally dependent on listener ear height as well as ear distance from the speaker. But when it's "on", it's quite something to behold. It really is a classic case of "the devil's in the details". Fortunately, they are details that Dave and Daryl paid a whole lot of attention to mastering in their development of the Alexx V.
 
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Kingsrule

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For me the Levinson HQD system still stands out as the best speaker I have heard.

Goodwins on Newbury Street.......
 
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Elliot G.

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I think one of the things about audio that is not accomplished is that so many never get the opportunity to hear what is actually possible in High End Audio. I know people won't like what I am about to say but it is true. The best sound possible is not nor has it ever been at audio shows.
One cannot in a few hours in a hotel room accomplish what can be done in a dedicated well built and treated room, with all the important factors being addressed. Sorry guys this is fact.

If the best you have heard is at an audio show I suggest that you try to get an invite to listen to a mature reference level installation somewhere.
I have been to Marty's home, perhaps not as it sits now, I have been to Mike Lavigne's home these are both examples of a high level mature system in a very well done room.
I think this is important to have experiences like this to see somewhat of the possibilities. There are some manufacturers that have listening facilities in which they have addressed this however not many. The skill to set up and install as well as have or build a great room are not the same as building a product.
I know Magico just built one, I know Gobel High End is in the process of building two rooms in its new building. I have been to many factories and have only seen a few with serious listening rooms. Sad but true. Not all the reviewers have quality facilities either.
I have heard a few truly amazing examples of a fully done system and the differences between those experiences and what one hears at any show is huge.
IMO the room and the gear has to fit . All speakers don't work alike. All speakers don't work in the same size room. So the wrong speaker will never get to its proper level in the wrong room.

Just one more thought audio takes at least as much effort as it does cash to get to a true high end system. These are like race cars, unique and not the same as what you can buy at the local dealer.
It has always been obvious to me that everyone thinks they know but they don't know what they don't know. That's A huge amount lol
My intent here is not to put anyone down but rather to try to open their eyes and ears so they might be able to find a view of end game sound systems.

My list includes the two systems mentioned
Harry Pearson's - on multiple times and three different systems as the industry grew and changed
QRS-1D, IRS and Scaena system ( sorry I don't what they call the big ones)
My friend Alan Eichenbaums Scaena system in his new home, not the old one.
I can name a few more but since I have involvement in those I won't.
 
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andromedaaudio

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If we re talking cones , i like my own off course otherwise i wouldn t have made them that way .

Furthermore Kharma Exquisite series speakers , Midi grand or Classic .
Rockport Lyra
Vivid Giya V3

My best Small floorstander cone is being worked on with a release date of next year
 
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thomask

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Dec 9, 2018
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I think one of the things about audio that is not accomplished is that so many never get the opportunity to hear what is actually possible in High End Audio. I know people won't like what I am about to say but it is true. The best sound possible is not nor has it ever been at audio shows.
One cannot in a few hours in a hotel room accomplish what can be done in a dedicated well built and treated room, with all the important factors being addressed. Sorry guys this is fact.

If the best you have heard is at an audio show I suggest that you try to get an invite to listen to a mature reference level installation somewhere.
I have been to Marty's home, perhaps not as it sits now, I have been to Mike Lavigne's home these are both examples of a high level mature system in a very well done room.
I think this is important to have experiences like this to see somewhat of the possibilities. There are some manufacturers that have listening facilities in which they have addressed this however not many. The skill to set up and install as well as have or build a great room are not the same as building a product.
I know Magico just built one, I know Gobel High End is in the process of building two rooms in its new building. I have been to many factories and have only seen a few with serious listening rooms. Sad but true. Not all the reviewers have quality facilities either.
I have heard a few truly amazing examples of a fully done system and the differences between those experiences and what one hears at any show is huge.
IMO the room and the gear has to fit . All speakers don't work alike. All speakers don't work in the same size room. So the wrong speaker will never get to its proper level in the wrong room.

Just one more thought audio takes at least as much effort as it does cash to get to a true high end system. These are like race cars, unique and not the same as what you can buy at the local dealer.
It has always been obvious to me that everyone thinks they know but they don't know what they don't know. That's A huge amount lol
My intent here is not to put anyone down but rather to try to open their eyes and ears so they might be able to find a view of end game sound systems.

My list includes the two systems mentioned
Harry Pearson's - on multiple times and three different systems as the industry grew and changed
QRS-1D, IRS and Scaena system ( sorry I don't what they call the big ones)
My friend Alan Eichenbaums Scaena system in his new home, not the old one.
I can name a few more but since I have involvement in those I won't.
I am also happy with my Scaena sytem right now although I use Altec A7 basshorn for bass 290 hz down.

Two 18 inch Scaena subwoofers then cover 56hz and down.


But the best sound that I had ever heard is from Western Vintage big horn with plasma tweeter at my friend's listening room in Korea.
 

PeterA

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Dec 7, 2011
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I think I would rather have a large room with a high ceiling and my chosen system set up by a guy who knows what he is doing than a dedicated and treated audiophile room with the same system and set up. I just prefer being in a normal but large room with normal furniture. Nice paintings, books, sofas, rugs. A knowledgable guy will be able to get it to sound right.
 

Elliot G.

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Jul 22, 2010
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I think I would rather have a large room with a high ceiling and my chosen system set up by a guy who knows what he is doing than a dedicated and treated audiophile room with the same system and set up. I just prefer being in a normal but large room with normal furniture. Nice paintings, books, sofas, rugs. A knowledgable guy will be able to get it to sound right.
that's fine but you need to realize the compromise you are choosing. You may get close but not all the way there.
There is the best one can do in a space and the best possible in a space. Again a streetcar is not a race car.
 

gian60

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Apr 17, 2016
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A stacked quad esl 57 driven with otl amps, best resolution , best midrange ever. The smoothness and clarity simply divine.didn't bother me at all that the instruments were shown larger. the bass was perfect enough for me.
Exsample with other amps
Congrats,
i always liked this system.
I also remember very well when in 1982 i listened in Paris ML system with 6 ML2

Was shocking,when entered in the room they were playing La Folia De La Espana,Gregorio Paniagua,i remember also now,fantastic.

What do you have in the middle of 2 Quad? Electrostatic tweeter RTR?
 

gian60

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Apr 17, 2016
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I compare components and follow components around. You have to understand a component and a system. Not just one or the other, e.g. when I heard the Zellaton at audio arts with all unfamiliar gear, I followed Brinkmann balance around in many systems including compares. Same with his cartridge (Allaerts) electronics (did a compare of FM phono and pre) and graded the power again didn’t get to do a compare.

When I heard General’s system, I have followed the Vyger around in 10 systems and counting. The red sparrow on different arms. I had a compare of the phono in that system, but got a compare of the preamp couple of years later in another system. Rolled valves on the preamp to understand it. The Mayer 46 power amp is actually in for a compare again this Sunday with an 801 amp. And have heard the speaker with various other amps. Both the speaker and the TT I have heard sound splendid and not.

When I heard Mike’s system, I visited Dartzeel who has the same amps and speakers one level down. I’ve heard big darts on Stenheim with a compare two months ago. I heard the smaller Dartzeel, the integrated, the cartridge he used in different systems. I am visiting Mike again and have heard the CS port today, compared the linear tracker, have heard the DaVa, this will more continue at Mike’s and post Mike’s visit. Dava will be heard at Bill’s, Leif, and compared with Neumann and Analog DmT

Part of the hobby is understanding the character of the components that make a system work. And you have to understand them in different contexts to understand them. Listening in same context for hours on end is pointless. Those who don’t get it quickly in the same context are poor auditioners. They have the wrong recordings and don’t know what to listen for.

I try to understand my valve components with tube rolls. Every speaker I recommend I have heard in multiple rooms and set ups. Same with any other components in the chain. Things I don’t like such as Wilson and Magico I have heard in even more set ups than the ones I like. All carts I like I have heard in multiple contexts and try to hear them with different arms and phonos.

the Sigma MAAT speaker I am now listening in multiple rooms with multiple amps.

I often buy gear and post it around then visit to compare
You always claim with me that i always buy some,but you ,with all money you spent in last 10 years to visit all the people in all the world for 2/3 times,now you could be sit at home listening Vyger,Ongaku and an horn speaker
 
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