Rank the Top GR Research Speakers

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BrandonB

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Rank the Top GR Research Speakers
« on: 31 Aug 2023, 06:29 pm »
Several people have been built and listened to many different GR Research speakers.  I think it would be interesting and fun to rank their top 5 to 10 favorites comparing their strengths and weakness's.  This includes speakers in the past that are no longer in production such as the LS9's, Super 7's, LS6's etc.   To today's XLS-Encore, NX-Ottica, NX-xtreme, NX-studio the Brute. 

Tyson

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Re: Rank the Top GR Research Speakers
« Reply #1 on: 31 Aug 2023, 06:51 pm »
I've heard a bunch of them.  And owned a few as well. 

The GR Research Line Force is the best speaker I've ever heard.  By a lot.  If you have the space, and can source the drivers and can afford it, well it's the pinnacle of speakers today. 

After that, it really depends on room size and music preference.  If you have a very large room, the NX-Treme is the best bet.  Or if you can find one of the older line array models, they are also excellent for larger spaces.

Medium sized rooms are very well served by the Super 7 (again, if you can find the drivers) and the NX-Otica.  If you listen to pop/rock then the NX-Otica is the better speaker.  If you listen to Classical/Jazz, then the Super 7 is better. 

For smaller rooms, the NX-Studio is a no-brainer.  The 2nd best bookshelf speaker I've ever heard (after the TAD Reference Bookshelf).  The NX-Studios are especially good if you build out a pair of OB subs to act as stands for them.

Denton J

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Re: Rank the Top GR Research Speakers
« Reply #2 on: 31 Aug 2023, 08:29 pm »
I've heard the Nx-Tremes, Nx Studios, triple OB subs & the LGK 2.1's.  For small rooms, the LGK 2.1's were a pleasant  surprise, I have the 2.1's in my home office. I would rather have the Nx Tremes than the Nx Studios but it's a matter of the room & space.

Jaytor

Re: Rank the Top GR Research Speakers
« Reply #3 on: 31 Aug 2023, 09:17 pm »
My ranking is pretty much the same as Tyson's. I have not heard the NX-Tremes though.

Of the GR-Research speakers I've owned or heard, I'd rank them as follows.

Line Force with stereo quad-driver OB subs. These are currently my main speakers. They are pretty exceptional. They have world-class detail and sound-staging. I have only had the quad sub towers for a little while, so don't have them fully dialed in yet. But I was using the Line Forces with triple subs previously and with these, the sound was nicely integrated.

The only speakers I've heard that I like slightly more are the Alsyvox Bottecelli X (retails for $120K), but these speakers were being driven by electronics costing well into six figures. In this system, the Bottecelli X have exceptional coherence top-to-bottom, a bit more grunt in the upper bass, and excellent dynamics that I haven't yet been able to match with my Line Forces. But the Bottecellis were being driven with 600w/channel amps, while I'm using a 15W SET amp.

I think the Line Forces with servo OB sub towers have the potential to get very close to (or even match/exceed in some cases) the performance of the Bottecelli X speakers with comparable electronics and perhaps some further improvements to crossover components.

Super Seven - I've heard these a couple times when visiting Jay (captainhemo) up in BC. They also have excellent detail and nice tone. They don't have quite the sound stage or energy that the Line Forces with OB subs have, but are truly excellent speakers.  Jay's room is quite a bit smaller than mine, so in a larger room, they might have the potential to get even closer to the Line Forces.

NX-Otica with stereo Triple Threat subs. I owned these for a couple years before getting the Line Forces. They are now in my son's house. These are a tremendous value. I like the added detail that the Super Sevens have over the NX-Oticas, but the NX-Oticas have a bit more energy in the upper-bass which makes them work particularly well for jazz, blues, and electronic music.

I think you'd have to pay quite a bit more to get better performance, assuming your room is big enough to get them at least several feet from the the wall behind them.

NX-Studio - I have a pair of these in my bedroom system. Given they only have two drivers, they are closer in performance to the NX-Oticas than you'd expect, particularly for jazz and folk music. Compared to the other speakers on my list, they start to sound a bit strained at higher volumes, and a bit congested on more complex music, but this is all relative.

I have a pair of Totem Mani-2s which are fairly similar in size to the NX-Studios. The Mani-2s are no longer available, but sold for $4000 25 years ago (about $8K in '23 dollars). The NX-Studios have a much more open sound stage with better detail in the midrange and high frequencies, but the Mani-2s win in the bass. This is probably the biggest weakness of the NX-Studios, so if you like bass, you really need to add a sub or two.

Early B.

Re: Rank the Top GR Research Speakers
« Reply #4 on: 31 Aug 2023, 09:42 pm »
It's no surprise this list is based on size/price. With speakers in the same family, bigger is typically better. Again, no surprises here since the foundation of most music is bass. The secret sauce of GR Research speakers is OB servo subs, and the more you have, the better it sounds.     

Glady86

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Re: Rank the Top GR Research Speakers
« Reply #5 on: 31 Aug 2023, 10:01 pm »
 I agree that the NX Oticas need a lot of space behind them to open up the 3d like sound staging. Mine are 6 feet 7 inches from the baffle to the front wall with toe in pointing (approximately) to the outside of my shoulders. Moving them out that far decreased the bass output in my room so I need to use the subs in this position.

 The Nx Oticas are the only GR speakers Ive heard but I think most would be satisfied with them if they put in enough effort to get them set up properly.

Glady86

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Re: Rank the Top GR Research Speakers
« Reply #6 on: 31 Aug 2023, 10:05 pm »
It's no surprise this list is based on size/price. With speakers in the same family, bigger is typically better. Again, no surprises here since the foundation of most music is bass. The secret sauce of GR Research speakers is OB servo subs, and the more you have, the better it sounds.   

  Shut up  :lol: I need the subs, probably order them sometime soon.

Denton J

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Re: Rank the Top GR Research Speakers
« Reply #7 on: 31 Aug 2023, 10:41 pm »
Does anyone know why Neo stopped making the drivers necessary to build out a Line Force?  I feel kinda cheated here.

Jaytor

Re: Rank the Top GR Research Speakers
« Reply #8 on: 31 Aug 2023, 10:49 pm »
These drivers were produced by Bohlender Graebener. BG was acquired by Christie Digital, a company that specializes in sound systems for theaters and concert halls. They decided that they wanted to use the drivers for their own business and stopped selling them to OEMs.

Danny has developed his own version of the NEO 3 which is what is used in the NX-Studio, NX-Otica, and NX-Treme. He has been working on a NEO 10 replacement, but has not been satisfied with the prototypes to date.

Parts Express sells a similar product under their GRS brand, but their NEO 10 does not have the performance of the BG driver.

Radian has recently introduced a 10" NEO-style driver which looks very promising. It is not exactly the same dimensions as the BG driver, so will need cabinet modifications as well as new crossovers to work in the Super Seven and Line Force designs, but the potential is there.

corndog71

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Re: Rank the Top GR Research Speakers
« Reply #9 on: 31 Aug 2023, 10:54 pm »
I haven’t heard the NX series speakers. 

I do own Super 7s and while I find them very fast and clean sounding I have struggled to make them disappear like so many other high end speakers I’ve heard.  I admit it could be the rooms I’ve had them in over the years which often were on the small side.  It could also be my electronics.  Nevertheless,  they are exceptional speakers.

I would also like to give kudos to the X-series speakers.  I have X-SLS in my living room and they never cease to impress me.  I used to write them off as just good speakers but over time they’ve more than proven to be great speakers for the money.

I also have X-Omni which are unique but really perform best as surround speakers or in smaller rooms.  Big rooms show their limitations as mains.

I have X-Voce which makes for a great center channel speaker.  Only downside is it’s big!

Finally, I have X-Statiks which are my all time favorites.  They throw a big soundstage that not only makes music sound good but movies and tv shows fill the room with ambiance that regular box speakers just don’t have.  They are a ridiculous value for the money! 

For the record I’ve also owned X-LS and X-CS and enjoyed them as well.

While the X-Series can be bested by more expensive speakers, I think they are a tremendous value for the money and an easy recommendation for those on tighter budgets.

I’m seriously considering picking up the Brutes once I get my listening room rebuilt.  I can swap those out for my Super 7 tops for when I want to rock out.

Tyson

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Re: Rank the Top GR Research Speakers
« Reply #10 on: 31 Aug 2023, 10:55 pm »

Line Force with stereo quad-driver OB subs.
The only speakers I've heard that I like slightly more are the Alsyvox Bottecelli X (retails for $120K), but these speakers were being driven by electronics costing well into six figures. In this system, the Bottecelli X have exceptional coherence top-to-bottom, a bit more grunt in the upper bass, and excellent dynamics that I haven't yet been able to match with my Line Forces. But the Bottecellis were being driven with 600w/channel amps, while I'm using a 15W SET amp.

Super Seven - I've heard these a couple times when visiting Jay (captainhemo) up in BC. They also have excellent detail and nice tone. They don't have quite the sound stage or energy that the Line Forces with OB subs have, but are truly excellent speakers.  Jay's room is quite a bit smaller than mine, so in a larger room, they might have the potential to get even closer to the Line Forces.

NX-Otica with stereo Triple Threat subs. I owned these for a couple years before getting the Line Forces. They are now in my son's house. These are a tremendous value. I like the added detail that the Super Sevens have over the NX-Oticas, but the NX-Oticas have a bit more energy in the upper-bass which makes them work particularly well for jazz, blues, and electronic music.

I think you'd have to pay quite a bit more to get better performance, assuming your room is big enough to get them at least several feet from the the wall behind them.

NX-Studio - I have a pair of these in my bedroom system. Given they only have two drivers, they are closer in performance to the NX-Oticas than you'd expect, particularly for jazz and folk music. Compared to the other speakers on my list, they start to sound a bit strained at higher volumes, and a bit congested on more complex music, but this is all relative.

I have a pair of Totem Mani-2s which are fairly similar in size to the NX-Studios. The Mani-2s are no longer available, but sold for $4000 25 years ago (about $8K in '23 dollars). The NX-Studios have a much more open sound stage with better detail in the midrange and high frequencies, but the Mani-2s win in the bass. This is probably the biggest weakness of the NX-Studios, so if you like bass, you really need to add a sub or two.


Hi Jay, try the First Watt Aleph J with the Line Force speakers.  It's a Pass design, so it has that tube-like midrange pure class A sound, but also a fair bit of grunt and punch in the upper bass.  I've heard almost all the First Watt and Pass amps and the Aleph J is my 2nd favorite.  The BA3 is my actual #1 choice, but it's softer and less dynamic than the Aleph. 

The Super 7 is exceptional but lacks the lower midrange and upper bass heft needed to play at the level of the Line Force.  The NX-Otica has the heft in the bass but does not match the blazing speed and breathtaking purity of the Super-7's midrange.  So, a tradeoff, for sure.

And you are absolutely right about the NX-Studios, they have good (but not amazing) bass.  I think that was an intentional design choice - keep the bass clean and linear and really optimize the speaker for mid/highs performance.  Without subs, they are still very good.  With matching OB subs, they are world beaters.  I'd say the NX-Studio plus OB subs gets you about 80% of the full range NX-Otica sound.  Quite a bargain.

On a side note, one nice thing about the Super 7's is their crazy high efficiency and very easy impedance load.  It opens up a huge world of amps.  In fact, right now I'm running it with a 1.5 watt TAL Korneff Type 45 SET and it sounds glorious.  I've had this amp for a long time and the Super 7 is the only speaker that it actually lets it fully shine.  The NX-Oticas can't do that, neither could the Spatial Audio X3's, nor could the modded Klipsche Forte III's I had for a while. 

Jaytor

Re: Rank the Top GR Research Speakers
« Reply #11 on: 31 Aug 2023, 11:06 pm »
I do own Super 7s and while I find them very fast and clean sounding I have struggled to make them disappear like so many other high end speakers I’ve heard.  I admit it could be the rooms I’ve had them in over the years which often were on the small side.  It could also be my electronics.  Nevertheless,  they are exceptional speakers.

I haven't listened to them enough to assess this aspect of their performance. I wonder if this is because of the wider baffle compared to the NX-Otica and Line Forces, which I found to completely disappear in my room. Diffusors and a fair amount of space behind the speakers helps a lot.

Tyson

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Re: Rank the Top GR Research Speakers
« Reply #12 on: 31 Aug 2023, 11:07 pm »
I haven’t heard the NX series speakers. 

I do own Super 7s and while I find them very fast and clean sounding I have struggled to make them disappear like so many other high end speakers I’ve heard.  I admit it could be the rooms I’ve had them in over the years which often were on the small side.  It could also be my electronics.  Nevertheless,  they are exceptional speakers.

I would also like to give kudos to the X-series speakers.  I have X-SLS in my living room and they never cease to impress me.  I used to write them off as just good speakers but over time they’ve more than proven to be great speakers for the money.

I also have X-Omni which are unique but really perform best as surround speakers or in smaller rooms.  Big rooms show their limitations as mains.

I have X-Voce which makes for a great center channel speaker.  Only downside is it’s big!

Finally, I have X-Statiks which are my all time favorites.  They throw a big soundstage that not only makes music sound good but movies and tv shows fill the room with ambiance that regular box speakers just don’t have.  They are a ridiculous value for the money! 

For the record I’ve also owned X-LS and X-CS and enjoyed them as well.

While the X-Series can be bested by more expensive speakers, I think they are a tremendous value for the money and an easy recommendation for those on tighter budgets.

I’m seriously considering picking up the Brutes once I get my listening room rebuilt.  I can swap those out for my Super 7 tops for when I want to rock out.

Re: getting the Super 7's to disappear, I find you have to have them at least 5 feet out in the room, it's best to listen quasi-nearfield, and use absorption on the sides.  The tweeters are also very directional, so tilt the speaker forward a bit and angle them in so the tweeters are pointing right outside your ears.  Pointed at your shoulders, but at ear height, if that makes sense.  Once you get them fully imaging, it's pretty impressive (the soundstage is cavernous). 

Jaytor

Re: Rank the Top GR Research Speakers
« Reply #13 on: 31 Aug 2023, 11:12 pm »
Hi Jay, try the First Watt Aleph J with the Line Force speakers.  It's a Pass design, so it has that tube-like midrange pure class A sound, but also a fair bit of grunt and punch in the upper bass.  I've heard almost all the First Watt and Pass amps and the Aleph J is my 2nd favorite.  The BA3 is my actual #1 choice, but it's softer and less dynamic than the Aleph. 
I had the Pass XA60.8s for a while, but liked the sound of my 300B SET amps better. I'm a vocal junkie and the sound from these amps on vocals is hard to beat. But I agree that the Pass amps do a bit better with upper bass punch.

My next experiment is to try active crossovers. I've purchased a Danville Signal dspNexus 2/8 and am going to try using my 300B amp on the NEO10s and my Neurochrome amps on the NEO3s. This will make it easier to do steeper crossover slopes between the subs, NEO10s and NEO3s, and apply some equalization and time alignment.

Tyson

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Re: Rank the Top GR Research Speakers
« Reply #14 on: 31 Aug 2023, 11:32 pm »
I had the Pass XA60.8s for a while, but liked the sound of my 300B SET amps better. I'm a vocal junkie and the sound from these amps on vocals is hard to beat. But I agree that the Pass amps do a bit better with upper bass punch.

My next experiment is to try active crossovers. I've purchased a Danville Signal dspNexus 2/8 and am going to try using my 300B amp on the NEO10s and my Neurochrome amps on the NEO3s. This will make it easier to do steeper crossover slopes between the subs, NEO10s and NEO3s, and apply some equalization and time alignment.

I too am a vocal junkie.  The Aleph is a lot better than the 60's.  I mean, it'll never beat an SET for midrange, but it gets MUCH closer than the 60's.  Or really any SS amp I've heard.  For the peanuts that it sells for, it's worth checking out. 

I recently moved my Aleph from the boring basic box that it was in from the DIY Audio store and into a full silver aluminum case so the looks actually match the amazing sound now.

Original boring box:




New badass full aluminum box:









Sorry for getting off topic!  I'm just super impressed with this amp and it's a crazy bargain for the sound you get. 

Jaytor

Re: Rank the Top GR Research Speakers
« Reply #15 on: 1 Sep 2023, 12:02 am »
Nice. Same enclosure I used for my F5 turbo monoblocks.






Tyson

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Re: Rank the Top GR Research Speakers
« Reply #16 on: 1 Sep 2023, 12:12 am »
That's too funny man! 

poseidonsvoice

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Re: Rank the Top GR Research Speakers
« Reply #17 on: 1 Sep 2023, 12:58 am »
Tyson,

Is that the Aleph J or the Aleph J Zen?

Different amp and yup, listened to both

Best,
Anand.

Tyson

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Re: Rank the Top GR Research Speakers
« Reply #18 on: 1 Sep 2023, 01:18 am »
Tyson,

Is that the Aleph J or the Aleph J Zen?

Different amp and yup, listened to both

Best,
Anand.

Nice! 

Mine is the Zen mod.  I ended up using it full time in my HT setup in the basement, driving the NX-Oticas, a perfect match.  Very clear, clean, dynamic and punchy, while still letting the emotion through.

BrandonB

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Re: Rank the Top GR Research Speakers
« Reply #19 on: 1 Sep 2023, 01:33 am »
These drivers were produced by Bohlender Graebener. BG was acquired by Christie Digital, a company that specializes in sound systems for theaters and concert halls. They decided that they wanted to use the drivers for their own business and stopped selling them to OEMs.

Danny has developed his own version of the NEO 3 which is what is used in the NX-Studio, NX-Otica, and NX-Treme. He has been working on a NEO 10 replacement, but has not been satisfied with the prototypes to date.

Parts Express sells a similar product under their GRS brand, but their NEO 10 does not have the performance of the BG driver.

Radian has recently introduced a 10" NEO-style driver which looks very promising. It is not exactly the same dimensions as the BG driver, so will need cabinet modifications as well as new crossovers to work in the Super Seven and Line Force designs, but the potential is there.
I was watching a YouTube video and the son of the man that owned BG was working for PS Audio designing their new speakers.