Name the finest pair of loud speakers you have heard

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THROWBACK

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Re: Name the finest pair of loud speakers you have heard
« Reply #280 on: 19 Jan 2014, 05:45 pm »
Tough question. Tough because there really is no answer. Speakers are part of a system and a non-optimum part anywhere in the system can swamp out the good qualities of the system or any of its other parts. That being said, however, I had double KLH 9's twice and loved them. Wish I still had them.

Sea-Bee

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Re: Name the finest pair of loud speakers you have heard
« Reply #281 on: 19 Jan 2014, 07:07 pm »
Modified Electro-Voice Wolverine speakers, I have a pair now.

The woofers are a pair of EV-FOUR 12" 10LB magnets
The midranges are MR-10 horns (new K-77 diaphragms "kit" )
The tweeters are TW35 (with K-77 kits)

CR-10 Midrange crossovers with Dayton 1% capacitors  (modified to be 12dB)
CR-35 Tweeter crossovers Dayton 1% capacitors (modified to be 12dB)



Before upgrade


After upgrade


KITTY



bdp24

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Re: Name the finest pair of loud speakers you have heard
« Reply #282 on: 20 Jan 2014, 02:42 am »
Tough question. Tough because there really is no answer. Speakers are part of a system and a non-optimum part anywhere in the system can swamp out the good qualities of the system or any of its other parts. That being said, however, I had double KLH 9's twice and loved them. Wish I still had them.

Excellent answer, and I would only put in stacked Quads for the double KLH 9's, which I never got to hear (or even see!).

Tyson

Re: Name the finest pair of loud speakers you have heard
« Reply #283 on: 28 Jan 2014, 07:05 pm »
I'd say it was a tie - the TAD Compact Reference driven by all TAD equipment just blew my socks off at RMAF, and the GR Research designed Serenity 7 speakers did too:






For using such disparate approaches, they both have very similar strengths - transparency, dynamics, imaging, clarity, smoothness, and FUN. 

apt_one

Re: Name the finest pair of loud speakers you have heard
« Reply #284 on: 14 Jun 2017, 11:55 pm »
I was lucky enough to hear that system at Excalibur Audio back in 1984, the Temptation album played on a Sota table with CJ premier mono bloacks and the Infinity Ref Std speakers. The air and sound depth of that system was breathtaking.

S Clark

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Re: Name the finest pair of loud speakers you have heard
« Reply #285 on: 15 Jun 2017, 03:43 am »
Danny Richie's all electrostatic line array in a milled aeronautic Al alloy frame with 12 open baffle servo subwoofers.  It blew away my LS9's, it was better than any of the TAD's, better than the Serenity 7 (and I completely agree with Tyson's RMAF rating), better than Wilsons (and I like Wilson speakers), better than German plasma stuff,  better than any thing I have ever heard.  Maybe Rich Hollis can top them when he finishes his electrostatic design, but as of today, they are king. 

James Romeyn

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Re: Name the finest pair of loud speakers you have heard
« Reply #286 on: 15 Jun 2017, 04:35 am »
I'd say it was a tie - the TAD Compact Reference driven by all TAD equipment just blew my socks off at RMAF, and the GR Research designed Serenity 7 speakers did too:






For using such disparate approaches, they both have very similar strengths - transparency, dynamics, imaging, clarity, smoothness, and FUN.

Did you hear the TAD in Dynamic Sounds' room at RMAF circa 2015?  Absolutely mind boggling, in mono no less, vinyl source. 

I've heard too many of the world's best to pick only one.

First, the best reproduced sound I ever heard was not a pair, but rather eight matched speakers, two per corner, Ray Kimber's Iso mic system at CES circa mid-late 00s.  This is the last time Ray set up eight x 8 foot tall Sound Lab 'stats, playing Ray's original 4.0 native DSD Iso Mic program, four or eight Pass Class A amps each as big as a foot locker.  Likely multiple DSD DACs.  Later I heard Ray's similar Iso Mic demo but with four TAD Reference 1s, and with all due respect to TAD and Andrew Jones, not in the ball park v. the stats.

Another multi-ch system that likely outperformed any 2-ch format: estimate 2015 RMAF, exaSound room: 5.0 native DSD program > exaSound e20 > Bryston 5-ch power amp > five mid size Maggies (LCR close to front wall + rear corners)

Two speaker wise:

Duntech Sovereign 2001 designed by Ray Dunlavy, early 90s, CES, Riviera Hotel

Aforementioned TAD stand mounts, mono vinyl, Beatles program, like G. Harrison and John Lennon were raised from the dead.

Really, VMPS' very last flag ship, RM50 bipolar, 2x 30 lb 12s per side, Brian finally used DSP to notch out the 6 dB bump @ 1kHz in the planar mids, outperformed all prior VMPS including the RM60 Wings.  (Likely my all time second favorite VMPS model is the mid/late 80s Strathearn direct-coupled true ribbon...each ribbon about 1.3 Ohm, several wired in series)

Infinity IRS III likely setup as good as they can sound, Sony DAT playing Telarc Stravinksy Firebird Suite, WOW!  BTW, in the 90s, at CES Riviera Hotel, in a room in which I worked, Peter McGrath brought in a DAT and CD he mastered, both of the exact same program.  A few journalists, John Curl, Ed Meitner, and others experienced AB test, CD v. DAT > Theta's $5k DAC (in early/mid 90s dollars that was actual money) > Threshold FET-1 with Curl's custom PS > Meitner 100W mosfet mono > VMPS ST IIa/R fine tuned and sounding fantastic.  Speakers on short wall, long wall 25-30 feet.  To say the DAT outperformed the CD is a ridiculous understatement.  Everyone in the room agreed it sounded like two different performances.  I suspect McGrath had already performed such AB test and knew the outcome.  My first direct experience that the silver disc might have some problems.   

IMF transmission line flag ship, early 90s at CES, Riviera Hotel (demolished after the last Bourne movie filmed there so I'm told) can't remember the model

TAD Reference 1, circa late 90s/early 00s, huge Pass Class A amps, playing Boz Scaggs' My Funny Valentine, Pacific Microsonics DAC/ADC (recorded w/this ADC, playing the original HD on which it was recorded), Boz singing solo while playing his 9' grand at his San Francisco home, absolutely terrifyingly delicious

JBL current M1 model, at Big Fish Automation, Layton, Utah, circa 2016, in their huge borderline commercial sized custom HT, with dual 18" JBL subs, setup and calibrated by JBL, made the $30k/pr Revel flagship in the professionally treated room across the hall sound like they were broken (with all due respect to Revel)...it's worth drivin1g a whole day to h1ear the M1, my all time favorite 2-ch if I had to pick only one, I brought a friend who is practically legally deaf, and he was blown away, I kid you not! 

Huge SL stats, THE Show or CES (easily confused when they were next door to each other), setup by Blowtorch preamp co-designer the late Bob Crump, RIP, Bob's last show before his too early passing...considering you could not keep your hands on the Parasound JC1 power amps for hardly a second, I suspect Bob had the bias cranked to God only knows what voltage. 
« Last Edit: 15 Jun 2017, 05:49 am by James Romeyn »

Russell Dawkins

Re: Name the finest pair of loud speakers you have heard
« Reply #287 on: 15 Jun 2017, 06:40 am »
Interesting and satisfyingly detailed list of comparisons, James. Thank you.

I am surprised at the result of the DAT/CD comparison demonstated by Peter McGrath. I feel there must be an unknown factor corrupting this apparent result. I have never experienced a difference such as you describe over the roughly ten years I recorded to digital tape (PCM F-1, Apogee AD500>Aiwa, Teac DAP-20 and Tascam DA-30 DAT recorders (going digital in) and Tascam DA-38 multitracks) and compared with the CD result, whether CDR or the final CD.

In your second to last paragraph, were you referring to the JBL M-2?

Thanks again for the fascinating trip through those listening experiences.

Photon46

Re: Name the finest pair of loud speakers you have heard
« Reply #288 on: 15 Jun 2017, 10:59 am »
It's a toss up between the Tidal Contriva Diacera and the MBL 101e Mk. II. They have a distinctly different way of presenting the soundstage but each is very compelling and thrilling to listen to. The MBL's are much fussier about amplification though and they need a big room to work well.







James Romeyn

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Re: Name the finest pair of loud speakers you have heard
« Reply #289 on: 15 Jun 2017, 04:29 pm »
OMG, yes, how could I forget the MBL 101s, unknown suffix, likely e version.  It was almost as much fun hearing them as looking at listener's jaws drop open, literally, and I mean the literal literal, not figurative use.  Too loud of course, as others often report, but still an audio high point. 

Russell,
Yes, sorry, JBL M2.  I shall edit forthwith.

In the CD v. DAT test: Sony's early 90s ES flagship CDP was the transport v. Peter's portable Sony DAT.  I presume the same coax digital in both cases (did early 90s Sony portable DAT have coax output?).  Maybe modern transports, digital IC, and DACs explain the difference in your tests v. that one in the 90s.  Appreciate your further comments.  Program was a huge orchestral piece which of course I can't recall, huge dynamic range, smashing crescendos.  People can laugh at VMPS' old ST IIa/R, but the fact is they could sound anywhere from pretty horrible to close to state of the art for the era, depending on the gear, room, and most of all setup/fine tuning.  How would I know?  The home at which I heard finely tuned IRS III was that of Landmark calendar/greeting card principal, overlooking SF Bay in Tiburon.  He drove a black Rolls, she drove a fly yellow Ferrari.  He purchased, and Brian and I setup ST IIa/R in the living room (IRS in the huge entry/family room).  Honestly, of course the IRS outperformed the ST, except for a couple areas.  I would say the ST went just about as low as the IRS, maybe lower, though the IRS had more bass power overall, as you'd expect.  Bass quality wise though, I feel sure, immediately after the drum whacks on Firebird Suite, I heard the IRS servo feedback compensate and suddenly over damp, a minor but non-existent artifact when we walked around the corner to hear the ST.  The early 90s Onkyo 125 lb behemoth M-510 Grand Integra powered the IRS ribbon panels, located in the basement below the IRS.   

I clearly remember the late Brian Cheney of VMPS, standing with both hands on his hips, on a clear day, staring at the expansive view of boats on SF Bay, saying, "Let's just say this is a view most people don't have."  The only client I ever had with a more impressive home was a gentleman to whom I sold a pair of Totem Acoustics speakers for his study, in the upper Broadway area of SF about a block from the house in the opening scene of Bullit, where our dear Lt. Bullit (Steve McQeen) meets his protagonist Chalmers superbly played by Robert Vaughn.  Similar view as the Landmark guy's home, but different perspective and farther away, more impressive home.  (My brother in law provided the rock posters in Bullit's apartment, which was the home of his real life girlfriend, who supplied the plants for clothing maker Esprit, whose owners were friends with the movie producers.  Also, at the very end of the movie is a very tall, very dark, and very thin black SFO police officer wearing sun glasses, running through the airport.  That was an extra/real life SFO police officer, who left the force for the SFFD, where he was my coworker.  His name is in a photo album book down stairs.)  Well, another impressive home I visited for an audio delivery is Sandra Bullock's next door neighbor in Jackson Hole.  Living room about 50x35x12 feet, with another view to die for, of the Tetons this time, with no ocean in sight.       

hibuckhobby

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Re: Name the finest pair of loud speakers you have heard
« Reply #290 on: 15 Jun 2017, 04:38 pm »
Focal grand utopias in Audio Reasearch's treated listening room.
Moved to tears by a performane of Ave Maria

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Re: Name the finest pair of loud speakers you have heard
« Reply #291 on: 15 Jun 2017, 05:06 pm »
Didn't want to admit it earlier, but yes, I cried hearing Boz Scaggs on TAD Ref 1s, as described above.  Glad it was near closing time at the show, no more than two other visitors plus designer Andrew Jones.  It was truly like Boz played and sang for us personally.  If anything, Jones is even nicer and funnier than the reports about him.  A remarkable person. 

Huck

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Re: Name the finest pair of loud speakers you have heard
« Reply #292 on: 27 Oct 2017, 05:23 pm »
Bose 901's...back when they were making real speakers ..listened using a Dual MM turntable,Crown amp,Marantz 3600 pre-amp.

mresseguie

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Re: Name the finest pair of loud speakers you have heard
« Reply #293 on: 27 Oct 2017, 07:01 pm »
I have two answers to the question of finest pair of speakers I have heard.

Speakers that I can't possibly afford to buy: Focal Grande Utopia EM

I listened to these for two hours in a shop in Hsinchu, Taiwan. Unbelievable sound stage....rather...I closed my eyes and I was 'there'.

Speakers that I can actually afford: Daedalus Audio Apollo speakers

I bought these after listening to them on separate occasions, and comparing them against Poseidons and Argos. [They even bested (IMO) my previous favorite - Salk Exotica 3s.]
I've heard them driven by a Modwright KWA150SE, an AVA 400R, a couple tube amps (forgot which), and a humble Nuprime IDA-8.

Michael

mr_bill

Re: Name the finest pair of loud speakers you have heard
« Reply #294 on: 27 Oct 2017, 07:22 pm »
Most recently, I heard the Focal Scala Utopia EVO - brand new model.
Excellent!

rif

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Re: Name the finest pair of loud speakers you have heard
« Reply #295 on: 27 Oct 2017, 07:45 pm »
I've only owned a few pairs, but my current, and best, pair is Ohm Walsh 4xo.


FullRangeMan

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Re: Name the finest pair of loud speakers you have heard
« Reply #296 on: 27 Oct 2017, 07:49 pm »
I've only owned a few pairs, but my current, and best, pair is Ohm Walsh 4xo.
A very nice speaker, I would like to hear this omni.

Wind Chaser

Re: Name the finest pair of loud speakers you have heard
« Reply #297 on: 27 Oct 2017, 08:37 pm »
This is a very difficult question to answer as few people (including dealers and manufacturers) are willing to put the effort required to get any pair speakers to perform at optimum. Room integration takes an lot of time and effort, but it well worth it.

Ultralight

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Re: Name the finest pair of loud speakers you have heard
« Reply #298 on: 27 Oct 2017, 08:50 pm »
I don't have the budget for rarefied speakers but my wife and my fav in the $10K and below range would be a pair of $10K Martin Logan. It was simply so natural compared to boxed speaker.  The drawback is size and very narrow window where stereo is coherent. This is definitely, as a dealer said, 'A selfish man's speaker' - and he owned a pair.

FullRangeMan

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Re: Name the finest pair of loud speakers you have heard
« Reply #299 on: 27 Oct 2017, 09:04 pm »
I have heard some ML and dont impressed, I would suggest instead a used Carver Amazing Platinum Ed with a Class D 400W amp.