People frequently ask me what would be a good speaker to buy for $5.000, for $10.000 for $20.000 for $50.000 and so on. The more I think about it looking at the park of available loudspeakers the more I come to the observation that there are no good speakers our there, for any amount money.
It kind of non-even-ironic how loudspeakers are out there! Do not get me wrong: I am not expressing the horns, ribbons of single driver attitudes. I am talking that each single know to me loudspeaker, whatever topology it uses, always present a large collections of inherited problems to user, and it’s completely irrelevant if it was $500 worth Dunlavy SC-1 or 125.000.00 worth Wilson’s Alexandria.
Yes, sometimes, here and there I met loudspeakers that more or less accurately masked own imperfections and were more or less problem-balanced. However it was always just a compilation of compromises for non-justifiable price instead of a presentation of things that the speakers did well, within the most beneficial design for the given advantages.
When I try to locate the 3 dominating causes why our loudspeaker are so bad then 2 reasons jump atop of my list: luck of proper drivers and absent of the civilized evaluations methodologies of loudspeaker’s performance.
The first cause: it is practically imposable to find a good performing driver for a given application. Ironically the worth application is the more bad-drivers are available. Furthermore the unfamiliarity of most of the speaker-makers with the musically-objective evaluation and assessment methods do not allow them to use successfully even better driver in a given design. Some people fish in the world of older loudspeaker but the result they get always is not really better. Some older loudspeakers (very few of them) had motivating drivers but it takes a lot of pain, expertise and taste to make some older drivers to operate more or less successfully in a targeted topology. Still, in most of the cases the “second cause” kicks in and assures that people get non-optimum result even if they managed to get more or less acceptable drivers.
The second cause: people, professionals and amateurs, mostly are completely clueless how to objectively evaluate the sonic results they’re getting out of their designs. Also, they are mostly disabled to provide any more or less rational music-related support for their design decisions. I spoke with many designers of popular loudspeakers and I was surprised how ignorant they were. Their primary ignorance was not in thier inability to jangler of the semi-technical phrases but rather in thier complete disassociation between their technical expertise and thier cultural backgrounds. As the result, they were completely impotent to merge their subjective assessments (no mater how off the were) with their objective methods. Consequentially, thier judgment was fundamentally off the mark and in many cases juts essentially faulty. In addition to this, the personal cultural limitations of most loudspeaker designers prevent them objectively interpret the measurable data and navigate themselves across the engineering “language” even if the learn the proper evaluation methodologies. Another “minor” sub-reasons that I would plug in this section would be a fact that the designers (and the rest people in audio) have no ways to educate themselves how reproduced music actual might sound if everything is done properly. The really serious installations that push envelop of what might be done in loudspeaker are extremely rare and mostly audio people have no access to them. If you find one then pay any amount money to hear “what might be done” and I assure you that you will be benefited to the rest of your life.
In the end, we the consumers, harvest horrible result and paying for it the horrible prices. We pay $90.000.00 for loudspeakers that cost $900 to manufacture and that perform worst then the cheapest loudspeaker in the same company line. Or we have $60.000.00 loudspeaker that have a major flow (converting the performance of this model to a nightmare) and to fix this major problem would cost for a company 50cents but the chef-designer knowing about the problem says: “Who the hell cares, lets run it as it”.
What I am saying that behind the luck of the proper materials and ignorance of the designers-manufactures there is something else of the 3rd reason on my list - the premeditated intentions of people do not deliver to consumers result as good as it could be. The industry targets the lowest common denominator and here is where the reason #3 comes dominating: luck of serious demands form the consumers. As I numerously mention: most of people in audio are Morons and Sound that they get in thier listening rooms is not the result of their personal demands but the “as is” results. Therefore, since we, the consumers, demand “as is result” then the designers-manufactures target thier predicts to satisfy the consumers “as is demands”.
This all works as a well-oiled machine in hi-fi industry and as a result, your loudspeakers are the worst element of your playback. The most important is not the fact that your speaker are bad but that you can’t not do anything about it.
Romy The Cat
"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche