Audioholics $1500-$2000 Floorstanding Speaker Shootout 2009

A

admin

Audioholics Robot
Staff member
Speaker shootouts are more fun in theory than in practice. The fact is that they are a lot of work. You need to convince a bunch of people to meet at a location, have them listen to a bunch of speakers, and record their observations. On top of that, you have to convince manufacturers to get involved. What we were looking for were floorstanding speakers in the $1500-$2000 range. We were also looking for passive speakers (meaning no powered subwoofers) to keep everyone on a level playing field. The tests were done blind and sighted. Did they match? Kinda.


Discuss "Audioholics $1500-$2000 Floorstanding Speaker Shootout 2009" here. Read the article.
 
J

Jim Robbins

Audioholic
Wow!!! That looked to be a ton of work. Thanks guys! Oh, and next time you have a guy from Iowa, be sure to invite me! *grin*

I am generally an infinity fan personally, but I haven't heard their new lines yet. I am stuck with their latest version of Kappa. So, I was a little disappointed to see they were lower on the scale, but some I have heard exactly what was talked about in their mid to lower level speakers in their previous generation. Is Infinity making high end speakers like they used to?

I did want to comment about the room layout as well and how Clint said he didn't like the speakers at his house as well as at Tom's. I have a room in my house where I have tried half a dozen speakers and it seems they all suck in there. Then, if I take the same speakers to another room, they magically improve. Well, it's not magic, but you get the point. In fact, if I turn them up loud and go to the room where the sound sucks, they actually sound better coming from the doorway than they do when actually in the room. The room is a HUGE deal!!

I also have a local high end audio dealer that has 5 listening rooms. I swear, any speaker he sets up in one particular room always sounds fantastic. ALWAYS! I don't care if it's a $600 pair of bookshelf speakers or or a $4000 pair of floor standing units. I just love the sound in that room. Dang, I think I am going to take a couple CDs and just go listen there this weekend now. *laugh*

It's always very interesting how different people hear things and how, even in a shootout like this, there wasn't a particular speakers where everyone said, Yes, only this one!! I guess it's in the ear of the beholder. Hey, when you guys are done with the Salk speakers, can I borrow them and put them in my good room? :D

Thanks to the reviewers and Tom's hard work! Nicely done!
 
Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Spartan
Wow!!! +1.

I appreciate how much hard work that shootout involved. Your blinded randomized methods are very commendable. Too bad about the various speakers that didn't join in, but its their loss. It also might have been too much for one day's work :).

Its always hard for people who are speaker shopping to hear examples of the various speakers they read about in reviews. This kind of comparison is valuable because it allows familiarity with one speaker to translate into useful comparisons to the others. Keep up the good work.
 
MinusTheBear

MinusTheBear

Audioholic Ninja
This was an excellent read with my morning coffee. I appreciate all the time you guys put into this shootout. Good work AH!
 
Matt34

Matt34

Moderator
Yup, great article! I always enjoy the shootouts and it's cool to see the Salks do well. I hope I'll be able to check them out at the GTG this fall.

I agree, the room plays a huge factor in the way a speaker is going to sound. I can't get anything to sound as good in my living room compared to my lightly treated theater room.
 
mperfct

mperfct

Audioholic Samurai
That was a fun read and very insightful. I don't think I'd have the patience to sit and listen to speakers all day, so big thanks to the 3 reviewers.

I appreciate the detail spend describing the methodology, while it might seem a bit mundane, it is what gives this article its weight.

It might be of interest to get some speakers from one store (ergo Best Buy) and perform a dbt on those as well. I imagine quite a few of the readers here don't have a lot of options and go up to BB looking for speakers and have to listen to the DefTechs, Klipschs, and whatever else they have. I'm thinking that they might need a helping hand deciphering what really sounds the best and how to listen for it.

Just a thought...but I do enjoy reading about the speakers you guys reviewed. Again, great job Tom, J, Clint, and Jonathan from Iowa!
 
Tom Andry

Tom Andry

Speaker of the House
The sad part is that the only speakers the Audioholics store sells are the Infinitys. Oh well, maybe they can become a Salk dealer? :p
 
Tom Andry

Tom Andry

Speaker of the House
I wouldn't have a clue other than I don't think Salk has dealers.
 
mperfct

mperfct

Audioholic Samurai
I wouldn't have a clue other than I don't think Salk has dealers.
Looks like your right, they are a little way outside of my price range so I hadn't shopped for them before. Good looking speakers though.
 
3db

3db

Audioholic Overlord
Is it possible to see the list of invitees and who declined? I'm disappointed that only 4 speaker manufacturers are in this shoot out.
 
Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Spartan
Is it possible to see the list of invitees and who declined? I'm disappointed that only 4 speaker manufacturers are in this shoot out.
The article did say that Klipsch, Canton, and Def Tech were asked to join but ended up not participating.
 
3db

3db

Audioholic Overlord
The article did say that Klipsch, Canton, and Def Tech were asked to join but ended up not participating.
I realize that but were there more? This is a really crowded market segment and I would have figured at least 20 invites could have easily been made.

In the testing method, I noticed that speaker cables were switched from one speaker to another. Does that mean that the speakers remained at the location as shown in the picture? If so, wouldn't the proximatey of the speakers to one another affect imaging capabilities. Also relative to the listening position, wouldn't imaging also be affected by the speakers being seperated at different distances?
 
Last edited:
Matt34

Matt34

Moderator
I realize that but were there more? This is a really crowded market segment and I would have figured at least 20 invites could have easily been made.

In the testing method, I noticed that speaker cables were switched from one speaker to another. Does that mean that the speakers remained at the location as shown in the picture? If so, wouldn't the proximatey of the speakers to one another affect imaging capabilities. Also relative to the listening position, wouldn't imaging also be affected by the speakers being seperated at different distances?
With that through of testing both blind and sighted, 20 would probably taken the better part of a week to do.

From the pictures it looks like the speakers were moved around.
 
3db

3db

Audioholic Overlord
With that through of testing both blind and sighted, 20 would probably taken the better part of a week to do.

From the pictures it looks like the speakers were moved around.
Just doing the four that Audioholics did takes a heck of alot of work espcially if they were being moved around for optimum placement. :)
 
Tom Andry

Tom Andry

Speaker of the House
The pictures showed the speakers in two different arrangements because I took some before I finalized the placement. What I ended up with the speakers that didn't need as much toe-in (Krix and Dali) on the outside and the others on the inside (Salk and Infinity). I did listening tests to determine that the imaging and soundstage of each set of speakers was correct from the center of the couch before the participants arrived.

I left the speakers in those locations for the entirety of the testing (or I would have mentioned moving them - heck I mentioned my nap didn't I?). This was for sanity's sake. If I moved them, you could say that my placement each time could have changed the imaging/soundstage and if I didn't you could say that the proximity/placement did the same. As I mentioned, a Lazy Susan device is the optimal but I don't have one. We'll work on that for the next shootout. ;)
 
Taifun

Taifun

Junior Audioholic
Just curious, but were the Emotiva ERT-8.3s considered for this as well?
 
Tomorrow

Tomorrow

Audioholic Ninja
The sad part is that the only speakers the Audioholics store sells are the Infinitys. :p
I don't quite understand what you're saying, Tom. What are those Yamaha, JBL, EMP, MBQuart, Status Acoustic, and Daytons called...if not speakers?! :p Don't be sad. ;)

The review was great. Good job.
 
jsalk

jsalk

Enthusiast
Thanks

Tom -

I want to publicly thank you for all your efforts in this shoot-out. I don't think most people realize how much work is involved. Your efforts are truly appreciated.

Thanks again...

- Jim

PS - I don't know if I like the title "Audiophyte"
 
N

Nuance AH

Audioholic General
Tom,

I too would like to thank you for all the effort put into this test. I've been a participant in a couple blinds tests myself, and they were completely exhausting. I cannot imagine how exhausting it would be to actually run one. :eek: Thanks for doing what you do, and thanks to the participants.
 

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