Bookshelf Speaker Shootout

TheWarrior

TheWarrior

Audioholic Ninja
WOOO!!! Go view count, GO!

Lots of hits, questions? Comments? Bueller?

In the process of measuring my room, acoustically, and revising methodology for future reviews that are not quite so subjective. This one literally just landed in my lap, and I felt compelled to write about it! Gene was nice enough to contact SVS and add them to the foray!

To say I am addicted, at this point, would be an understatement!
 
anamorphic96

anamorphic96

Audioholic General
The MSRP listed for the Energy RC-10 is wrong. These speakers sold for 549-649 a pair when introduced. I do understand the Energy web site lists these as 599.00 each. But that is not correct and should be listed as a pair. If one goes to this Sound Stage review from February 2006 the price is listed at 500.00 a pair.

http://www.soundstage.com/revequip/energy_rc10.htm
 
TheWarrior

TheWarrior

Audioholic Ninja
My apologies for a tardy reply... I missed this!

I have no idea why Energy would want to list that MSRP on their site, since thats not even close to what their retail channels are asking. But that is also why I added street prices to compensate. Even Amazon shows the MSRP at $599.99, but they sell as a pair....
 
Rickster71

Rickster71

Audioholic Spartan
WOOO!!! Go view count, GO!

Lots of hits, questions? Comments? Bueller?
Very nice job on the shoot out!
Since you asked :)
Did you listen to the Sig 2's with the grills on or off?
I've read in Sig line owners manual to leave them on. They seem to act as a sort of wave guide or something.
Just curious, if you still have them to see if you notice any difference?
Thanks and great job!
 
TheWarrior

TheWarrior

Audioholic Ninja
Very nice job on the shoot out!
Since you asked :)
Did you listen to the Sig 2's with the grills on or off?
I've read in Sig line owners manual to leave them on. They seem to act as a sort of wave guide or something.
Just curious, if you still have them to see if you notice any difference?
Thanks and great job!

Thank you!

Only one grill was able to be located by the owner, so no. Tho, I did hear similar reports. But the front baffle on those Paradigms is just so cool looking!
 
TheWarrior

TheWarrior

Audioholic Ninja
Alex;

Great effort on this and it's much appreciated!

I do have a few comments/observations:
1. You room seems pretty lively with the wood flooring, high ceilings, and windows, etc. Ever think about getting a thick padded throw rug to help absorb the first reflection point? This would likely have a very beneficial audible effect. I did this in my theater room. I know it's kinda a crime to cover such a beautiful flooring but its worth it if you're after better sound.
2. Realize that your lively room has a masking effect that can make the differences less obvious between the good vs great speaker. I've seen this happen at other shootouts where the hosts room was an echo chamber and all speakers sounded mediocre and their differences were not as pronounced as they were in a more acoustically controlled environment.
3. How did you level match? Did you use BW limited pink noise of full BW pink noise?
4. Are you able to repeat this comparison in a more acoustically controlled room? Perhaps you can pick two pairs at a time and see if the differences are more pronounced.

Again your efforts are greatly appreciated. It's very difficult and time consuming to do proper shootouts like these. I always attempt to list my biases and areas of improvements for the next time we conduct such tests.

Thanks again.

I was re-reading this thread and was reminded of your comments regarding room set up.

Since this review, I have experimented with various absorption locations and as a result, have replaced the carpet, but have taken the two horizontal white panels away.

The echo is still well controlled, but as I've been experimenting with various quantities of subwoofage, I have found the gable peak is not only the source of measured bass loss (+- 20db up to 110 hz) at the listening location, but can also create audible resonances which GIK Acoustics had predicted. I just don't tend to listen loud enough to create/notice them.

Going forward, this year will be about achieving great bass in large, open spaces, like most domestic living rooms. I'll add to and tweak acoustic treatments as needed, and will even be building a new sub this weekend!
 
M

MasterpieceAV

Audiophyte
I would love to see a review on Episode's 900 series In-wall speakers.
Also Monitor Audio Bronze and or Silver series Bookshelf and Tower Speaker reviews/shootouts would be awesome!
 
M

MasterpieceAV

Audiophyte
I was re-reading this thread and was reminded of your comments regarding room set up.

Since this review, I have experimented with various absorption locations and as a result, have replaced the carpet, but have taken the two horizontal white panels away.

The echo is still well controlled, but as I've been experimenting with various quantities of subwoofage, I have found the gable peak is not only the source of measured bass loss (+- 20db up to 110 hz) at the listening location, but can also create audible resonances which GIK Acoustics had predicted. I just don't tend to listen loud enough to create/notice them.

Going forward, this year will be about achieving great bass in large, open spaces, like most domestic living rooms. I'll add to and tweak acoustic treatments as needed, and will even be building a new sub this weekend!

On the Note of Bass would be cool to see episode triple sub series 8/10/12" sub review as well as Monitor Audio's sub reviews would be cool!
 
TheWarrior

TheWarrior

Audioholic Ninja
I would love to see a review on Episode's 900 series In-wall speakers.
Also Monitor Audio Bronze and or Silver series Bookshelf and Tower Speaker reviews/shootouts would be awesome!
I've only had one experience with Monitor, which was a double-blind test I did at Harman - really liked what I heard from I believe a Silver bookshelf.

Next tests from me will be in the Spring with my own designs following the CEA 2034 standard.
 
M

MrBoat

Audioholic Samurai
I enjoyed reading this review and appreciated the "by ear with music" in a more conventional listening space approach. It reminded me of how we used to audition or even compete speaker purchases and music a few decades ago when recorded music was more of a social event.

I've recently been able to audition different types of speakers in my home that are strange to me upon my revisit to audio, some of which are owned by a guy who's pockets are way deeper than mine and a huge difference in our listening (mine is much more humble and unintentional) spaces. He claims that with the quality of my DIY efforts, my listening space ("lucky" by his assessment) has him at a disadvantage. That his speakers sound much better here too, even without room correction. Still, regardless of our different exposures/resources, or what caused our personal perceptions to quality sound, just because I was having to use less technical experience and equipment to fix mine, did not discredit my ears, at least with music. I can't help it that I don't have to fix things!

Bookshelf speakers are what is really new to me outside of desktop pc speakers. I did start to notice the smaller speakers being surprise contenders back as far as the early 90's. The biggest surprise yet has been single, full range drivers in active 2.1 arrangements. Tiny little things in many cases.

Finally, I too have noticed some more budget friendly speakers being contenders (most recently with the JBL LSR I just got) and it's not always easy to say without being dismissed to the tin ear club, especially when hanging around the armchair expert'd to death internet. I enjoyed reading this unbiased review. It seemed like you were really enjoying it as we all should.
 
TheWarrior

TheWarrior

Audioholic Ninja
I enjoyed reading this review and appreciated the "by ear with music" in a more conventional listening space approach. It reminded me of how we used to audition or even compete speaker purchases and music a few decades ago when recorded music was more of a social event.

I've recently been able to audition different types of speakers in my home that are strange to me upon my revisit to audio, some of which are owned by a guy who's pockets are way deeper than mine and a huge difference in our listening (mine is much more humble and unintentional) spaces. He claims that with the quality of my DIY efforts, my listening space ("lucky" by his assessment) has him at a disadvantage. That his speakers sound much better here too, even without room correction. Still, regardless of our different exposures/resources, or what caused our personal perceptions to quality sound, just because I was having to use less technical experience and equipment to fix mine, did not discredit my ears, at least with music. I can't help it that I don't have to fix things!

Bookshelf speakers are what is really new to me outside of desktop pc speakers. I did start to notice the smaller speakers being surprise contenders back as far as the early 90's. The biggest surprise yet has been single, full range drivers in active 2.1 arrangements. Tiny little things in many cases.

Finally, I too have noticed some more budget friendly speakers being contenders (most recently with the JBL LSR I just got) and it's not always easy to say without being dismissed to the tin ear club, especially when hanging around the armchair expert'd to death internet. I enjoyed reading this unbiased review. It seemed like you were really enjoying it as we all should.
Thank you! Yes, it was a lot of fun to do this, and while I was rather verbose in my descriptions, it never felt like work. It was 'ear opening' (lol) to hear how so many different speakers can sound in the same setting. But of course, this experience I think really defined my entry to the 'rabbit hole' of this hobby because shortly thereafter is when I discovered Floyd Toole and learned how to properly correlate subjective preference with objective measurements - and how comprehensive those measurements need to be! (and why I should have done this in monophonic listening!)

The LSR305 is an amazing value! Nabbed a pair for my dad to get his 'speaker bug' restarted so he just has to flip a power switch to get Game of Thrones and Formula One to sound better.

If you saw my above comment about doing my own speaker tests, obviously that didn't happen this past spring, but is still on my to do list as I am learning how to design speakers so that I might construct my own center channel to compliment the Phil 3's for movie watching with a beryllium tweeter. Reality has other plans for me, but I remain optimistic about getting it built before the end of the year.

Need to get all photos moved to a new host, so I'll get that fixed eventually here and in my own theater thread which is in need of major updating.
 
zieglj01

zieglj01

Audioholic Spartan
Comments on speakers:

Personally, I put the EOS ahead of the Pioneers: I think the big difference is that I primarily listen to them in a bedroom. A quick glance at the dimensions of the EOS would make it clear these would have the disadvantage in a good sized LR with gabled ceiling (impressive that they can pull it off at all!). I think a reasonable interpretation is that the EOS would be ideally suited to a smaller room and the Pioneer to a larger room.
Just got the EOS out of storage from out of state where they have been for around 4 years, and they still amaze me ... just recently bought the Pioneer BS22 again and for only $30 in like new condition. The EOS is still the better speaker to my ears ... and yes the soundstage is big on the EOS
 
bombadil

bombadil

Audioholic Intern



Track List:

#1 Tom Waits - Grapefruit Moon - Early Years Vol.2 CD

Tom exhibits distinct emotion in his raspy voice that singles him out as a good male reference voice. This song goes between sung choruses and story telling that almost sounds spoken more than sung in some verses. The band only serves to back up the lyrics for this song, and as such, each speaker tells a slightly different version of his story.

#2 William Warfield - Old Man River - Showboat Soundtrack CD
A baritone/bass, William has an incredible operatic voice. Unfortunately this recording is not ideal, but that truth is only revealed as the speaker quality improves.

#3 Tori Amos - Northern Lad - From the Choirgirl Hotel CD
A great track not just because of her voice, but for the depth of the perceived soundstage. A woman and her grand piano with back up instruments were often able to appear in the room right in front of me!

#4 Nora Jones - Don’t Know Why - Come Away with Me CD
Well known singer and track. Each speaker truly has a unique way of presenting her voice, from deep and dark, to fun and playful.

#5 Meschiya Lake & The Little Big Horns - Catch ‘em Young - Foolers’ Gold CD
She is a NOLA jazz singer no more than 5 ft in height but can mow you over with her voice. Have seen her live twice, and it was a real treat how some of these speakers could put me right back in the French Quarter.

#6 Rush - Hope - Snakes and Arrows Live DVD
Having learned to play this 12 -string acoustic solo on my 6- string, I felt my familiarity with it made this a great selection. Alex Lifeson uses a unique tuning that further increases the natural chorus effect inherent to 12 - string guitars.

#7 Mr. Holland’s Opus - American Symphony DVD
Another well known track from a fantastic film. Although not an actual live recording, the unique combination of instruments over a typical symphony adds a great twist with modern flair through the use of electric guitar and bass as well as drum kit.

#8 Into The Woods - Prologue - BD
An almost 20 minute introduction in to one of Stephen Sondheim’s most famous works. He completely re-wrote the music, and insisted on the original musicians for this film adaption. This opening scene runs the gamut for sound play back as is includes male/female spoken and sung lyrics, a full symphony, and modern movie sound effects.

#9 Bernadette Peters - Move On - Sondheim: The Birthday Concert DVD
No review would be complete with out Bernadette! This is an operatic duet sung with Mandel Patinkin from Sondheim’s ‘Sunday in the Park with George.’ You can see the effort put forth by the singers in their neck muscles. Some of these speakers worked just as hard trying to keep their voices in unison.

#10 Rush - By-tor and the Snow Dog - Exit Stage Left from Replay X3 Collection
The ultimate power ballad and my personal favorite Rush song. With each musician effectively soloing the entire time, this song is difficult enough to play and even more so to reproduce!
Unless these listening tests are done blindly they are useless (i.e. just another opinion, of which there is no shortage). Kudos for trying, but visual bias and expectation bias are so powerful that Harmon spent over 1/2 million for their test fixture that allows for blind comparisons.
 
TheWarrior

TheWarrior

Audioholic Ninja
Unless these listening tests are done blindly they are useless (i.e. just another opinion, of which there is no shortage). Kudos for trying, but visual bias and expectation bias are so powerful that Harmon spent over 1/2 million for their test fixture that allows for blind comparisons.
"With no winners or losers, my objective is to establish in the readers mind an auditory image of what a speaker can be reasonably expected to achieve at a given price."

That was the second paragraph, and it was actually written because of the work that came out of Harman, so I am very happy to hear from another, well, student!
 

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