Which brand makes the best quality loudspeakers?

Who makes the best speakers

  • Aperion Audio

    Votes: 20 3.7%
  • Axiom Audio

    Votes: 13 2.4%
  • B&W

    Votes: 124 22.9%
  • Harman (JBL, Infinity, Revel)

    Votes: 113 20.9%
  • Klipsch

    Votes: 79 14.6%
  • Martin Logan

    Votes: 45 8.3%
  • Paradigm

    Votes: 62 11.5%
  • Polk

    Votes: 33 6.1%
  • PSB

    Votes: 20 3.7%
  • RBH Sound

    Votes: 32 5.9%

  • Total voters
    541
S

sterling shoote

Audioholic General
Projection.



More projection. But I've heard your speakers and I like your speakers, but I could get by with a pair of the F208's just fine.
What's your favorite speaker? So far, my favorite is one I heard over 40 years ago, the JBL L200. As I recall they sold for about $1500 a pair back then. One's I've looked at recently in mint condition are about $8,000. That's less than today's $15,000 JBL 4367, the equivalent of the L200; but, still too much for my means.
 
O

Out-Of-Phase

Audioholic Chief
Hello Sterling,

I don't have a favorite speaker, but I have auditioned many speakers over the years. One of my recent auditions was the Revel Salon2. I experienced a very transparent presentation with many different types of music. Fantastic sound. Brass instrument timbre sounded very accurate. Thanks for asking.
 
Bucknekked

Bucknekked

Audioholic Field Marshall
Threads like this invite opinion from folks who may not understand that declaring a speaker as best also requires a qualifier "I've heard". Now, I don't get out much, and I have not sought out speakers since 1986. That's when I purchased a pair of JBL L100t3's, which delivered the sort of sound that impressed and did not exceed my line of credit. I'm still satisfied with those speakers and that's a good thing, since I have no discretionary income for audio equipment luxuries today. To the topic, the best speakers I've heard, mostly for volume without strain and life-like tone, are circa 1975 JBL L200's. I could not afford them in 75 and I still cannot afford a used pair today. Others, with similar characteristics which I like are the current JBL 4429s, and 4367s. The best price I've found on the 4429s is about $4000 a pair from Home Audio; and, they're so tempting that I've begun to save for a pair. At any rate, while I am likely to hold hard to my conclusion of what's best, I've still enjoyed hearing about how others here see it.View attachment 27923View attachment 27924
@Irvrobinson
@sterling shoote
@shadyJ

Right about here, where Sterling puts in his comments about the JBL's it would be my opinion that things came off the rails and went in the ditch for a bit. I've taken some time off from reading the forum every day because of the incessant bickering and personal attacks that get going in many threads. Sad to see that the trend hasn't improved much.

The saving grace is that some old timers are still posting "the old fashioned way" with some wit, some grace, and by trying to simply enjoy commenting on their hobby. I think Sterling's post is a great way to steer clear of the personal attacks and rhetoric. He points out a love of some great speakers, why he cherishes them, and what he might be looking forward to. Shadyj does it similarly every time he posts: he is able to pen some ideas that inform and not inflame.

He even put in pictures ! Pictures soothe the savage beast. Or, was that music?
Maybe we should try some more music
 
Bucknekked

Bucknekked

Audioholic Field Marshall
Hello Sterling,

I don't have a favorite speaker, but I have auditioned many speakers over the years. One of my recent auditions was the Revel Salon2. I experienced a very transparent presentation with many different types of music. Fantastic sound. Brass instrument timbre sounded very accurate. Thanks for asking.
I don't have a current favorite other than my Salk Songtowers. (yes, I am a Salk Fanboy)

But, for a walk down memory lane, my favorite speakers would have to be the Klipsch Klipschorns.
Those bad boys don't need any defending. they are still dropping jaws even today.
Just an opinion however.
 
E

Ernie Schmuntz

Junior Audioholic
We'd like to get your opinion on who you feel makes the best built and best sounding loudspeakers in consumer audio. Your opinion should be based primarily on sound quality followed by build quality and durability. This choice should be based on the overall product line of a particular company and not just one or two products that may excel.

If you find a particular brand on this list lacking, please indicate why.

Give us reasons why you chose a particular brand or why you feel that particular brand shines above the others on this list. If your brand isn't listed here (sorry only 10 polling options allowed), please post the brand name in the thread along with your experiences.
 
E

Ernie Schmuntz

Junior Audioholic
I have owned JBL (old stuff), KEF, Mission, Definitive Technology, Infinity etc. I never could justify a large expense so my choice had to be the biggest bang for the buck.

My brand now is RBH. I have owned a 5.1 set with their MC series, also a set of the reference grade, and their new budget line, and several of their speakers from the old days.

They don’t cut corners. Their drivers are very high quality, along with the over built cabinets. And the amazing sound they all make. I can’t bring my self to sell them. The best dollar/quality out there.
 
Mikado463

Mikado463

Audioholic General
I don't have a favorite speaker, but I have auditioned many speakers over the years. One of my recent auditions was the Revel Salon2. I experienced a very transparent presentation with many different types of music. Fantastic sound. Brass instrument timbre sounded very accurate. Thanks for asking.
Wow, say it isn't so, 'Phaser' and I actually agree on something ! :eek:
 
O

Out-Of-Phase

Audioholic Chief
Wow, say it isn't so, 'Phaser' and I actually agree on something ! :eek:
Took you long enough to find this post. :D

If I was willing to invest that much money into speakers, I would grab those Salon's in a heartbeat.
 
Mikado463

Mikado463

Audioholic General
If I was willing to invest that much money into speakers, I would grab those Salon's in a heartbeat.
Agreed and that's why given my listening room dimensions I went with the Studio 2's. First 'box' speaker in 35 years to pry me away from di-poles.
 
GrimSurfer

GrimSurfer

Senior Audioholic
The poll, and peoples' responses to it, is interesting. Maybe the question is too broad and the number of players too diverse.

Popularity and affordability are likely influences in peoples' responses. If nothing else, these factors allow the average audiophile to experience and consider the sound of affordable lines first-hand.

Reputation is another influence, with experienced companies perceived to have the depth of experience to design a really good affordable speaker along side as an exceptional expensive one (though price is not necessarily a good predictor of performance, there are some truisms wrt cabinet volume, materials, bracing, driver technology that do have a cost component).

Capacity is another issue. Big companies have considerable R&D. They have on-site anechoic chambers, test equipment, materials research divisions etc. This gives them an advantage in designing and fine tuning speakers to extract that last 1% out of their theoretical potential.

Theory aside, I do think that KEF should be on the list. I also think that other smaller manufacturers deserve consideration too. I take the mod's point that there are limiting factors, such as 10 subjects, that make it difficult to capture everything in one go.

Perhaps several polls, differentiated by speaker type, purchase price, and company size would give a more accurate indication of peoples' thoughts on the issue. The market research potential of this approach would be higher too.

P.S. I voted Paradigm, even though I'm a B&W owner who believes JBL has the most capacity of the lot. See, to me, it's an issue of balancing all of the potential strengths and weaknesses. Others may see it differently though...
 
O

Out-Of-Phase

Audioholic Chief
Agreed and that's why given my listening room dimensions I went with the Studio 2's. First 'box' speaker in 35 years to pry me away from di-poles.
Yes, I compared them (sighted) to ML Expression (I think they were Expression, they were from the Masterpiece Series) and I must say, I liked them both! Wow, those Martin Logan's sounded good with vocals and a chamber orchestra.

But to be honest (and frugal),I think I could get by with a pair F208's. :)
F208_Front_Walnut-09a8698f.png
 
Mikado463

Mikado463

Audioholic General
The poll, and peoples' responses to it, is interesting. Maybe the question is too broad and the number of players too diverse.

Popularity and affordability are likely influences in peoples' responses. If nothing else, these factors allow the average audiophile to experience and consider the sound of affordable lines first-hand.

Reputation is another influence, with experienced companies perceived to have the depth of experience to design a really good affordable speaker along side as an exceptional expensive one (though price is not necessarily a good predictor of performance, there are some truisms wrt cabinet volume, materials, bracing, driver technology that do have a cost component).

Capacity is another issue. Big companies have considerable R&D. They have on-site anechoic chambers, test equipment, materials research divisions etc. This gives them an advantage in designing and fine tuning speakers to extract that last 1% out of their theoretical potential.

Theory aside, I do think that KEF should be on the list. I also think that other smaller manufacturers deserve consideration too. I take the mod's point that there are limiting factors, such as 10 subjects, that make it difficult to capture everything in one go.

Perhaps several polls, differentiated by speaker type, purchase price, and company size would give a more accurate indication of peoples' thoughts on the issue. The market research potential of this approach would be higher too.

P.S. I voted Paradigm, even though I'm a B&W owner who believes JBL has the most capacity of the lot. See, to me, it's an issue of balancing all of the potential strengths and weaknesses. Others may see it differently though...
what's also interesting given the 'value' considerations is that Magnepan is not on there. While this forum is mostly a AVR / HT / multi-channel group I suspect if the same poll was conducted on other audio forums they would in fact be considered a performance to dollar bargain.

Having spent this past Monday afternoon listening to a demo of the Maggie 30.7's given by Wendell Diller @ Overture in Wilmington, De I still am smitten when it comes to di-poles. The 3.7i's at their respective price point are incredible
 
Mikado463

Mikado463

Audioholic General
Yes, I compared them (sighted) to ML Expression (I think they were Expression, they were from the Masterpiece Series) and I must say, I liked them both! Wow, those Martin Logan's sounded good with vocals and a chamber orchestra.
yes, without question the Expression (13a) is incredible and had I auditioned it before the purchase of the Studio 2's chances are I might have replaced my Spire's with those. I still have yet to hear piano done better than with stats.

But to be honest (and frugal),I think I could get by with a pair F208's. :)View attachment 28439
and to that I agree (wow, that make three times now we've agreed on something !) but the killer pricing and the slight upper octave improvement of the Studio 2's made them work for me.
 
O

Out-Of-Phase

Audioholic Chief
^^^ What type of music was used when auditioning the 30.7's?

Sonic replication in brass instruments, vocals, piano and violin are all important to me.
 
V

viseral audio

Audioholic
Do SVS,s ultra towers suck that bad they couldn't, beat polk?
 
Mikado463

Mikado463

Audioholic General
^^^ What type of music was used when auditioning the 30.7's?

Sonic replication in brass instruments, vocals, piano and violin are all important to me.
Strings, solo cello, various jazz, piano, some classic rock the list goes on. It was a two hour demo to a sizable crowd so the genres ran the gamut. Overture's listening rooms are some of the best in the country, this room was 19' wide x 29' plus deep and 10' ceilings
 
O

Out-Of-Phase

Audioholic Chief
Strings, solo cello, various jazz, piano, some classic rock the list goes on. It was a two hour demo to a sizable crowd so the genres ran the gamut. Overture's listening rooms are some of the best in the country, this room was 19' wide x 29' plus deep and 10' ceilings
I went to their website. I'm not audiophile, but very impressive. After auditioning in those rooms, I can see myself leaving the store with new speakers. :D
 
Mikado463

Mikado463

Audioholic General
another brand that's not on the list and should be - Harbeth, recently listened to the 40.2's, never knew a box could sound so good. But then again, at their price point they should.
 
John Parks

John Parks

Audioholic Chief
another brand that's not on the list and should be - Harbeth, recently listened to the 40.2's, never knew a box could sound so good. But then again, at their price point they should.
That is another brand on my list of must-hears!

I agree with some other AH folks about there not being a single "best" manufacturer. "Best" speakers for me were (and are) always the ones in my price range, what I was interested in and ones that changed my audio landscape. 30+ years ago it would have been Polk Audio or Infinity. 20+ years ago Paradigm (Studio), B&W or the Sony ES line. 10 years ago, Ascend Acoustics. Presently, it has to be KEF.

Among the very best speakers I have ever heard, regardless of price were Vandersteen 3As, ProAc 1SCs, Meridian DSP (can't remember the model but in 2000 they retailed for $35K) and, most recently, the GamuT RS7i. These speakers by GamuT are a compete game changer for me! At $40K they are way out of my price range (even the "entry" speaker in the line has an asking price of $20K) but somehow, somewhere, someway, someday I will find the means to own a pair.
1551394129351.png
 
O

Out-Of-Phase

Audioholic Chief
another brand that's not on the list and should be - Harbeth, recently listened to the 40.2's, never knew a box could sound so good. But then again, at their price point they should.
Thank you for mentioning this brand. I've never owned Harbeth, but I have read very positive feedback over the years in regard to build quality and timbre accuracy.

They are also used in recording studios all over the world especially in Britain. That works for me.
 
Last edited:

newsletter
  • RBHsound.com
  • BlueJeansCable.com
  • SVS Sound Subwoofers
  • Experience the Martin Logan Montis
Top