Which brand makes the best quality loudspeakers?

Who makes the best speakers

  • Aperion Audio

    Votes: 20 3.6%
  • Axiom Audio

    Votes: 14 2.5%
  • B&W

    Votes: 129 23.1%
  • Harman (JBL, Infinity, Revel)

    Votes: 117 21.0%
  • Klipsch

    Votes: 82 14.7%
  • Martin Logan

    Votes: 46 8.2%
  • Paradigm

    Votes: 64 11.5%
  • Polk

    Votes: 33 5.9%
  • PSB

    Votes: 21 3.8%
  • RBH Sound

    Votes: 32 5.7%

  • Total voters
    558
M

Movie2099

Audioholic
Man you stole my thunder JTR all the way best value period and what you get is simply stunning
I pieced together my future HT build with all JTR products and I'm ending around $30k. I would need to cut somewhere else in my budget to head down that road. My other build which is using RBH speakers is half that price. Trying to keep that budget in line is going to be tough! haha.
 
PerVirtuous

PerVirtuous

Enthusiast
Back about 1993, I hired a man to work with me. His wife worked for a company that made speakers in Lisbon Maine called; New England Audio Resource. He told me of how they made speakers with no spiders. Instead, the voice-coil was in a ferro-fluid that would sue the magnetic field of the coil to center it. The stronger the signal the more centered. The fluid also worked to cool the coil, so more power could run through the coil. This allowed them to give the speakers a massive magnet and an absurd throw.

He told me that they had aluminum cones and that at demonstrations they would put them in a fish tank and they would continue playing. I thought these were great gimmicks. Then he played a pair of small bookshelf speakers and switched to his Fischer floor-standing speakers. I was impressed. I went to the local HiFi store and got a demo of a tower speaker set. They had copies of Stereo Review where the reviewer said that to get a better sounding speaker, you would have to pay $5,000 each. The pair sold for $2499.

Years went by and I remembered them. When I bought a house and was looking for a Hifi system, I looked them up. Unfortunately, they no longer made home stereo products. They were purchased by Bogen and now manufacture exclusively outdoor speakers. I was sad. Then, I bought a pair from ebay used. I loved them. Then someone had a 6.5" driver for sale. I bought it. Then someone had a ceiling model with a 6.5 inch woofer and a 1" inverted dome tweeter. I bought that. Then someone had 8 matching 5.25" drivers they took from a set. I bought all 8.

Now I needed to make my own cabinets. I found a design and then modified it to the point it was unrecognizable. I made 2 towers and a center speaker. Each had two 5.25” woofers. Now I needed a mid and a tweeter. I went to ebay and found new-oldstock of Lineaum tweeters. I bought a pair. Then I looked all over the internet trying to find a great match for the mids. I tried some Bose drivers I had kicking around. I tried some JBL’s. Wasn’t happy. On a whim I bought a pair of Teac NXT speakers from Goodwill for $6. They were perfect. I looked them up on the internet and many audiophiles had said they were incredible for the microsystem sold by Teac and by Brookstone. Their range is 900hz to about 16khz. Because they are flat speakers, the dispersion was not overpowering, yet the speakers are very efficient.

I bought a 3 way crossover set for the towers. Then I used three individual crossovers for the center channel. I should have bought a third three-way. Crossed them over at 900hz and 4.5khz. The NEAR woofers will produce a good signal much higher than 900hz. They sound phenomenal. I have some JBL towers (E86) and the Hybrids eat them alive. The bass is deeper and clearer. The treble is loud without being sharp. The soundstage is phenomenal.

About the time I got the front speakers finished, someone put some NEAR Studio Monitors for sale on ebay. I purchased those to use as the surround speakers. They have one 6.5” woofer and one 5.25” full range speaker in each. Then I use the E85 JBL’s as the rear speakers in a 7.2 setup. I intend to use the 6.5” woofers and the NEAR tweeters I have for rear speakers when I have time to build them.

I used 1.25” x 11.5” x 4’ Oak stairtreads for the sides, top and bottom of the cabinets. (Lumberliquidators was having a sale on them.) I used 0.75” Oak for the front and back. The woofer cabinet stops just under the mids. It is ported in the back. I was lucky enough to find a set of tweeter covers of an old Radio Shack Optimus LX5 speaker set. Currently, I have a generic horn in the center channel. I will likely change that to a ribbon tweeter when I find the right one. All wiring is 12 gage except for the tweeters.

I am convinced that New England Audio Resource are the best speakers I have ever heard. I am very familiar with: Klipsch, JBL, Bowers & Wilkens, Mission, Martin Logan, Miller Kreisel, and some other high end speakers that I can’t currently bring to mind. The only bad part about my system is that it is likely irreplaceable. With luck, it will outlast me.
 

Attachments

Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Warlord
Back about 1993, I hired a man to work with me. His wife worked for a company that made speakers in Lisbon Maine called; New England Audio Resource. He told me of how they made speakers with no spiders. Instead, the voice-coil was in a ferro-fluid that would sue the magnetic field of the coil to center it. The stronger the signal the more centered. The fluid also worked to cool the coil, so more power could run through the coil. This allowed them to give the speakers a massive magnet and an absurd throw.

He told me that they had aluminum cones and that at demonstrations they would put them in a fish tank and they would continue playing. I thought these were great gimmicks. Then he played a pair of small bookshelf speakers and switched to his Fischer floor-standing speakers. I was impressed. I went to the local HiFi store and got a demo of a tower speaker set. They had copies of Stereo Review where the reviewer said that to get a better sounding speaker, you would have to pay $5,000 each. The pair sold for $2499.

Years went by and I remembered them. When I bought a house and was looking for a Hifi system, I looked them up. Unfortunately, they no longer made home stereo products. They were purchased by Bogen and now manufacture exclusively outdoor speakers. I was sad. Then, I bought a pair from ebay used. I loved them. Then someone had a 6.5" driver for sale. I bought it. Then someone had a ceiling model with a 6.5 inch woofer and a 1" inverted dome tweeter. I bought that. Then someone had 8 matching 5.25" drivers they took from a set. I bought all 8.

Now I needed to make my own cabinets. I found a design and then modified it to the point it was unrecognizable. I made 2 towers and a center speaker. Each had two 5.25” woofers. Now I needed a mid and a tweeter. I went to ebay and found new-oldstock of Lineaum tweeters. I bought a pair. Then I looked all over the internet trying to find a great match for the mids. I tried some Bose drivers I had kicking around. I tried some JBL’s. Wasn’t happy. On a whim I bought a pair of Teac NXT speakers from Goodwill for $6. They were perfect. I looked them up on the internet and many audiophiles had said they were incredible for the microsystem sold by Teac and by Brookstone. Their range is 900hz to about 16khz. Because they are flat speakers, the dispersion was not overpowering, yet the speakers are very efficient.

I bought a 3 way crossover set for the towers. Then I used three individual crossovers for the center channel. I should have bought a third three-way. Crossed them over at 900hz and 4.5khz. The NEAR woofers will produce a good signal much higher than 900hz. They sound phenomenal. I have some JBL towers (E86) and the Hybrids eat them alive. The bass is deeper and clearer. The treble is loud without being sharp. The soundstage is phenomenal.

About the time I got the front speakers finished, someone put some NEAR Studio Monitors for sale on ebay. I purchased those to use as the surround speakers. They have one 6.5” woofer and one 5.25” full range speaker in each. Then I use the E85 JBL’s as the rear speakers in a 7.2 setup. I intend to use the 6.5” woofers and the NEAR tweeters I have for rear speakers when I have time to build them.

I used 1.25” x 11.5” x 4’ Oak stairtreads for the sides, top and bottom of the cabinets. (Lumberliquidators was having a sale on them.) I used 0.75” Oak for the front and back. The woofer cabinet stops just under the mids. It is ported in the back. I was lucky enough to find a set of tweeter covers of an old Radio Shack Optimus LX5 speaker set. Currently, I have a generic horn in the center channel. I will likely change that to a ribbon tweeter when I find the right one. All wiring is 12 gage except for the tweeters.

I am convinced that New England Audio Resource are the best speakers I have ever heard. I am very familiar with: Klipsch, JBL, Bowers & Wilkens, Mission, Martin Logan, Miller Kreisel, and some other high end speakers that I can’t currently bring to mind. The only bad part about my system is that it is likely irreplaceable. With luck, it will outlast me.
You bought random drivers from different speakers, put them into cabinets and used off the shelf crossovers?
 
Bucknekked

Bucknekked

Audioholic Field Marshall
You bought random drivers from different speakers, put them into cabinets and used off the shelf crossovers?
@Pogre
You took the words right out of my mouth. But you forgot the line that sums it all up.
"I am convinced that New England Audio Resource are the best speakers I have ever heard. "

When I read the description of what he did, the first thing that came to mind was "I wonder what @TLS Guy would think of putting random speakers in to random cabinets with off the shelf crossovers?" He always has a strong reaction to replacing even parts of a crossover in an existing system.

I have no idea what the drivers are like produced by New England Audio Resources. They could indeed be wonderful products with outstanding sound. I simply don't know. If the OP says they are great, well, they may very well be outstanding.

The entire idea of the post has me scratching my head a bit though.
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Back about 1993, I hired a man to work with me. His wife worked for a company that made speakers in Lisbon Maine called; New England Audio Resource. He told me of how they made speakers with no spiders. Instead, the voice-coil was in a ferro-fluid that would sue the magnetic field of the coil to center it. The stronger the signal the more centered. The fluid also worked to cool the coil, so more power could run through the coil. This allowed them to give the speakers a massive magnet and an absurd throw.
What strikes me as strange is the use of ferrofluid alone to keep the former in place. The spider is more used to restrict the moving assembly to just one plane of motion. It isn't used to much to restrict excursion. I don't understand how the moving assembly could just be suspended in ferrofluid and stay in alignment all the time. The only way I can see this working is if there is some repulsive magnetic force acting on the VC/former all the time that holds it in position. If they had managed to pull that trick off, that would be neat, but I don't see anything like that mentioned in the patent.

The patent only addresses this issue with these statements: "If the elastomeric ring, and the frame, are manufactured with reasonably good precision, the cone will oscillate in essentially a true axial direction, so as to exert minimal constraint on the voice coil motion. The magnetic liquid located in the magnetic gap, will exert sufficient guidance on the voice coil, to ensure that the voice coil will move in a true axial direction." That doesn't seem sufficient to solve that problem. Maybe I am just thinking of higher excursion types of drivers, and that solution is enough for lower excursion drivers.
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
What strikes me as strange is the use of ferrofluid alone to keep the former in place. The spider is more used to restrict the moving assembly to just one plane of motion. It isn't used to much to restrict excursion. I don't understand how the moving assembly could just be suspended in ferrofluid and stay in alignment all the time. The only way I can see this working is if there is some repulsive magnetic force acting on the VC/former all the time that holds it in position. If they had managed to pull that trick off, that would be neat, but I don't see anything like that mentioned in the patent.

The patent only addresses this issue with these statements: "If the elastomeric ring, and the frame, are manufactured with reasonably good precision, the cone will oscillate in essentially a true axial direction, so as to exert minimal constraint on the voice coil motion. The magnetic liquid located in the magnetic gap, will exert sufficient guidance on the voice coil, to ensure that the voice coil will move in a true axial direction." That doesn't seem sufficient to solve that problem. Maybe I am just thinking of higher excursion types of drivers, and that solution is enough for lower excursion drivers.
Doing some more looking, it does seem like the ferrofluid in the gap does have some kind of centering force, per this ferrofluid manufacturing website: "
The presence of ferrofluid exerts a uniform radial centering force upon the voice coil in the air gap. The magnitude of this force is dependent upon the strength of the permanent magnetic field and saturation magnetization of the ferrofluid. The greater these values, the stronger the centering force. Reduced scrap rates on the production line, reduced field returns and reduced distortion (due to the suppression of radial and rocking modes of the voice coil) are some of the well-known benefits of this centering force.

In recent years, the availability of high saturation magnetization ferrofluids have allowed designers to completely remove the spider, relying on the ferrofluid to center the voice coil in the air gap. This technique not only yields lower cost and a simplified production process; it also removes the well-documented nonlinearities present in all spiders, resulting in lower distortion. In general terms, the saturation magnetization values of ferrofluids used in spiderless designs should not be lower than 33 mT
."

Interesting stuff!
 
Verdinut

Verdinut

Audioholic Samurai
I can't believe that a fluid would have a centering force. Have you ever seen a woofer of even a mid-bass driver using a ferrofluid to replace a spider. Ferrofluid material is usually used for tweeters to dampen some resonance and to cool voice coils. IMO, their purpose is not to center a voice coil in a magnetic field. I just don't believe that.

Several web articles comment about the possibility of voice coil centering. They mention the possibility because they're not convinced either. How can a fluid hold something to a specific spot? I need more scientific proof.
 
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lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Seriously, I have no life.
How long before you need to change fluid in such a driver? What volume of ferrofluid is involved in a woofer vs mid vs tweeter ?
 
Verdinut

Verdinut

Audioholic Samurai
Although it's possible, I've never heard of a woofer using a ferrofluid to keep its voice coil cooler.
 
D

David Harper

Audioholic Intern
I think my new maggie LRS speakers are the best I've ever heard. For some music, not so much for loud rock or electric instruments, but acoustic music sounds unbelievably good. And they can't play as loud as dynamic drivers in wooden boxes, so they're a trade off. My previous speakers were Polk Rtia5 floorstanders and they could really rock. The maggies just don't do that. But once you get used to the sound quality of the maggies everything else just sounds like cone drivers in boxes.They project sound like a flashlight. Maggies are like an open window. I've never heard anything like them.
 
PerVirtuous

PerVirtuous

Enthusiast
Does it have a dipstick to check the oil?
LOL. The drivers I am using are about 30 years old. They have, however, had little to no playing time. Some were new old stock. NEAR warranties their speakers for 12 years, even if they are used exclusively outdoors. Since they were made with aluminum cones and no spider, they were ideal for outdoor use. That is how they market their speakers exclusively now.
You bought random drivers from different speakers, put them into cabinets and used off the shelf crossovers?
I did. This whole project is an experiment and a work in progress. I put a lot of thought into which speakers would match up as far as performance. The 'off the shelf' crossovers were carefully selected and temporary. My brother has a masters degree in electrical engineering and he will ultimately build the crossovers I will be using. I showed him pictures of the ones I bought and he approved of the quality of the parts. He and I have been building speaker cabinets since 1974. We believe in the Duke Ellington rule: "If it sounds good, it IS good." When he visits, we will work on improving what I have. It sounds exceptional now.

FYI - I am running it at a 7.1 theater configuration on a Denon receiver with 145 watts per channel at 8ohms.

As far as the ferrofluid, there is more information here. http://www.nearspeakers.com/magnetic-liquid-suspension.html and here
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Seriously, I have no life.
I have no idea how much ferrofluid is used. I don't really care as long as they sound good and last. You can see what they have online about the issue here: http://www.nearspeakers.com/magnetic-liquid-suspension.html
Didn't explain much, was looking for something more technical in nature rather than some marketing bullet points. What's the cost factor? Why hasn't this technology that's been around a while been used more extensively outside of tweeters? From what I'd read before, it does have a limited life...
 
PerVirtuous

PerVirtuous

Enthusiast
Didn't explain much, was looking for something more technical in nature rather than some marketing bullet points. What's the cost factor? Why hasn't this technology that's been around a while been used more extensively outside of tweeters? From what I'd read before, it does have a limited life...
Here is a page written by the president of OHM speakers.

 
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P

pcosmic

Junior Audioholic
Huh????? low aptitude B&W ranks the highest on the poll!!??!!?? above JBL/Revel?? Have the jolly British trolls infiltrated the audioholic chambers? (For England James?? i mean Jim??) bwaaahaha.......... I didn't realize me good ol' USofA would lose to British trolls.

And....and...and...Klipsch sht boxes rank 3rd?!?!?! Bwaaahaha
And...and...and...good grief.....Polk sht boxes are on the list?? But,,,,,Tekton? Elac? TAD? Canton? are not even on the list?

I, hereby, rest my case (solemnly).
 

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