Audiophile Speakers for Rock, HipHop and Techno

I love many genres of music. Having a hard time finding a speaker that sounds great with hip hop, techno and rock. Suppose I should mention I've auditioned the Dynaudios Hertiage Specials and Sonus Faber Oylmpia Nova 1s. They sound fantastic with classical, acustic guitar, female voices etc... But what audiophile speaker ..especially at the 7-8k price point doesn't. Idk..  Im starting to think I need two sets of speakers. Sonus Faber Olympica Novas sound beautiful...then maybe a pair for other genres of music. Any suggestions for speakers that sound great for hip hop rock and tecno? I'm only able to do bookshelves...and I do have a pair of RELs already.

My pwr amp is a coda no.8 v2 @ 250w


Interesting question. I have owned a number of Sonus Faber speakers… for natural sound you will not find better. Perfect for jazz, classical, rock, world… well most as recorded. They will sound like intended.

I think you just need a couple of subwoofers or a swarm… B&W are good for rock and the more bass heavy genera… but then you will loose some of the other genera you like. So I think you just need subs.

I chased a specific genera for a decade or more… electronic. I got the electronic to sound better… but all other genera sounded worse. I finally started listening to real acoustic music live… the symphony every month. It drew me to Sonus Faber… and  all the genera sounded the better and better. So, be a bit careful on optimizing one kind of music. You can see where I ended up in systems under my user ID. I can assure you I am captivated each time I listen to it, regardless of the genera.

i have a pair of AirPulse A200 and they absolutely rock with techno, amazing. I do use an external DAC and a sub. The built in amps are delicious. Get the new A300 Pro I bet they kill it...

I have a pair of Dynaudio Special 40s and listen to a wide range of music as well--house, electronic, rock, disco and everything in between. I also have a REL sub and the music sounds amazing. I have a Luxman integrated 505uxii. I'm not sure how different the S40s sound from the Heritage Specials---I'm using Transparent speaker cables. 

Do you highpass your subs? If not I would start there. 

good speakers are good speaker but stand mounts (passive) just don’t have the dynamic output need in the lower bass and this Is where the high pass comes in. 

You need dynamic speakers imo and that often goes with high efficiency. Stand mounts are not high efficiency… maybe try to demo the JBl 4349. Music direct has a 60 day trial period on them.  

On a personal note I have liked my revel 228be with subs on heavy bass/dynamic music. The 128be or 226be might be worth a try. Again 60 day trials at both music direct and crutchfield with no question asked returns. The revel have a bit more upper mid energy where the Sonus Fabers are a touch down (1-3khz) and seem to have a bit more bass impact but less bass volume, if that makes sense. Flatter but harder hitting, less warm and round. Very subtle as all these are pretty flat. 

What about the speakers you demoed is not doing it for you in those genres? Might help with giving recommendations. Hip hop and techno are usually compressed and not super dynamic but have lots of mid bass so most standmounts aren’t up to it unless paired with subs. You have subs so like another poster I wonder if you are high passing your mains or running them full range. For rock, it can get dynamic depending upon the era it was recorded in. So, you’d want even more headroom from your mains. I’d be looking for a larger three way standmount if I were you. Maybe Kef Ref 1s or perhaps Tekton Impact Monitors. There are others I am sure just can’t think of them off the top of my head. 

@ghdprentice thank you for sharing your journey. Thats reassuring to hear. I will check out where you ended up. That's great your so happy with it. :) 

@canibefrank I have a pair of Acoustic Energy Ae1 actives in my secondary system. I love them. Actives speakers... I believe are the future. Well designed ones sound incredible. Looking for passive for my main set up though. I have 2 much invested in componets and love my power amplifier 2 much to let it go. :)

@bluorion I going to have to give the special 40s a try. Or even listen to confidence 20s. The heritage specials were my only experience with Dynaudios speakers so I dont have a good idea what their sound is. I found.the heritage specials sounded wonderful except the bass was very boomy. So much just distracted me from everything that it does so well. 

@james633 yes I do. It wasn't easy. I had a hard time with REL but it got sorted out. The speakers I've listened to so far...the bass has been very boomy. Mostly with the Dynaudio Heritage specials. The sonus faber I listend 2 weren't the olympica Novas in my post...I made a mistake in typing it out. It was an older model. I called the dealer to find out what they were but he didn't remember but assured me they weren't the Novas. I basically don't want a bookshelf to try and give me low endbass that it can't give me. I felt that's what the Dynaudios were doing. I feel with the sonus faber I may have to sell the t5is and get t7 or t9s rel. I'd love Rhythmik but can't fit them in my space. 

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@soix @dweller Thank you for suggesting ATC. I haven't looked at these before. From what ive been reading the SCM 19s sound like an absolute winner. It seems like ATC and Sonus Faber may have very similar traits...since they both dedicate everything to a fantastic mid range. There is one dealer in my state that sells ATC but from their web site it seems they only sell pro audio studio speakers. I emailed them and asked if they had any passive speakers available to audition.  Haven't heard back yet. 

Music Direct is an ATC dealer. If you don’t like them, you can return them.


It seems like ATC and Sonus Faber may have very similar traits...since they both dedicate everything to a fantastic mid range.

Nope.  Not even close.  The ATC mids are insanely overbuilt a produce more raw power than any other midrange drivers I’m aware of, which is why they’d be superb for your application. 

@dweller yeah.  I saw that. The finish I'd want is on backorder. Was hoping to be able to audition first but if they have a great return policy then that could be fine. Are you currently using these speakers? Curious how u have them set up from the wall. Power amp and if your using subs...

Give the Goldenear speakers a listen.  I have them and really like how they rock as well as how they sound on more gentle music.

+1 on @soix comment on ATC drivers. Their motor structures are super overbuilt. They sound clear at crazy volume levels.

@mrteeves thanks. how do they perform at low level listening?

I'm excited to check these out. I assume do just as well with orchestra,  piano, acoustic guitar etc. as well. 

I’d go with Klipsch, as it seems their intent is to provide the listener something that resembles a live concert. They are very efficient too. Me, I prefer a warmer speaker, as I listen to all kinds of music.

If money were no object, I'd buy a pair of big klipsch  for when I want to rock out to some AC/DC, Led Zep, or the Who...then I'd put them away. 

In my opinion, My Modified JBL 4312 MKII with properly dialed in sub are my choice for really loud rock. And yes, I'll hook them up when I'm in the mood. Otherwise, Dunlavy...

@tmac1700  - I use B&W 804D3 in my ultimate (i.e. retirement) system. Many deride these as "bright", but they suite me just fine. I’ve heard about ATC for years but only heard them (first time) at this year’s AXPONA. I love their forward, detailed, lively sound that leaves little to the imagination. And, due to their pro-monitor heritage, I wouldn’t be afraid to crank them up when the urge hits me. I know that if I blow out a $1000+ diamond tweeter (B&W), I’d be "singing the blues".

Good luck with your hunt!

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I goofed by recommending the ATC SCM19 — the SCM40 v2 is in your price range and will add much deeper bass and even better dynamics.  Just do it — you’ll be absolutely blown away.

For what its worth, my Klipsch Forte IV's paired with an SVS 4000 sub excel at these genres.

+3 on the B&W 804D3s. I owned a pair for about 18 months, but had to move to a smaller listening room. I didn't find them "bright", but almost any speaker can sound not their best in the wrong system.

I currently run Dynaudio Contour 20i speakers. Like most rear ported speakers, some room treatment/bass traps will make a huge difference on bass boominess... at least it did for my room/system. Placement in the room takes some time to dial in the best sound, of course. The Contours sound even better when you give them some volume, and I imagine the larger models would excel with your music selections if you have the room.

Contrary to popular belief in this thread, when Klipsch Heritage speakers are set up and powered appropriately they excel at all genres of music. Care must be taken, but when you get it right, the payoff is worth it.

@soix it makes sense why u would suggest the 19s. The two speakers I mentioned in my post are bookshelf speakers. :)

listening space is the living room and the room isn't very big. Unfortunately I bought my house before I got into this hobby.  :/

Space has been a killer for me. My partner at work feels my house isn't set up for high end audio. I don't think hes right... i just have to compromise more than most.

Sounds like ATC are bit more forgiving with placement.  As with Sonus Faber and some Focals. 

Klipsch Heritage with those two subs. Speakers and subs isolated from the floor.  Crossover 80-100 Hz. Room treated.  Nice bass

@tmac1700, to answer your question. Yes ATC perform well at low volume. The way I would describe their house sound is clean, clear and effortless. If you can swing towers the scm40 is an awesome speaker. They sound nothing like Sonus Faber by the way and closer to Focal in sonics. 

Having owned and heard ATCs of all sizes in various rooms, while it is an awesome speaker, it is not exactly a speaker for rock, pop, disco "enjoyment".

It is a very revealing speaker. It will tell you everything about your walls, floor, ceiling, doors, electricity, cables and of course the recording. It is quite tricky to set an ATC and just immerse in musical enjoyment, especially for genres which are recorded for mass audience.

What you need is a bit forgiving, silky sounding speaker without compromising too much on fidelity. Check out a Tannoy Stirling, Proac Response series or a nice Bookshelf speaker like Harbeth P3es with dual subs

Being biased beyond rationality, I like my Walsh's with their mated sub.  To my ears they do well with anything I throw at them....

As for the ATC's (which I've never heard, nor likely to), I'm positive they're fantastic at it as well.  As well as a number of individual or combinations of that would perform well....

*G*  I rather relate it to 'how do you like your eggs cooked?'
Or any other preferential or aesthetic inclination...;)

Run what you brung, J

Check out Volti Audio Rivals. Not stand mount but relatively small foot print. Sound very good on all types of music & will play louder w/ ease then any other speaker mentioned. Hand built in TN by Greg Roberts using pro drivers in a beautiful cabinet for about $6K. Big, open, dynamic sound but nicely detailed as well. I’ve heard them with 20 watts & sounded excellent. Stereophile really likes them, see their review. 

Sorry. I meant the Volti Audio Razz. Rivals are even better but more than twice the cost..

From experience with all the brands mentioned, Klipsch or JBL would be the best choice.  FYI, Klipsch Cornwall IV’s are the sweet spot of the bunch for cost/benefit ratio….they excell at dynamics and contrast, which benefits all musical genres. What you get out of them is dependent on the upstream components.


In my opinion, My Modified JBL 4312 MKII with properly dialed in sub are my choice for really loud rock. And yes, I'll hook them up when I'm in the mood. Otherwise, Dunlavy...

Care to share your mods?


I had the same problem, modern speakers lack punch, I ended going vintage. Got some JBL4343 B's from Price was very reasonable.

The owner (Greg) is a collector / dealer of JBL speakers he has virtually new speakers from the 70's to today. He operates out his house that is packed full of speakers.

Mine are currently powered by my original "hi end" (1973) system: McIntosh C28 / MC2505. 

Its underpowered but a starting point for a new system. (Looking for a MC2300 in silver)

I should also add that I am vintage (71) and prefer vintage JBL sound. 

Very satisfied, sound stage is not as expansive as modern speakers, but they can rock, reminds me of the Grateful Dead wall of sound

If you want volume and dynamics then horns would be a good choice. However I am of the firm belief that the best speaker on classical/jazz is also the best speaker for rock/metal. Genre of music doesnt diminish the problems of a speaker that would make this speaker only appropriate for one type of music. 

You could try other active speakers than ATC, like Cabasse Pearl. The middle version is around $4.5k with something like 2000w amps. Kii Three are even better but costs 3 times as much. They don't need an amp, though. Dutch  & Dutch are also good.

For stand mounts I can recommend Canton or Totem.

+ Lost Count for ATC, especially the active ones.

Looks like the majority opinion.

BTW, I own SCM100ASLT for my main listening room, SCM20ASL Pro Mk II in my recording studio and am taking delivery on a rosewood pair of SCM50ASLT for a secondary listening room.

No one does dynamics like ATC active (ie. nothing rocks like ATC active).

Maybe these folks know something about good sound:

ATC Client List

Sir Paul & Rick Rubin

Perhaps these guys would want a very dynamic and accurate monitor in the studio.

Note: ATC active monitors in the background (scroll down to first image).