Big speakers, are they really the best way to get great sound?


Yesterday, I had the opportunity to listen to some very large speakers that are considered to be at, or close to, the pinnacle in speaker design and ability. Needless to say, the speakers retail in the mid to high $300k range. These speakers, and I will not be naming them, were sourced by about $800k of upstream gear. Room size was about thirty by twenty, maybe a little larger.
To say the the overall sound was BIG would be accurate, but also I noticed something else, that I typically hear with big speaker systems. Generally, the speakers were right on edge of overloading the room, depending on music, the dreaded bass boom could be heard. But, the whole presentation was greater in impact than most any smaller speaker system, yet it was almost unlistenable for the long term.

The question I asked myself, is do we really want this type of presentation in our home audio systems? The speakers threw a pretty large soundstage, but also made things sound somewhat larger than life. I also thought that this type of speaker is akin to the large box dynamic speakers of yesteryear. For example, a set of large horns from Altec Lansing or similar was reminiscent of this sound. Makes me believe that if one has a big room, a similar sound can be obtained from most any large speaker system and at a fraction of the price.

I listen in a very small room, and by necessity in the near field, yet I think the overall intimacy of this type of listening experience is better for me, your thoughts?

128x128daveyf

Very straightforward topic...

Big Speakers + Big room = Badass soul churning sound

Big speakers+ small room = A bit tricky to get it to sound right

Dinky lil crapola speakers + closet sized room = flacid let down weak crap (coupled with all problems of small room acoustics)... might be OK to hear some vocalist squealing away @ 65 db. But, then the dudes who celebrate this type of listening experience (ugh) will claim it's the best thing ever!

 

 

I listen to orchestra music.  If my room was small I’d have to adjust speaker size, but my room is not small so I’m using full range speakers.  I’ll likely purchase articulate subwoofers to extend the bottom end and fill in the lower audio spectrum. Maybe I’ll try Sopraninos to see if beneficial in the top end.

I usually don’t think in terms of large or small speakers but rather what is their frequency extension relative to the type of music I listen to.  Adequate bass energy require drivers that can handle the music.  

Especially for mihorn who requested it.

SACD played on an Oppo95 through a Yamaha RX-Z9 RECEIVER in Pure Direct mode with no eq or room correction, electronic or physical, through the Mermans recorded on a Nikon D750 DSLR in the sweet spot. Room is ~5,000 cubic feet.

This will wake you up!

 

mihorn wrote "One of serious limitation for big horn speakers (compression driver) is the dirty and rough sound. Only thing it does well is hard hitting sound such as a drum. I don’t want to listen C Rock all the time."

mihorn wrote "May be you could live record and post a couple of below (or similar) music. I need to hear your speakers more to see I am wrong."

Mozart: Violin Concerto No. 3 - Hilary Hahn,

Lidia Borda - Cuando silba el viento

Stars Fell On Alabama - Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong

Edith Piaf - Non, je ne regrette rien

@ toddalin I wanted hear something more mellow and musical, and you brought a hard rock.

Anyway, I have a live recording of same music from few weeks ago. I won’t say which sounds better. I’ll say this. If you are upgrading your audio gears, which sounds you want to have? Alex/WTA