I was thinking about the key elements that make a great speaker, and came up with this short list;

1,  Tonality - a speaker needs to be able to reproduce instruments accurately.  A harp needs to sound like a harp.  The strings need to sound as if they are plucked.

2.  Accuracy - the speakers must be flat across their stated bandwidth...+/- 3 DB  1

3.  Dynamics (Attack and Decay) -  to effectively portrait the music, the crescendos and Diminuendos must be accurately represented.  This keeps one interested and involved in the music.  

4.  Imaging - to some folk, this is not essential.  Certainly it is not as essential as the previous three requirements, but I appreciate a proper stage image.  

5  Resolution - the ability to resolve and portray inner detail and nuance of the music.  

6.  Matched - electronics must match the speakers impedance, sensitivity and overall sound.


I am going to throw this into the mix.

Car insurance companies ALWAYS advertise that they have the cheapest rates. Many times..that is what the consumer focuses on. But what happens when you need to make a claim? What is the customer service ACTUALLY like?

A speaker can sound tremendous. It can cost a gazillion dollars. But what about the customer service??? I heard a story about Magico. If the tweeter goes bad, it’s like $13k for Magico to replace it...and you must send the speaker back to Magico (shipping a 175lbs spreaker crated). When Magico is done fixing your uber expensive speaker ...they send a message which dock to arrange for YOU the owner to pick up your speaker. They don’t ship it back???

My point is this. I personally don't just think about the sound. I think about what my money pays for. Sound is a large part of the decision, but so are other factors, like resale cost, customer service, reputation of the company, resources they have....etc, etc. I get the characteristics of the sound part, I do. But that gets beat to death in this forums. What about the company?

2psyop - Could not agree more.

As a general rule, longevity without the need for service, is my number #1 concern.  

Most things are at best an inconvenience to a real hassle to return and get repaired.

And I get that things break, I just don't want to deal with it.  

It is perhaps the main reason why I stay away from buying used.  

As for the original post, my room set-up, along with how much real estate I can devote to the speakers, dictates what speakers I can get.  Apartment living with a spouse and 2 cats rules out a lot.  My speakers will sit on the top of bookcases, so most of the audio niceties are not coming into play.  



What you described pertain to the relation System/ speakers/room more than to the speakers alone...

Even with the best specs there is , in a bad room, forget them any speakers will work way sub-optimally ....

And speakers designers use the box dimension they had in some way that is not always optimal but esthetical and accepted by consumers...😁 In m y case few inches rectangular 2-way box with a porthole,  they sound OK out of the box, Lack bass extension , but they look good...😁

But acoustics of speakers box ask sometimes for something else especially because minimal if not optimal  bass levels and extension must be there ...And high frequencies must be focussed and optimally directed in near field listening... And the tweeter must not interfere with the bass driver...

I modified my small box acoustically , it is not esthetical, but my God! the result is ANOTHER speakers completely with another better response...

If i describe what i had done immature ignorant will call me "tin foil hat" , they just dont understand acoustics basic...😊 They belive only "price tag"...

The better speakers had no particular brand name but exist ONLY in a SPECFIFIED room designed for it with sometimes an improved box ...😊

@mahgister  1+

You can not consider the sound quality of a speaker without taking the room into account. They are two parts of the same transducer.

It is relatively easy to assess build quality. Certainly, the amp and speakers have to be matched. 

If all those qualities are essential to you then I suggest you get a digital preamp/processor and you can make any speaker/room sound almost like anything you want. Some room treatment is always necessary. 

A flat response for a speaker is always wrong. Especially in the bass. Not only does no one make a speaker like that, but audiophiles often have a preference for going towards one flavor or another. These are not laboratory instruments no matter how much audiophiles claim to want neutrality they hardly ever actually like it.

There are a number of well-researched curves such as the Harman or B&K curves which are not flat, and the research done in terms of bass levels.  Flatness is wrongness.  Even smoothness is something debatable especially for those who like to feel visceral impact of a plucked harp string.

The list misses ability to reproduce the acoustic space of the recording.


1, Tonality - Frequency response of the speaker in your room.

2. Accuracy - Frequency response of the speaker on its own.

3. Dynamics (Attack and Decay) - Can it play loud with low distortion?

4. Imaging - Good dispersion plus #2 and not screwing it up with your room.

5 Resolution - Low distortion and not screwing it up with your room.

6. Matched - Make sure it has enough power to get the volume levels you desire.


A flat response for a speaker is always wrong. Especially in the bass. Not only does no one make a speaker like that,

What the heck? Many make speakers with flat responses on their own, or try.  That is not the same as the response of the speaker once it is in a room and because the response in the room is not the same as the speaker on its own does not mean it is not important.  Are you sure you are meaning what you mean?


@paul_lindemann Wrote:


I would say transient response, wide dynamic range, image stability, and coherent sound, flat smooth response, high efficiency, wide control dispersion horizontal and vertical, high power capacity and must have good acoustic output in the very low frequency range of 20 to 35 Hz with low distortion. Also the frequency response should be the same in all the directions in which sound is radiated. These are attributes that make speakers sound more like real music in my experience. 😎





First would be smell. Second would be how they sound in my listening room. Third would be smell again.

I try not to dissect the sound. The closer to reality the better.. Room of course is always important, and the louder you play the more important.

Here are some factors that I failed to consider in my analysis of purchasing a speaker.

1.  Customer Service /Longevity - Over the course of 40 years an audiophile, I have had one tweeter go bad on me.  So that is 1/50 pairs of speakers in 40 years.  Unless a manufacturer is notorious for having very poor service, this is a non issue for me and not a top concern.

2.  Smell - Someone trying to be funny...I am sure that some sites out there appreciate dumb comments, just not here.

The accuracy of frequency response is critical to me - though not to all apparently.  To each their own.

Lots of great recommendations also that I agree with and consider!

As a Dealer, I have access to great business partners, like Audience and LTA/Berning - and hundreds of thousands of dollars of sound testing gear.  It was hard (really, impossible) for me to develop great sounding speakers, so I can imagine the difficulty of others - even if he is a top notch electrical engineer, Physicist,  Sound expert etc. would have in building their own speakers.

LOL!!! How they Look is high on my list.  If she looks pretty, I will overlook her misgivings.

If you want all these attributes be prepared to spend $20k on up 

and as I have stated many times ,having owned a Audio store for a decade

only 25% of the cost or less goes into the speakers ,the rest R&D overhead and markup.  l  have  seen first hand the 🧠 or ♥️ of Every Loudspeaker is the Xover design, components,  most even at $20k. Are truly not that much better 

then average pick Any speaker I can pick out the flaws . On my mint 3.4 Dynaudio contours. I rewired them ,and totally upgraded the Xover ,all to often they may use Good Jantzen inductors to dissipate heat ,but the resistors are $2 ceramic types the$30 Mundorf Ultra ,or Path Audio for example are much better sounding and capacitors, many are still using Solen , or the cheaper Mundorf Evo white caps , that are ok.There are many good brands ,foils cap type are better then the standard Sprayed on particle conductors. That being said there are several that are good such as Mundorf Supreme, Clarity caps upper line, Audyn ,Aura cap XO, and VH Audio Odam to name a few . For a great balanced foil cap the Jantzen Alumen Z are very good for a bit extra monies .I spend $1600 upgrading the speaker just in parts , it sounds much more balanced and detailed then their new model 30 at $8k+,and their new drivers are supposed to be a bit better ,the Xover being That much better transformed a already very respectable speaker ,that’s why modding in both Loudspeakers and Electronics is such a good value ,buy a higher quality used product and put monies into modding it and it will sound. Much better still and less$$then new , you usually get what you pay for , some sadly charge much more just for their name. Being into Audio for decades ,it’s just my observation.


It is very clear and very precise statement...

I believe you because in my limited experience the only way to optimize speakers, save for mechanical and electrical modifications is acoustic...

Price tag upgrade is generally way less powerful than these three embeddings modifications...

Am i deluded ?

I just modified and embed acoustically cheap very good speakers and i am in sonic paradise ? Without modification they sound unbalanced and bad... With modifications they are cinderella...

I dont believe in price tag , save in the case of few hundred bucks and some 20,000 bucks differences which are real improvement even without acoustics nor any electrical and mechanical modifications...

For me acoustics basic and components synergy goes a longer way than most upgrade...

My system is more than satisfying now , in his two aspects : modified headphones and small modified speakers box in well embedded acoustic corner...

Then if it was possible for me , it is for most people even without money...

But without understanding basic acoustic by experiments it was IMPOSSIBLE for me all my life...I learned this small step at a time in the last 12 years...And mostly in the last 7 years...By experiments with my ears.... If not this way ,  how can you understand what is "TIMBRE" as an acoustic experience  ?


As a Dealer, I have access to great business partners, like Audience and LTA/Berning - and hundreds of thousands of dollars of sound testing gear. It was hard (really, impossible) for me to develop great sounding speakers, so I can imagine the difficulty of others - even if he is a top notch electrical engineer, Physicist, Sound expert etc. would have in building their own speakers.