Speakers for electronic/hiphop/rnb [$4000 range]?

Hello everybody,

Let me start off by saying I don’t know much about hifi. I’m trying to educate myself by visiting forums like these and I’m learning some things but most information goes over my head. And most of you listen to classical/rock/jazz so it’s hard to find an opinion that is relevant to me without asking. I currently have a set of Kef ls50’s that I blind bought because of amazing reviews paired with an arcam a19 integrated amplifier and it’s basically the best purchase I’ve ever made. It’s made me appreciate music in a different way and now I would like to upgrade to a new setup in a designated music room with new speakers and new components. The room will be 12x17.

A store near me sells Harbeth speakers but I think I read bass is lacking in these but I may still try to audition them, I’m not really sure what else is well regarded in my price range..
As a newbie, I recommend going to as many dealers and listening to as many speakers as possible. Get to know what you like and don't like.

Hifi systems are synergistic. All part play a part in recreating music, so not only are speakers important, but the components behind them.

That you find your current setup a good one is a start. If you want to get really serious about this, get some ideas of speakers you like. Floorstanders or bookshelf. What you want to spend. Etc...
Then fellow Agoner's will probably give you more information that you ever wanted.
If you like the Kefs,why not keep them and add a nice subwoofer to your system? You can ask the dealer if you can take the Harbeths home to try them out. BTW, I am a Harbeth owner but I don't know how they will sound with Hip/Hop type of music.
Thank you for your response. I will definitely be going to audio stores around the Toronto area to audition speakers, just looking for some direction on which speakers I should be auditioning.


I do love the kefs but yeah I'm not sure it's optimal for my music sometimes. The thought of adding a subwoofer has crossed my mind but I then read somewhere that you shouldn't be pairing these with a subwoofer for whatever reason. Also I would like a setup with a bigger sound for my dedicated music room, right now I am just using my kefs as my computer monitors as that's where I listen to most of my music atm and I may just keep it  that way. 
Harbeth is not a match for hip hop. Stay away. I would take either yogiboys advice or look at other kef models. I think a pair of b&ws, golden ear or dynaudios might work well for you as well.  I've never listen to an arcam with a pair Vandersteens but the Vandy 2 or 3 may sound pretty good especially for r&b.  Go listen to a few different models.... that's the fun part.  
Hi torontoelectro - Sounds like you already have a nice system considering that you bought sight unseen.

I agree with the advice above in that you should try to listen to as many speakers as you can at the dealer but I think that I would hesitate to try to integrate a sub at this point simply because it takes a lot of fiddling to get just right and often has you chasing your tail to get beyond massive bass slam and to an integrated frequency response that integrates with your speakers, placement and room.

Without giving you a specific speaker recommendation, assuming that you do get a chance to listen to several speakers at the dealers, keep in mind that they will be able to help you narrow down your choices if you come with a clear wishlist of what you want and preferable in the lingo that they're familiar with.

For the type of music that you like, you're going to want:

Full range floor standing speakers that:

Low frequency response - Preferably down to about 30hz or better
Exceptionally tight bass
Very detailed mid/high
Fast dynamics

I'm guessing this will probably be a 3-way design and will also have the ability to bi-amp at some point in the future.

Once you've narrowed it down to a few, then you should start thinking about your amplification - For the type of speakers and music you like, you're probably going to end up with speakers that will be power hungry - Lots of tight bass with great detail and dynamics almost always means lots of fast power to drive them.

All of that said - I'm curious what it is with your current setup that you feel is missing since you seem to really appreciate it.

Finally - You can expect to get dozes of varying opinions here because everyone's taste is different - at the end of the day the most important thing is that you enjoy the sound of your music in your room with your setup.  In fact, part of the fun is the journey along the way where you get to better understand yourself and the effect that different equipment will have.  Only you can be your best expert.

Hey! I listen to loads of electronic, some good indie hip hop (stones throw..), trap, reggae, dubstep... Lots of overlap with your likes!

I’m using rbh speakers, 1266se/r. They’re pretty freaking amazing. I can run them very loudly and they stay clear and tight. But, like everyone says, it’s all about synergy between components and speakers. For instance, my speakers are 4 ohm and need lots of power to drive the 12". So I went with class D amps. Your integrated is 50 w, so you’ll want to stick with very sensitive speakers. I wouldn’t worry so much about what type of music you listen to, though. It will matter for certain choices, but if you work on assembling a system that is reasonably flat, all music will sound good.

I’ve read the pendragons sound great with moderate power.. But that’s only reviews. I’ve never actually heard them. So either do what you can to listen to as many different speakers as possible or read a bunch and then take a gamble. Speakers are harder to buy and sell used though, just because of their size and weight.

Good luck and have fun!
There should be a Bryston dealer around you I would assume . Think they would be a great all around speaker for any genre. From the reviews I have read they can play loud without distortion . Many hifi speakers have a tilted treble to dazzle on unamplified instruments (classical , ect..) . You will want to avoid those like the plague .

Some brands I have heard crank popular music genres .Paradigm , PSB , Salk , Totem , Legacy ,

Thank you very much for your detailed response. It will actually be very helpful in my search since I don't really understand the hifi talk quite yet lol. 
I will be keeping my Kefs 100% as they really make some of my music shine but I guess with some stuff I'd like to have more bass/big sound but without sacrificing quality. 

@everybody else

Thanks for the suggestions so far, I will be researching everything suggested and I will stay away from the Harbeths as suggested lol. And so there's no confusion I will not be using the Arcam A19 on my new speakers, I will be buying a new setup completely.
No prob at all -and you can all call me Greg :)

One thing I would make sure that you look for is a set of speakers that can throw an absolutely massive sound stage that has incredible front and center focus that have zero muddiness.  Given your room size, that should be easy to do.

For your music preference, you want to make sure that whatever you go with, your speakers have the ability to sound that music is coming from all directions (including behind you) and still sound centered and focused.

Happy to share my personal preferences with you but at the end of the day, your ears alone will need to be the judge.

But in the end, the one thing that's indisputable is that if you want to listen to your music at realistic "live" volume levels, you're going to need some serious power to control the speakers.

I'm sure that you're going to enjoy this process and so glad that you have your first system that has awakened you to the possibilities.

Only happens once - enjoy it!

Just one more thing to add when you're auditioning speakers.  As you're listening, recognize that's there only one "right" volume to play any music.  If it doesn't sound realistic and get you off your couch at that volume, then they are not the right speakers or system - move on (quickly) and figure out why and find a solution.

Fun times
I have a tricked out pair of Klipsch Forte Is and love them: they reach down to 32-35hz depending on room placement, and the titanium tweeter and midrange diaphragms make for razor-sharp definition and a great soundstage.  They are horn speakers, which some people consider to be "shouty" and they are very forward: music has a definite live feel.  I have not heard them yet but I have heard nothing but good things about the new Forte IIIs and they are $3600-4400 a pair depending on the finish.  (They have a 15" passive radiator and woofer like the last model, the Forte II: my Forte Is have a 12" passive and woofer). And Klipsch makes extremely efficient speakers so you should have no problem with your amp.

I was just listening to an MP3 of a DJ Screw mixtape: earlier I was listening to a Godspeed You! Black Emperor FLAC that starts with a very low drone and it was suitably earth-shaking: if you wanted the Phat Bass you could do worse than Fortes.  (If you have the room you could look around for a pair of vintage Klipschorns as they will certainly give you lots of room for volume -- they do 104dB/1w, which is 10-16dB more efficient than most speakers on the market today.  But they require two corners with clear walls and are the size of refrigerators, so they may not be a match for your living situation).  
Ah... If you’re setting up a completely new system, that opens many possibilities. Greg basically covered all that’s important without throwing his opinion in, which is commendable. An option for you not yet mentioned would be floorstanding speakers with integrated powered woofers/subs. This will let you choose an amp without crazy power..

Like I said above, I listen to similar musical styles. The route I chose to go was class D monoblocks putting out 500w/channel into 4 ohm 3 way floorstanders that are reasonably flat to 30hz. My room is small enough I could have gone with less power and smaller speakers, but I like to immerse myself in the sound and feel the mids/bass but have enough power and control to hear clean highs over all of that..

Not trying to sway you my way, just giving you an example of what works. Before the monoblocks, I had a class D crown that was a beast and sounded great for just a few hundred bucks. It’s a good solution if you blow all your cash on badass, power hungry speakers, then realize your 80 w/channel integrated amp isn’t going to cut it. Ask me how I know... :-)
Todd speaks the truth- except this (no offense Todd):

"floorstanding speakers with integrated powered woofers/subs"

Unless you've got the scratch for Beolab 90's that is...

The guys that design drivers
The guys that design cabinets
The guys that design crossovers

You want each of them to be the best in their field right?

I would never want an audio component that was jointly designed by the best in their discipline and have to listen to them beat it out every day on my system.

Corporations - you can hear it



Thanks I will look into auditioning the new fortes at my local Klipsch dealer if they have pair just to see if I like the horn sound.

@todd & @greg

I was actually considering auditioning the Golden ear titron 1s which I believe have integrated woofers/subs.. I’ve read people saying good things about them, why exactly don’t you think it’s a good idea to get speakers with build in subs Greg?

Also Greg, I’m not really sure I understand what you were saying about there only being one right volume.. Do you mean they should sound good at any volume?

Oh and how about your thoughts on the Tekton double impacts everybody seems to be talking about? Would that be a good option for me?
Toronto, many recommendations of speakers are personal beliefs, it behooves you to find a speaker that you like, not based on reviews or other members. Luckily, you live in an area where you can trial a number of different brands. Some like Zu and (I think) Tekton offer trial periods for their speakers- so you can see if they are your cuppa.
Also, try to find some local clubs or groups in your area. We hifi nuts love to show off our stuff to like minded people.
Lastly, a good dealer will work with you and help guide you to find what you are looking for, and not try to push you into buying something you aren't happy with or don't want to pay so much for.
My 2 cents...
Bob you keep bringing up good points, I definitely need  to get out there and find out what I like for myself. It's just nice to have some guidance from people with years of experience to make my search a little easier. 
Yogiboy recommended to you setting up the Kefs in your dedicated listening room. If you have not done that, why not give it a try. There is a current post on here, where the OP wanted speakers specifically for rock. I am from the camp that good speakers should sound good with all types of music....to a point, of course. Set the LS 50s up in your dedicated room, and see how they are. You will hear their weaknesses for sure, but you should hear things that are better as well. This will, as well, give you an opportunity to get to know your dedicated room. At this point, your journey will begin. MrD
By "right volume" - I'm talking about the volume setting at which the loudness of the central image and/or vocals/lead sound natural (live) and the soundstage appears appropriately sized.
  Hi, I'm currently listening to Aphex Twin on ProAc Studio 148's.  They're very detailed, without being bright or harsh & produce quite a large amount of bass considering their size.  I can say they easily bested all other speakers I've heard/auditioned in my size & budget.  Better yet, they work well without gobs of power.
  If you find you like the Harbeth sound, but want more prodigious bass and a bit more extended treble, I highly recommend them.
@mrdecibel -
Great advice! I can see why some people think speakers are for one genre or another, but for me, a well made speaker will play any type of music properly.
As greg mentions, music should be played at normal levels. I really don't like listening to an instrument that is over life size. But, that's just me speaking as an older person (who listened to loud music in his yourth and is now paying the price).

I think you should listen to the Harbeth's because you can. A LOT of people talk about Harbeth's who have never heard them...ever. I agree that they might not suit your taste at this point in time. As you get older there's a chance your music preferences will change and they might be suited to your tastes. I used to be a die hard B&W fanboy when I listened to music very loud and mostly rock.  I now listen to a huge variety of music and the Harbeth's do everything right for me. Don't ever pass up the opportunity to listen to a good speaker. It may very well introduce you to a new musical genre and forever change your life.
The golden ear tritons are exactly the speakers I was thinking of! 

Greg does have a point, though. But it is a generalization and will not always be true. Though it often is. His point is that speaker manufacturers probably aren't hiring the best amp designers out there. So the amps in powered speakers probably aren't going to be super cutting edge.

But the tritons seem like they may be an exception to the generalization.
Speakers don't care what you put through them. Classical music is pretty demanding- what works well for that works well for hip-hop and house as well. That a speaker is good for a particular genre of music is one of the longest-running myths about loudspeakers out there.

There is good advice on this thread despite that- audition if you can, and don't ignore the relationship between amps and speakers. Several of my employees are into hip hop- they all run tube amps and easy to drive speakers.
You guys are pretty awesome with the advice. I don’t think I would have had the plan to audition as much as I do now if I hadn’t come on this forum but you guys have drilled it in my head lol. I’m pretty excited now to start and at the same time a little scared I’ll audition something above my budget and fall in love. I’m already sort of mentally preparing myself to the possibility of  spending 6-7k now because I definitely want to be happy with my setup and enjoy it for 10+ years without the thought of wanting anything else..
@OP,I know how you feel, but it is good to listen to speakers out of your price range. That way you will know what can be accomplished in a 'perfect world'. Take that knowledge and find a speaker in your price range that accomplishes the task most convincingly.
A good dealer will not pressure you to buy something you can't afford.
And, they won't be affronted if you decide to buy used. Everyone does it. I have a dealer who helps me with 2nd hand purchases. He understands not everyone can  afford to buy new. And, knowing he is trustworthy, I will refer him to others. I digress...
At $6-7K, you can get a killer system. Just go and listen. Get some products you like and look them up here on Agon, or HifiShark-heck even a dealer will have used equipment.
Going used cuts out the depreciation loss you take when buying new. And, since you are now a knowledgeable buyer, you will know what you want and not have an unpleasant surprise. 
Of course, if you need further help, just make another post.
Good Luck
I think you may want to  have a budget in mind before exploring.  Otherwise you will get recommendations ranging from $2K to $200K.  Do you have budget range?
@torontoelectro - I am a n00b as well. I feel your pain. I was excited to make my first dive into hifi. A few weeks later, I found frustration in the huge amounts of data I had to digest and understand. Options, brands, sizing, placement, and on and on. I was very excited to get my system going, despite my zeal, it still took me 4 months before I felt confident enough to pull the trigger. I agree with folks that are telling to you take your time and listen to as much as you can. It can be somewhat exhausting, and very confusing, but you want to be "mostly" sure about what you’re doing when you shell out all that dough. I went and listened to several pieces 3 times before I decided which way to go.

Regarding speakers in your $$$ range... I too play a fair amount of rap and old school R&B, so I brought along some of that stuff when I was demoing gear. One speaker that I liked was the B&W CM10S2. You might try that one. There is the synergy aspect that others pointed out. Speakers alone don't account for the sonic result that you hear. It's also about how the speaker behaves with the amp. Don't make your choice just on speakers alone, probably need to consider the system as a whole.
Yes absolutely I plan on finding the right speaker then researching amps that pair well with the speaker I chose.