the big one: how do you choose speakers? By what features, data?

I am curious how the experts choose speakers when upgrading? What are the priorities, what would make you stretch your budget?

Based on e.g....

  • brand/company’s reputation
  • price
  • sensitivity
  • crossover frequency
  • compatibility with existing amp, etc.?

I don’t have buyer’s remorse for my last pair but I sure made some stupid choices until I got there, that I could have avoided if I had known about this forum sooner.



yes, I know there is no cure. My next speakers will be the ones I will upgrade from. It sure will determine the direction. And I also noticed that size matters. 


I was in the same boat last year. I saved a few grand and splurged. Don't be hasty with your buying decisions. Reviewers only exist to sell you on new product which is priced at full MSRP. In hindsight the older models on clearance aren't much different. This narrows down your choice by a lot. 

In reading these posts, it seems many people do grasp the challenge of "room sound" -that their future speakers need to work well in their room- but the way of assessing this is through their own listening impressions. This is not a reliable method for if you have not heard "correct" sounds, don’t know how to listen, you can very easily choose a speaker that appears to sonically solve room problems. Put a simpler way, if you room lacks bass, you seek a speaker that has more bass (than flat) to compensate. We see this all the time in studios, even more so in home systems. IF the listener does not know what correct is, they can often chase their tail and jump from speaker to speaker to speaker based around perceived playback results.


Solution? In pro its to measure the room and understand the room first, decide what you can do to fix it acoustically before attempting to "solve " it through loudspeakers. Another method is to educate the listener on what "good" playback actually sounds like, which often can be very illusive as many stores demo rooms and playback systems are severely flawed yet are passed on as a "standard". This can leave the speaker customer in quite a quandary as he or she attempts to define "good" when there is no available consensus or positive standard they can assess.


This points us to the question of: does the hi fi enthusiast need to learn how to listen and acquire the listening skills to know "this is good bass", "this is too much bass", "this is not enough bass"? Once that info is roughly understood then it possible to relate it to your own room and know, yes this system in my room is close or not close. A skilled sales person can manipulate a customer to think just about anything they want based on subtle source choices, level choices and combinations of gear in front of the speaker. This may be manipulative or it may be in the customers best interest, as determined but the store’s/saleperson’s intentions. So finding a trusted salesperson or educated friend teach you how to listen can be the entire ball game. A home system with no reference can lead a purchaser down an expensive (and ultimately incorrect) path.

We arrive back at the idea that learning how to listen and hearing a "good" system may indeed be the single most important skill to acquire.

Perhaps hi fi shows are best for establishing this "reference" information, as one can listen for periods of time to systems that are well set up and do sound correct.




these are very good points. Obviously I am still struggling to define it "on paper" - given my room size, budget, other components, listening preferences, come up with a list of good candidates. I don't go to audio shows and my local shop is pretty "busy" for my budget, so my main option is trying different models with good return policy.


If you’re clueless and starting out the entry level is more forgiving because the price is low and you don’t need a serious amplifier. Anything from cheap class D mini amp to an old AVR will get the job done. If you just want to fill a small room with music (or watch movies) and are not worried about hearing every nuance (or having the clearest, fastest bass) then just get a pair of Q Acoustics 3020 or Polk R100 or Triangle BR02. To me it’s a no-brainer and everything else is a luxury. 2 channel listening is just awesome.