What do you consider the most when choosing a pair of speakers?

Hi, just being curious here. 

When choosing a pair of speakers, do you consider design first? or the sound? or a particular brand? 

I want to say the sound matters the most for me, but my wife would never allow anything industrial looks or a design that goes against her taste regardless of the sound quality. 

What are your thought?


Spinorama or quasi anechoic measurements. If those look pretty good then they would be something worth auditioning.

I see you sell speakers. Lets see the spins or anechoic measurements. I notice they are absent from your website that right there is a big red flag for me.

Many factors to consider. 
Most important being the sound - has to be the sound signature I’m looking for.

Room size, acoustic treatment, possible placement, synergy/compatibility with associated equipment and cables. Brand, resale value. Design is one of the last things but build and quality irrespective of design have to be top notch.

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This is my in room response from Focal Trio 11be. I know it tells you nothing about what to expect in your room but by me knowing the anechoic measurements I knew I could achieve what I was looking for. I wish "hifi" speaker manufacturers would start posting some relevant info or pointing to where it can be found like Pro manufacturers. I give Focal credit they do a good job of posting meaningful stuff. 


Hmmmm, let me think.....how it sounds to my own ears? A good place to start, no?

Put the design and sound of your $25K speaker in a $5k package, then return.

Other than the enclosure being machined out of aluminum, it appears to present itself as every other speaker-"premium" or pedestrian level.


Measurements do the weeding, how it sounds to my ears is where I end , not start. 


Any speaker could be equalized to achieve a response like the one in that graph. What is your point?


Any speaker could be equalized to achieve a response like the one in that graph. What is your point?

I thought you were out building brick speakers? 

Roy Allison (RIP) broke Kenjit’s heart, years ago, and he’s yet to recover from it.

Please, everyone, give him some space/time to heal.





I consider design first. I know I don’t like crossovers, so a crossover-less design would have my attention. I don’t care for big woofers because I am going to use multiple subs anyway.  Lastly, I don’t have a big room, so huge towers are out of the question.  Within these design parameters, I try to find the sound that pleases me. 

Well, sound. But what I have been looking for has changed radically over the last 50 years. At first it was slam, then ethereal treble, details and slam and now musicality with details in the correct perspective, midrange bloom and detailed natural bass.

In the most recent 20 years I went out listening to real acoustic music to align my senses to real music. It had the greatest effect on my values and ultimately provided the best guidance for me to choose the very best (that improved all genera of musics sound) equipment. This is what lead me to Sonus Faber for speakers… then helped me choose supporting electronics. 

Not every speaker can be equalized. There needs to be a few things in order to do it.

#1 Even off axis response.
#2 no dips and peaks from major resonances, cones or box.

#3 low enough distortion so when the bass is EQed up it does not fall apart.

I will not buy anything these days without seeing the measurements. But that is a starting point. I default to listening when possible


Measurements don’t show you how detailed the speakers is and there are still important measurements no one seems to do. 

Nice response. What’s the smoothing on that graph?

1/6 smoothing, that’s the average of 2 measurements, left speaker,  right speaker, centered on listening distance at 8ft with laser rule, no EQ.

what thoughts? - I think you're henpecked))) ...
sign up for a boxing school - your wife, mother-in-law and their dentist will immediately begin to respect you

As ghdprentice says -- "musicality with details in the correct perspective, midrange bloom and detailed natural bass." To this I'd add 3D imaging. 

Not in order/ think of 5 pie slices

Speaker designer/ engineer ie Richard Vandersteen

Build Quality

Sound Quality (by my ears)

Warranty and service

Reviews by users

I almost never look at measurements.

How do they sound is first.  Second is how do they sound. Third (are you noticing a trend here?).

How they sound is most important to me.

Aesthetics are also a consideration but depending on their sound I can look past what they look like (i.e. Magnepan).

Measurements are great and all but they won't be the same in my room vs where ever they were measured so I don't take that into consideration. 

Looks.  Aesthetics.   Visual presentation.  Then what it sounds like.  Like a wonderful $250 dinner for two.  Eyes feast first.  Then the mouth.

Avantgarde?  I don't care what they sound like.  Not in my home. 

I find that the two go hand and hand.

Just look at Sonner, Sonus faber, Rosso Fiorentino, QLN, Martin Oscar, Joseph Audio. All are fantastic sounding speakers and have the aesthetics also.


How they sound would be the very first thing I would look for. Second to that would be the specs but you can’t believe a lot of the marketing hype these days, not just audio and speaker hype. Also, the opinion of others, especially in audio forums like this where we speak the same language.

Here’s were I have a problem. I would like to be able to do A - B comparisons. I live about 2 hours from any of the high-end audio stores. My experience is dealers only carry the products they are dealers for. This really limits my choices.

Add to that now the expensive price of fuel, and it is hard to pick up and drive around to other stores since I’m already two hours from home. I might have an interest in a JBL L100 Century and a Klipsh but it is unlikely I am going to compare the two side-by-side.

I’ll tell you what I ended up doing this week. I have a set of Celestion Ditton 66 Studio Reference Monitors. I am replacing the diaphragms right now and plan to recap them after. I do not have another set of speakers to use while I tear them down so I thought about buying a second pair to tied me over. But as I described above, it’s not easy for me to get access and try.

I ended up finding another pair of Celestion Ditton 66 speakers in another city and am having them shipped to me. I already know what to expect when I go to listen to them. I also know I will get my money back.

So I never got to try anything new or different, but I know I would have to spend thousands to find a product today that is comparible with my vintage Ditton 66s.

For me the top consideration is efficiency or the ability to work with my current system.  . The next criteria has to be integration with my listening space.  For me that thins the choices and I would then pick the one that sounds the best  within my budget.  

If there was a speaker and amp combination that sounded better than speaker with my current low wattage amplifier I would have to consider it.  GaN amps might get me there I haven't heard one yet. 

Wow, great responses from fellow audio lovers. I envy those who knows exactly what to look for in terms of what sonic signature to pursue. I mean it. 

I started selling Mon Acoustic Audio speakers in the US, because I want to continue my passion in audio throughout my life. I am glad to find a way to communicate with audio lovers, just to talk about audio stuffs + life (whoever wants to share). I wanted to have a direct feedback as well 🤩

@djones51 No we don't feature measurements at this point since the measurements can give some indexes, but not the whole characteristics of the speakers. We are considering providing this to who auditions it at exhibitions, such as AXPONA(at this point, the only audio show we will attend annually) next year but nothing firm yet. I also do think the measurement can be a guide when there is no auditioning available.


@spenav Not many people are blessed with the perfect space for audio hobby. But also the exact condition gives a different journey to find the pure joy to your ears. That is a blessing itself, I would say. 

@r042wal  The logistics cost is a challenge for everyone. Many dealers are already flooded with products they can sell. I wish this industry has a way for manufacturers to demo the products to wider audiences in physical form. 

For the past 42 years decision making has been very easy for me. The speaker must have the word “Magnepan” on it.


In this order. With my components the speakers efficiency, vanishing act, it's lower midrange properties, does it move me and then it's appearance.

@toolbox149  I think Magnepan should be proud of a loyal customer like you. A great brand that offers great products. I am also a distributor for Sanctus cables of South Korea(I haven’t really begun the business activities yet), at Sanctus cable headquarter, they have a Magnepan speakers and they were awesome!


@starlightdiamond is there a particular reason that you look for lower midrange properties? A particular taste in music or because of your favorite music piece?

@henry53 …”Does my foot tap, if not don't buy them.”


👍 The intuitive rhythm and pace test. This definitely a critical test.

For me, how they sound is what matters most.  When I first started my audiophile journey, accuracy and a revealing nature were what I tended to go for, but those were the days of analog media and the first Compact Discs; sound quality of those sources and media were highly variable. Now, with streaming and digital files my predominant source of material, I want a speaker that has musicality…it has to be engaging, fun to listen to.  As others have said, it needs to get my toes tapping.

After that, the engineering, design and aesthetics all matter as well.  That’s why, being fortunate enough to buy them at a killer-price from my authorized dealer, I ended up with KEF Blade Two’s.  A speaker that seemingly checks off every box and definitely qualifies as an end-game performer.

Enjoy your music!


@arvincastro I do like that you track of your own taste changes throughout the hifi life. I respect that! As a music lover, streaming is just awesome for me. The availability of great music at finger touch, this is Hi-Fi life 2.0 for me. Maybe it is 3.0 for the industry, whatever. My point is, it is awesome to have that source variety. Do you think because of this streaming services, do you look for more forgiving, I mean, more versatile speakers are popular? Or people consider more measurements and DSP for their taste? It might be strange coming from a speaker brand person to say, but I love KEF products in general. I own many speakers before I became a distributor, and I still enjoy KEF LS50 W2 myself. I considered KEF Blade one, instead I went for a pair of Devore 96/O for a different sonic experience. I just love listening to a different pair of speakers like trying out different headphones. Sorry, kinda carried on. But like you said, let's enjoy music! 


Yes, I do think as streaming and digital files became what I listened to the most, I moved away from wanting the absolute “truth” from my system to wanting a more “pleasing” sound, if that makes sense.  The speakers I had before the KEF Blades were Thiel CS3.5’s…which were ruthlessly revealing in terms of source material.  Since owning the Blades, I’ve come to realize how before I listened in such a critical, analytical manner, where as now, I just sit back and truly enjoy…a different experience entirely.  Or, maybe I’m just getting old…

As for your second question, I never put too much too much value in how a speaker measured, especially with today’s designs where almost every reputable manufacturer’s models will measure just fine.  I think the big thing in the hobby is to let go of pre-conceptions, bias, stigmas, etc. and truly let our ears decide.  If it sounds good to you and it brings you enjoyment, then that’s all that matters...Cheers!


@poke33 Absolutely!! The space matters! I struggled with exhibition room at AXPONA last April. I think we did pretty well given it was our first time showing our products to US listeners. A lot to consider. As a good Youtuber just told me today, we need to be more scientific and clever understanding your own space for audio. 

@inna 6,656 posts??? Gee~ @twoleftears you two must know each other. You two are the ones that contributing the Audiogon's success. Yes, the sense of reality is important in this hobby and passion. Don't let the wild dream consume you. I am with you. 

What do you consider the most when choosing a pair of speakers?


Exit strategy. How the heck can I make these things go away…..?