When a budget speaker is preferred to a high end one...

How many have experienced a situation when a more budget oriented speaker has a more preferred overall sound over a higher end speaker, something at 3 or more times the price?  What are your thoughts, experiences and how can you explain this?


I think there is a calibration point below which a speaker cannot compete with something more expensive. To take an extreme case, a $200 speaker will very rarely sound better to the ttypical ears compared to a $2000 speaker. Perhaps I’m mistaken, but that’s my sense of things. So at what point is the cut off? Is a pair of $800 speakers likely to be able to sound better to any given individual than something that cost four times as much? I think it depends on one’s ears and whether one is in a used or new market. At any rate, when I am considering purchases like speakers I try to start off looking just beyond what I consider to be the calibration point and then go upward as necessary to find something I like. 

It all depends upon the room and how the speakers integrate into the rest of the system.  With the right components, inexpensive speakers can sound really good.

I have had NHT Super Zero 2.1 speakers in my secondary system for around twelve years. Over this time, I have made upgrades to the my system that have made these $100 speakers sound better and and better.

The NHT speakers are the Front and Center speakers in a 5.1 Yamaha AVR system with a sub woofer.  The speakers are perfect for the room because they are small and can be mounted on the top of the wall on mounts that are aimed slightly down.  These acoustic suspension speakers sound great despite being mounted almost flush to the wall.

As I have progressed from streaming via an Apple TV/Apple Music via Airplay to Roon through Airplay to an Orchard Audio Pecan Pie streamer/DAC as a Roon Endpoint, the two channel sound quality kept improving.

Recently, my old sub woofer died and I replaced it with an SVS 3000 Micro sub woofer.  Between fine tuning the programmable sub woofer and changing crossover setting to the SVS recommended 120 Hz, the sound quality for music increased significantly.  The SQ on my secondary system has gotten much closer to the sound quality of my much more expensive primary 2 channel system.

The point of all of this is that in my case, inexpensive speakers that are well suited to the room can be tweaked to sound really good.  The Siuper Zero's might be the least expensive component in my system, but they do not hold back the sound at all.


Not quite the same thing, but when I auditioned GoldenEar Triton 1’s they sounded much better than speakers costing much more. 

I think we should just buy what we like 😄

Inexpensive drivers have relatively low distortion at low volume levels. It’s possible to make a relatively inexpensive speaker with good dispersion and somewhat flat response. Don't push it too hard and it can sound okay. Most expensive speakers do use better quality drivers that allows playing louder with low distortion. There is no guarantee it will have a flat response or good dispersion. Usually more expensive speakers control mechanical resonances better but no guarantee. No guarantee on a lot of things. Some of these companies seem to have seat of pants approaches to design.

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