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Thread: Looking for help in Stereo Speaker selection

  1. #21
    Senior Member cwrightthruya's Avatar
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    "Hard or Easy to drive" is an industry term meaning a level of "efficiency", not how loud you want to push your speaker system. A speaker which is hard to drive is less efficient than a speaker that is easy to drive. Often, but not always, high end speakers are easier to drive than low end speakers and smaller speakers are easier to drive than towers. I have seen several exceptions to the above rule, but its a fair assessment for our discussion here. Being hard to drive does not make a speaker "bad" just as being "easy" to drive does not make a speaker good. It is simply one of the many personality characteristics that one looks at when pairing a speaker/receiver together. It is also one of the most important because with an inefficient speaker set paired to an under powered receiver, then this can spell difficulty even for the casual listener. It makes speaker placement, wiring, and even speaker isolation much more necessary to achieve clean sound.

    My wife can hear a bad combination even at nominal sound levels, and it downright gives her a headache at reference levels. I am not as hard to please, but I can also pick out the difference quite easily, as most audio aficionados probably can. Good combinations can make music come alive, while bad combinations can bury it. Again this is regardless of sound level.

    I will use an imperfect car analogy. Take 3 cars- honda civic, Porche 911, and Hummer. Each has a different efficiency, but all run wonderfully. The efficiency in this case has much to do with the body weight and size of vehicle. When you put the honda engine in a Hummer, even driving 5 miles per hour, the honda engine is going to have noticeable deficits, while the stronger Porche engine will have less deficits and may actually do well in the Hummer body. You would possibly blow the honda engine if trying to force it to high speed in the Hummer body.


    The same is true with an under powered receiver and hard to drive speakers. Your sound simply will not be as good, regardless of sound level. And the higher you push the sound level the more noticeable the deficits will become. The bass will become muddy, the mids will bleed into the highs, and the highs will become ear piercing at reference levels. Not to mention the fact that if you ever do want to push them to reference levels you are going to take a serious chance of overheating the receivers built in amplifier system, causing it to blow and most likely also ruining your speakers at the same time.

    As a side note: I was not trying to muddy your decision by producing a bunch of stuff you probably don't care about and most likely won't notice in your room at the sound levels you are considering. I was just trying to give some insight into why I suggested you not choose the MB's, which are actually the ones most would suggest you get.

    Regards,
    Chris
    At Death's Door You Only Have 2 choices. Die Happy or Die Regretfully.
    Knowing this...........Choose 1 and Live!!!!!!!!!

  2. #22

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    Thanks Chris I really appreciate it. I only feel guilty in that I don't understand the subject better. But I'm trying!

    What's funny is the MB Quarts are the ones that keep calling to me eve though I've never heard of them, nor know what they are.

    -AJ

  3. #23
    Senior Member cwrightthruya's Avatar
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    To be honest, your intuition is correct. They are, in my opinion, the best of the bunch. I just feel that your receiver is too underpowered to be able to take full advantage of them, and I would hate to recommend something and then you be disappointed.
    That is actually the reason I recommended the EMP bookshelf speakers from Audioholics. They are incredibly easy to drive, and are about $450 a pair I believe. I know that it is far more $ than you wanted to put into them....but, If you buy them, you'll never tire of them. They are my go to speaker for those wanting to get into "high end" audio without the $$$$$ price tag. If you have any further questions I will do my best to explain, but I am no teacher.... as I have been told on numerous occasions.

    Regards,
    Chris
    At Death's Door You Only Have 2 choices. Die Happy or Die Regretfully.
    Knowing this...........Choose 1 and Live!!!!!!!!!

  4. #24

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    Welllll..... I may regret it but I pulled the trigger on an old used pair of Quart 280s. It will end up $195 with shipping, more than I wanted to spend but my gut kept telling me it was a better speaker than the rest. I found an old review of them that raved on and on, said they were about $550 back then new. I was sorely tempted to get the MB QLC104s as they were $85 with free shipping and something felt off by that. Too good to be true? The Polk Monitor 30s didn't feel right, I cant tell you why. Neither did the NHTs though they got the most votes from everyone I asked. Typical me, going against the grain. I guess I didn't get the Wharfedales cause I'm subconsciously bitter I can't get mine fixed.

    Thanks for all the help. I'll let you knbow how it turns out.

    -AJ

  5. #25
    Senior Member cwrightthruya's Avatar
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    If they are not damaged, it was a good decision. Let us know how it turns out!!!


    Chris
    At Death's Door You Only Have 2 choices. Die Happy or Die Regretfully.
    Knowing this...........Choose 1 and Live!!!!!!!!!

  6. #26

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    Who knows, if my receiver is lacking maybe it will push me to finally separate into a tuner, pre-amp and amps. It's all I wanted to do in my 20s, but life got in the way.

    -AJ

  7. #27

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    We'll see how they do. Like I said, worst case they get relisted on eBay.

    Looking forward a year or two, is there any value in building your own speakers? By value I don't mean monetary but satisfaction. Is it better to leave speaker building up to the professional engineers or can you build something that sounds great and satisfies your ears? Even though a lot of the electronics is over my head, building my own speakers has always intrigued me.

    -AJ

  8. #28
    Senior Member Johnny.B.Good's Avatar
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    Hope your purchase works out for the best, AJ!

    Quote Originally Posted by cwrightthruya View Post
    As a side note: I was not trying to muddy your decision by producing a bunch of stuff you probably don't care about and most likely won't notice in your room at the sound levels you are considering. I was just trying to give some insight into why I suggested you not choose the MB's, which are actually the ones most would suggest you get.
    All interesting reading, Chris. Thanks for the education!

  9. #29
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    mr drinky's Avatar
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    I seriously don't need to read any of this thread. I want to...but I shouldn't.

    k.
    "There's only one thing I hate more than lying…skim milk, which is water that's lying about being milk." -- Ron Swanson

  10. #30
    Senior Member cwrightthruya's Avatar
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    Disclaimer: The below is ONLY MY OPINION, there are no hard scientific facts to back it up, and there are several audiophiles that would disagree with my assessment. However my physics professor when I was in my undergrad falls on my side of this topic, as do most of my audiophile friends. The only exception I currently know is the one guy who is an electrical engineer at BOSE, and believes he is capable of building his own system, which he has yet to do by the way!!!



    I built the pair that is in my garage.....BUT

    For the most part I would say just buy a set, as it takes companies years of R&D using teams of physicists, audio engineers, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in calibrated equipment to come up with even modestly priced monitors.

    This is just a scratch at the surface of what goes into speaker design and development. Each monitor case must be matched, through physics (both power and classical) and geometry, to each loudspeaker/driver that goes in it. Then all the drivers in each case must match the sound and output at overlapping and cross-over frequencies from each other. This is not even going into materials for enclosures, wiring, and about a 1,000 other etc's. This is one of the reasons why some loudspeakers fetch $30K each and others can be bought $50 a pair.

    The above assumes you want it done correctly!!!!! And you want the best sound you can get.

    If you are just interested in having fun, knowing that you built your own monitor system, and would get enjoyment out of showing it off, then that is where the line blurs. It's actually quite fun, decently easy (but you should try and get a book on Sound waves and power physics that discusses (Ohm Rating, RMS, Line capabilities, etc). This will make sure you don't burn your first set like I did. You also will not save any money by going this route because it is not as easy as sticking an expensive driver into a box made of MDF and have it sound awesome. Most of the time, but not always, the sound you will get from your $600 drivers put in a homemade box is going to sound worse than the $500 monitor you picked up at Best Buy.

    Good Luck,
    And have fun,
    Chris
    At Death's Door You Only Have 2 choices. Die Happy or Die Regretfully.
    Knowing this...........Choose 1 and Live!!!!!!!!!

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