Skip to comments.Stereo Speakers
Posted on 07/17/2012 6:44:42 AM PDT by beenaround
I would like some input on which in wall speakers to choose to replace the Polk ATi-A9 tower spkrs I have. I love the speakers but want to free up some space without sacrificing the sound quality I have
Price is not an issue. My listening preferences are mid 40's to mid 60;s and some 70's stuff all played at moderate to low level. I have a Parasound 2100 pre amp powered with Parasound 2250 2 channel amp (250 WPC). I also have a Cambridge DAC (DacMagic)
All my music is in WMA and MP3 (minimum 250 bps) form and stored on a hard drive as well as on thumb drives.
Any advice any of you can give me will be greatly appreciated as I have had no personal experience within wall speakers.
Try anything by Bose. You should be able to find a space saving alternative for your Polks.
Welcome to FR. You’ve come to the right place for an opinion. Everyone here has one.
well youve certainly come to the right place...
LOL, thanks (I think)
Hands down the best speakers if you can afford them are Klipsch. The technical specs for dynamic response, range and lack of harmonic distortion are second to none. I know a lot of people like the Bose label but if you put them to the test and actually look at the technical specs, they are only a second tier vendor. The Klipsch loaded horn design is simply the most efficient and best responding speakers money can buy.
Klipsch also has a wide range of of speakers. Everything from floor stands, to bookshelves to even their line of flat speakers (to go beside your flat screen). I highly recommend their products and use them myself in my surround sound system.
Since price is no object, I’m the wrong guy to ask except for one thing: Steer clear of Bose. I collect vintage hi-fi gear and sold the stuff in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Bose is a marketing company. They are the only major player that will not publish their specs.
A satellite system with subs that go as high into the audible range as their do can not be taken seriously by anyone serious about sound.
Polk is one of my favortes for the money, but I’ve not seen their more recent stuff.
Regarding Bose, here is everything you need to know:
And this is funny, especially the single comment: http://beloved-brands.com/2011/10/17/is-bose-high-quality-or-low-quality-is-bose-a-beloved-or-hated-brand/
Here is where you REALLY want to go on this issue:
If you own your home and can do the carpentry, you might consider in-wall speakers. Polk makes in-wall systems too.
Check out Madisound— they offer kits with excellent components. Google them, they’re online.
Opinions? I like a good “image” and sharp detail from speakers. I’ve not heard the Bose speakers lately, but back in the day they made their boxes with speakers loaded to reflect off of an adjacent wall, which muddied the sound.
They’ve done amazing things with small boxes, but the focus seems to be getting bass response from a smaller box, not better sound.
Final thought: many systems are designed for in-home multi-media—not music.
Check it out, my man. The flagship of the entire Dominator line. The MX-10. 30 inches of thigh-slappin', blood-pumpin' nuclear brain damage! So what if it's as big as a Subaru and costs as much! You'll never have to trade this in. This is gonna be with you for the rest of your life. And when you die, they can bury you in it!
My favorite source, for what it is worth, is Parts express.
Speakers generally are grouped by price, and generally the more you pay, the better sound you get. There is a point that paying more only increases the listening experience by a few percentage points. But I would look at very high end book shelf speakers, like Revel, Sonus Faber, B&W, I listened to the B*W recently, really like them, Paradigm Reference, I think spending $1500 to $2000 on a pair is really going to be hard to beat, I think its the Emporer’s clothes after that, but you could pay less than that if you bought on Audiogon.
You might want to check this out:
Madisound = white van speakers
Salk Songtowers... period.
routinely beats other speakers... i just got them , and WOW is all i can say...
No highs, no lows, must be Bose. Bose is not an audio company, it’s a marketing company.
Even when I sold the stuff, I was always a bit of a cheapskate. I used to bi-amp a pair of ESS AMT 1B monitors with a 400 wpc Hitachi amp for the woofers and a 100 WPC hitachi mos-fet amp for the heils. But I’m all over reasonably sized bookshelves with a sub now.
But once you start talking more than a couple hundred per speaker my eyes glaze over. I’ve hung around Difinitive audio and a few other places where amps cost tens of thousands, as do speakers. They DO sound better, but having been in live bands myself, and appreciating live music, if I want that kind of quality I go see the band live.
I used to be an audiophile until I realized that “audiophile” and “music lover” are two completely different things, though one can be both. The difference is, when playing a record or digital source:
-—A music lover listens to the music.
-—An audiophile listens to the equipment reproduce the music.
This is why I have a bunch of VERY WELL RECORDED AND PRESSED albums of crappy music from my audiophile days. It’s why I have a recording of trains and thunder. :-)
I am now a music lover with a latent audiophile gland still functioning, though very anemically. I do love the vintage equipment, though.
You’ve got a problem: Changing out speakers for reasons other than failure of the system.
Going from towers to shelf (to say NOTHING of in-wall)is ITSELF going to create a big difference is sound.
Were the towers de-coupled from the floor or what ever they stood on (by you or the manufacturer)? Were they near a wall, in a corner? You were not only listening to the polks you were listening to the room. Even in a cost is no object situation these factors can violently change the perception of sound. You could spend big dough on great speakers and have them all futzed by the shelf/wall, placement etc. Sound can becom harsh, muddy etc.
You can go consumer playback, which tend to have a “sound” built in to them or studio refrence which try to be un-colored and flat. If I were you I’d try to find forums that have people who know the Polks and upgraded from them. Try posting your question on www.gearslutz.com in the high end section. Tell them what kind of room they’ll be used in, ie; “treated” listening room, living room etc. A lot of those guys have been there and done that.
A favorite scene of mine, btw., having been in hi-fi sales myself back in the day when one could make a good living doing it.
There are literally hundreds of choices ranging from $100 to thousands.
If you have a reputable audio dealer in your area, listen and buy from them and insist on a return policy.
The speakers will not sound the same in your room as they did in the store.
It is also good to fiddle with speaker placement.
Small adjustments can radically alter the sound.
P.S. You can aso search the forums on GEARSLUTZ, your question has been brought up many times.
And then he sees his pregnant wife, and totally changes his tune, great scene.
As you can tell by the responses here, we all have opinions but we don't necessarily always have good reading comprehension skills. :-)
Trains and thunder...MFSL The Power and the Glory...it’s great.
Check out http://www.northcreekmusic.com/ he makes a new Fibonaci Ribbon- about 5ft and full range. His name is George Short and he makes the best. You can call him as well.
The only people in that movie that are NOT ruthless are the kidnappers.
A bit of trivia to demonstrate just how PC we have become:
Remember the scene where he is soapboxing about how ruthless they need to be, all the time being very careful to pick up a spider and take it outside without harming it? Well, in the movie, he sets it on the porch as he finished his speech, suddenly got clarity about what he had just communcated, and squishes the spider.
In the version broadcast on television, the spider squishing part was removed. I noticed because it was one of the funniest parts of the movie.
You nailed it! FWIW, I've got a Zoom H4n that I've used to record trains and thunder (complete with buzzing and chirping hummingbirds) and actually gotten much better results than that album. Technology marches on. ;-)
Sandy Gross started this company in Baltmore after he left Polk Audio. Sandy and Matt started Polk Audio back in the 1970s. Definitive Technology is now one of the best speaker companies on the market. Their subwoofers will shake your home.
—And all this time I thought we were in a recession.—
What? You’re not a banker?
Recently, we had our home remodeled. As a part of that project, I wanted to make my music easier to access. I had a particular challenge. I have a 800 CD classical music collection but I have a home and a cabin. The CDs are stored on two 400 disc Sony players. If I moved the CD players back and forth to the two places, some would become dislodged and I would have to open the enclosures and reseat them. So, I looked into a music server for my home and planned to use and leave the CD players at the cabin.
I had no idea how to approach the server idea so I went to the local high end stereo vendor. He suggested I do some A/B comparison listening with particular emphasis on digital compression formats. I listened to as many as I could and found that comparing MP3 to the actual CDs showed MP3 to be unlistenable for me. It was primarily the dynamic range of the compressed files that was the problem. I auditioned a number of others on my own equipment and found that FLAC-lossless was a format that, for me, was indistinguishable from the original source. So I purchased a server that would record in that format. In my opinion, if I had been looking for speakers at that point, listening to my music on MP3 could not have been significantly enhanced. It was the MP3 (and other compression formats) that were the weak link in the chain.
That said, my music listening speakers are KEF Reference 105/3s which I purchased in 1990 or so for $3500/pair. Don't even consider spending anything near this for your listening habits and sources. My speakers have lost a little of their brightness over the years but I have them in a uncarpeted large room with a lot of hard surfaces and glass and they work very well in there. The other speakers that I use are at the cabin and I have one other set of the same at home for my wife who watches movies, TV, etc. with them as her listening source. They are Paradigm Studio 80s but I can't recall the purchase price. I have been quite happy with these speakers also and they were substantially less expensive than the KEFs.
It used to be a rule of thumb that you should spend about 50% of the cost of your system on speakers. I think if you decide to upgrade your speakers, you should LISTEN to a variety of speakers using some of your own music that you bring with you from place to place to be able to make fair comparisons. Even this will not tell you how the speakers will sound in your home, however. Before I purchased the KEFs, the dealer let me take them home for what ended up to be 2 months. This is one of the reasons to have a relationship with a reputable dealer in your home town. You will not be able to do this in a "big box" store.
There are a lot of reputable speaker manufacturers out there. My suggestions to you would be to not spend a fortune and to listen to as many types as you can and pick the ones you like the best.
—And all this time I thought we were in a recession.—
How about a $50,000 turntable.
For the past 30+ years I’ve owned only Polks . Great company !
and AVS forum..
much better site than gearslutz in my opinion.. I do also like the audio karma forum, as someone mentioned above.
we audiofiles like our vinyl. I have of course the standard dedicated drive for my FLAX and MP3 files, but you can’t beat LPs for analog heaven.
I have Polk in-wall speakers, I don’t remember the model number. I am not an audiophile, but they sound fine to me. Not a whole lot of low end, but the room is not large, and they get the job done.
Klipsch will get you there. Try the Klipsch reference series. Here is a link to the architectural (i.e. in the wall) series. They start about $350 a pop for the small ones.
That will get you started. If they are for music I wouldn’t put them in the wall because the speakers are not going to be as good as free standing models however, I understand the space needs so not judging you...
If price is truly not a concern consider going up to Krell or Bowers & Wilkins.
As far as price if you have to ask you can’t afford it. I CAN’T afford it by the way... but I have heard them. I run Klipsch and they are good enough for me.
The other thing to consider is your music source. If you are running MP3’s then I wouldn’t consider anything above the Klipsch anyway. You will not be outputting anything the Klipsch can’t handle and the anything above that without converting to FLAC is just buying so you can say you have them... Just my unpaid opinion...
speakers are your most important component, so I disagree with someone above who stated don’t spend a lot of money. If you are going to spend anything over $500 for speakers, then they are most important.. they are the final delivery component of sound.
Klipsch are pretty awesome. And, yes, free-standing speakers, unless you want to hear what your wall sounds like. Unless specially-designed, not very good.
the only way to buy speakers is to go down to the stereo joint and listen to them personally. no second person or critic can make that decision for you. and to sign up on a political forum to ask technophile questions doesnt seem to make any sense to me.
Once you get over 250K, MP3 is fine for anything other than critical listening.
If I’m gonna sit down and LISTEN to the music while enjoying a cigar and a single malt, it means vinyl or open reel. Everything else is digital.
And MP# doesn’t compress the sound. Rather, it removes information. If the sound is compressed it is because the signal being converted to MP3 was compressed.
MP3 compresses file size, not sound. It can sound bad if you use a low enough bit rate because so much of the audible data is removed, but if the op is going 250 or higher, it will be more than fine for all but the most quiet and focused listening sessions. And for many it would be fine even for that.
My rock bottom is a low 160, but that is because that stuff is played in the car, if you get my drift. Also, once you drop below 160 you start losing audible bass frequencies. They are simply not there. As a bass player myself, that is a problem. :-)
—For the past 30+ years Ive owned only Polks . Great company !—
FWIW, I agree. They are the best “bang for the buck” for me. I confess I am partial to cloth dome tweeters too. My first good speakers were ADS L810’s. They even had a dome midrange.
Polk is my “buy and forget” brand. If you spend a LOT of time shopping around and listening, you may find something better, but life is short. :-)
I recently recorded some music with producer David Hentschel (Genesis, Elton John, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, etc) Hentschel did the final mixdown on Genelec table top speakers. The main studio used them exclusively as well (top of the line, Los Angeles studio)
they are around 1,600 for a pair and very compact.. I think you would still need a subwoofer and center speaker of course if you are running this with a home theater system along with your television in 5.1 surround sound.
—we audiofiles like our vinyl. I have of course the standard dedicated drive for my FLAX and MP3 files, but you cant beat LPs for analog heaven.—
Playing a record is not just listening to music. It is an experience. :-)
BTW, I just discovered that if you search vinyl along with record, etc. you can find a ton of mini “documentaries” on vinyl and record stores on Youtube.
You are correct about the MP3 method of reducing file size. It is unlistenable to me. Perhaps, I should say though, that if I had never listened to anything but MP3 it might be OK. But that’s not the case and I can’t dumb down my ears to that format.
BTW, FWIW, if you can get away with it, I’d go with in-wall speakers with at least an 8” woofer and a floor standing subwoofer, though you may be able to do some sort of infinite baffle wall sub.