Sound Advice – Choosing Hi-Fi Speakers

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Speakers' started by Ed Selley, May 28, 2016.


    1. Ed Selley

      Ed Selley
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    2. YEHBABY

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      Thanks for the article. I enjoyed reading it.
       
    3. MikeTheBike2010

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      Ed, thanks for the well and clearly written article, Im considering new speakers and will be interested to see how your advice develops.
      If I go for floor standers I confess I remain confused regarding spikes? We have a newly laid wooden floor and Im not going to dig spikes into it! Assuming these are to hold the speaker cabinet still while the cones move would this objective not be better served by just standing the speaker on the floor rather than balancing spikes on coins?
      Appreciate I may be opening a can of worms here but I don't see how balancing spikes (tiny surface area) can hold a mass more securely than just standing on the floor?
       
    4. BlueWizard

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      I anticipated having to criticize this article, but it is actually a very good overview of the advantages and disadvantages of each type of speakers. Equally how you apply a speakers in a given room.

      Overall, very good intro to speakers.

      Steve/bluewizard
       
    5. Ed Selley

      Ed Selley
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      The spikes decouple the speaker- the tiny surface area effectively concentrates the mass and isolates the speaker from any motion or activity on the floor at the same time stopping cabinet resonances from hitting the floor. Coins work really well at keeping the floor unmarked.
       
    6. MikeTheBike2010

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      Ah ha! Thank you, I will give it a try when I upgrade, thinking of some b and w s to match the other surrounds and centre already in place?
       
    7. nomster

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      Nice speaker overview, thanks.

      [Warning: Some people may find the following comment distressing]

      After recently moving my hifi, I have no easy way to keep speakers level and have one on the floor and one on top of a bookcase, near the ceiling - I thought it would drive me crazy but I'm actually enjoying the extreme sound-stage! Some instruments lowdown to the left, some high up to the right! It was meant to be temporary, but I quite like it.

      Yes, I have arranged to see a psychiatrist ;)
       
    8. Scotty Pro

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      another way is to buy a piece of granite/marble about 300mm square and 25-35mm thick and stick the speakers with spikes on those, very wifey friendly and they look really good as you can get loads of colours to match your interior design.
       
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    9. PC1975

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      @Ed Selley

      Nice article. One factor that is often mentioned when comparing standmounts to floorstanders is timing. Many people opt for standmounts + sub over floorstanders due to lower frequencies not being quite as well timed in the larger cabinets.

      It may be marginal and unnoticeable to most but it is a factor, otherwise - performance wise - there would be nothing to recommend standmounts over floorstanders.
       
    10. Scotty Pro

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      Thats an interesting point you made, as when I bought my Ikons I also listened to the floorstanding versions and I prefer the sound of the standmounts. I couldn't put my finger on it but the sound was definitely different with the standmounts edging it on mid to upper end detail.
       
    11. Jonathan Moses

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      I've never understood how a speaker produces multiple frequencies simultaneously. The physics hurts my brain!
       
    12. Ste7en

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      Good article. Obviously the most money should be spent on source components, amplification and then speakers. Which is not to say speakers are not as important as the rest of the system.

      What I have found over the years is that loudspeakers are the most personal selection an individual can make. Don't buy based on reviews alone. I've gone for lower scoring loudspeakers because I've preferred them (sonically) to their 'best buy' counterparts.

      Placement: Follow the manufacturers guidelines. Mind, depending on your room acoustics this may not even be ideal :)
       
    13. D'@ve

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      I assume that with solid/concrete ground floors, spikes are unnecessary? I am using the supplied small rubber feet with my B&W 683 S2s.
       
    14. Chester

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      @D'@ve - It's less important, but bass frequencies can have lots of energy that will transfer through solid objects. More mass generally means a greater dampening effect on vibration (i.e. sound). Nevertheless, you'll create a 'muddy picture' of where instruments are coming from in the sound stage without isolation. Using spikes will massively reduce the resonance transfer into the floor, sharpening up that image.

      They are a pain, they can be dangerous, but learn to love them.

      Another couple of top tips (@Ed Selley: I hope there's more of this type of thing to come because there are so many sub-topics on this to expand into to get a good sound):

      1) Don't rock the stand/speaker. From rear left corner to front right corner, try and move the speaker back and forth. Do the same with the opposite corners. Does the speaker rock? That's not good! It will move and vibrate in an undesirable fashion. Adjust the spike height to keep the speaker level and free from rock. Generally you will find that adjusting the opposite corner spike will eliminate the problem as the rock is caused by the other corner spikes being too high. I start off by rotating them all the way in to maximise the amount of thread in the pedestal for the most stability, then adjust to perfect. This can take a long time; it really is worth it.

      2) Don't wonder outside the triangle. Ed talked about this triangle, the sides of which are the imaginary lines between each stereo speaker and the sweet spot/listening position. If the side between the speaker is longer than the other two sides, there will be a gaping hole in the middle of the sound stage. The effect will be like two singers each side of centre, or two identical instruments, rather than one anchored to the centre. I know it feels like you might be crushing or narrowing the sound stage by reducing the length of the speakers' side, but getting these distances right is pretty critical. If you haven't already done so, try breaking the rule. Simply walk half way up to towards the speakers and crouch. Can you make out the hole? That's what you're looking to avoid.

      Cheers :)
       
      Last edited: May 30, 2016
    15. rushtemples

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      Most all the Revel and JBL speakers we sell come with spikes and small metal discs to place under them for solid floors. They are usually cupped for easy placement. Just a FYI.
       
    16. SoundGuy10

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      I normally prefer stand mount/bookshelf to floor standing too. They kind of sound 'faster' with less bass lag. But it really depends on the model/brand, room and system of course. I remember being told that 'good' floor standers start at around £1500 per pair. And they'll often be one good tweeter and one good woofer with a carefully thought out cabinet to extend bass naturally. From what i've tried, my friend was right. A simple design lets the music flow rather than 4 budget drive units in a row throwing quantity rather than quality at you. British floor standers tend to be well made and simple. Cheers!
       
    17. Scotty Pro

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      well these will be definitely no good then :eek: £129 a pair and free delivery :laugh:
      BBA0177.jpg
      must agree as I said previously, to me the Ikon standmounts sounded better than the floorstanding versions, I think you need a very large room to accommodate the sound from the Ikon floorstanders.
       
    18. SoundGuy10

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      Haha, fantastic find. I think i've seen them in Croydon High Street! I wonder if they're even wired up internally :laugh: I bet the yellow bit is a funnel from a pound shop :facepalm:
       
    19. corythepagan

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      My system doesn't have hi fi loudspeakers. I use a pair of JBL JRX-225 pro audio speakers which each have a 15" woofer, a 15" full range, and an exponential horn. They're nearly four feet tall. The thick, pro audio cables have quarter inch plugs at the speaker end and banana plugs at the amplifier end.

      Since moving to a smaller home in an over fifty-five retirement community, I've combined my TV and music systems. The JBLs came from the TV system. (Same speakers we used with our old band.) They used to be powered by a 300 wpc QSC pro audio amplifier, both with the band and then with the flat screen. Now they're powered by the 100 wpc Rogue Audio tube amp which was in the old music system with little Rogers LS3-5a BBC Monitor speakers that were on bookshelves. The latter are far too small to use with a huge flat screen video display.

      I'm seventy years old so my ears are perfectly happy with the JBLs. The entire system is depicted on a diagram in the hi fi set thread.
       
    20. GW43

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      Good article.

      The only issue I would take is on coupling speakers to the floor via spikes. I think (based on personal experience) that this depends on the type of floor you have.

      I have a wooden "floating" floor, and when I spiked my (standmount) speakers through the carpet into the floorboards, the sound was confused and muddy.

      By putting wooden chopping boards under the stands the sound improved enormously. So, working from the bottom I now have:

      Earth
      A cavity of around 24" depth
      Floorboards
      Underlay
      Carpet
      Granite plinths (look much better than the chopping boards, and those were needed back in the kitchen)
      Spikes
      Stands
      Blu-tac
      Speakers

      It's my belief that by spiking my speakers to the floorboards allowed the vibrations created in the floor to muddy the sound. By allowing the carpet/underlay to isolate the speakers, they now "float" so are less affected by any vibrations created in the floor. Result: "cleaner" sound, with greater definition and impact.

      So, in my (limited) experience, I'd say:

      Solid floors - connect you speaker to the floor via spikes.
      Wooden "floating" floor with a cavity underneath - isolate speakers from the floor.

      Just my 2p's worth!
       

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