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Thread: Speaker Buying 101: How to properly Audition Speakers

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    Feb 2003
    DFW, Texas
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    Speaker Buying 101: How to properly Audition Speakers

    Speakers: wow... this is probably the #1 or #2 question I get. So I figured I would finally do a Sticky/101....grab a beverage.. sit & enjoy awhile.

    We all have 2-3 CD's in our collection that are the one's we know better than anyone else. Those forever favorite CD's that you know start to finish & listen to them start o finish because each one offers something sonically we love to hear. THOSE are the CD's you take with you.

    Apply the 10 Commandments of Speaker Auditioning (smart idea to print this page):

    Find a Stereo (2 channel not a home theater) & get a reference. Whether at your home, a friend's home, or a high end home audio shop. Listen to YOUR CD's. ON A DIFFERENT DAY than your auditioning day(s).

    Now hit the car audio shops. Start with their absolute best speakers. Ignore price. You are searching for a reference. You aren't shopping yet. You are simply listening. At each shop listen from top to bottom of the line. Take a notepad, make notes about what you like/don't like... Do a "Ben Franklin" of pro's/con's. Move on to the next speaker set.

    Be sure to have 2 distinct categories of speakers: Components versus Coaxes. RARELY will coaxes be in the front. It CAN happen, but rarely. Just sit back & listen. Ignore the sales guy/gal. Use only your music, their CD's are supposed to make their speakers sound good, that is their job. Don't hate the game. Make LOTS of notes, then, make more. Items to think about:

    Highs: Are the S’s T’s V’s clear, tight, detailed with out the lingering drawl?(called simblence), clear, not smeared or dull? Do you get a sense of airy or openness? Or does it sound restrained/held back/out of breath

    Midrange: Not honky or sound like a cheerleader in a megaphone? K’s, Hard C’s, D’s, snare drums have a distinct snap. A rim shot on the snare should almost make your eyelids flutter. J’s, G’s have depth & force? Guitars are cutting & fast. Obvious fingers dragging on strings?

    Midbass: kick drum has noticeable impact, speed, imagine that speaker aimed at your pant leg, would your pant leg flutter? There are actually average price point speakers that will kit you in the chest from 5 feet in a showroom.

    Now… go have lunch. Take your notes, your product literature, & LOOK at the specs of the items that got the highest marks on your notepad. What do they have in common? Tweeter style? Crossover Designs? Woofer cone materials? Parent company (Directed owns a/d/s, PPI, Orion as an example & shares speaker technologies)? Have a beer, let your ears rest. Then go listen some more..

    Last couple of thoughts: Don’t be afraid to listen over a couple days, Live, love, learn, & dedicate to memory the 10 Commandments… listen & enjoy!

    Rob W
    Last edited by 2002GreyHD150; 04-03-2006 at 09:33 AM.

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