Good speaker to buy...need advice [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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09-14-2004, 02:29 AM
I'm thinking of replacing my existing speaker Acoustic Energy AE120..i have shortlisted some speakers as follows:

1) Quad 11L
2) Mordaunt Short MS 914
3) B&W 602 S3
4) Monitor Audio Bronze 2

Anyone has any idea which one above is the best to buy?

My system:

Marantz PM-7000 Integrated Amplifier (going to be replaced soon)
Acoustic Energy AE120 Speaker
Kenwood Laser Disc player as CD player (going to buy a CD player soon)

09-14-2004, 04:05 AM
Whichever sounds "best" to you.

Everyone has their own personal tastes and preferences. That's why they make so many different speakers with so many different ways of doing the same thing. Noboby can acurately gauge what is the relative "best" for you. That's a decision only you can make.

Listen to these and then decide. Sorry if this sounds like a copout, but it's the truth.

09-14-2004, 09:00 AM
Markw is right. Speaker selection is very subjective. A personal choice. Depending on what kind of sound you like. Take a selection of your favorite CD's and DVD's and go listen to your choices. Use material you are very familiar with and have heard on several different systems.

Good luck,

PS: I'd just like to add that if you plan on purchasing speakers and add a center channel later, it is important (to most anyway) to have a center that matches the front L&R in tone and timbre. Ideally it is best to use 3 identical speakers across the front. Most manufacturers have a center that matches thier main speakers in timbre.

09-14-2004, 09:53 AM
Are you replacing the Marantz 7000 with another Marantz? If so. I have found the combination of Marantz amplification and Monitor Audio speakers to be a little bit of magic. Give it a try!

09-15-2004, 05:59 AM
I personally have B&Ws and love them. However, sorry to repeat from earlier posts, but go and listen for yourself. I was very surprised when I had done research and thought I knew what I wanted. When I went in and listened to the B&Ws, I fell in love!

Regardless, see if you can find a local dealer and get an in home trial. I have never done one, but I hear they are sometimes available and listening to the speakers in your home setup with whatever current speakers you have might help you choose.

Also, I totally agree with hifimaster, getting your center and fronts matched as close as possible will help.

09-15-2004, 01:32 PM
There won't be a best from those - there will be a best for you. I have heard speakers from the last three and all are pretty good to me. But specifically only the 602 which I reviewed well here under my moniker.

You should add the Dynaudio Audience 42 and the Audio Note AX Two to your audtition list though. The former is fantastic but will require a beefy amp - the latter will allow you to buy low powered tube amps should you ever want to try them and IMO is the bset sounding speaker under 1kUS that I've come across - not bad when they only retail for $550US.

But the 602S3 is one of those great lines too - but hey may as well have more options.

I reviewed them amongst dsome others here

09-16-2004, 05:47 PM
The speakers you have are very good. I think you could make a bigger difference to your system in the front end with a better source and/or integrated amp. Just a suggestion.


09-16-2004, 06:49 PM
Whichever sounds "best" to you.

Everyone has their own personal tastes and preferences. That's why they make so many different speakers with so many different ways of doing the same thing. Noboby can acurately gauge what is the relative "best" for you. That's a decision only you can make.

Listen to these and then decide. Sorry if this sounds like a copout, but it's the truth.

I constantly see this post on this web site, and it kind of bothers me. I certainly don't mean to attack you markw, because I truly believe you are trying to help. However, the gentleman, or woman for that matter, gave a short list and asked others of their opinions. Obviously he has chosen these for some reason or another. Why can't those who have experience with these speakers just give recommendations on which they prefer. Throwing the question back to the poster doesn't give much advice, other than to say all ears are competent judges. Which brings me to another point. Not all people are competent judges. One tends to have more discerning tastes as one has more experience with a given subject, be it wine, clothing, hair styling gel, etc. Someone might think that Boone’s Farms makes fantastic wine, but those in the know have developed their pallet and probably think (PROBABLY) that there is a better choice (at least if you are looking for a more sophisticated choice). When I go to a wine steward, I don't want him to say whatever you like. I want a recommendation. I'll probably say I want a merlot that's a bit on the sweet side, or I'm serving meat and potatoes. Or maybe I've made some selections and I'm looking for his opinion.

A more favorable approach might be speaker "X" is suited to certainly types of music while speaker "y" is suited to others. They have "A", "B", & "C" characteristics.

I understand taste is subjective, but when a poster asks for specific advice, why tell him he is wrong for asking? That doesn’t seem to help. Subjectivity has to have some objectivity because a majority of “competent judges” consistently feel one way. That’s not to say you shouldn't recommend the poster trust their own ears in the end, but I would think some kind of recommendation is in order if you want to reply.

Again, not an attack, and I won't let this spin into a flame war (if it does I just won't reply). Just something that's been a pet peeve of mine for a while and I wanted to say something. Thanks for listening...

09-16-2004, 07:42 PM

While I agree with you in principle that people can become exeperts as you point out with wine it still remains a preference. For instance I like Ports over any wine. And I could not discern bad beer from one that is considered good becausse I don't drink it. I migt actually like to drink somehting far cheaper than what is considered the best.

Citizen Kane is considered the greatest film of all time in critic circles - Would not crack my top 100.

I do agreewith you that it's okay to be passionate about equipment - even if like me you get ripped for not following the crowd.

But I also don't think one needs to be an audiophile or expert on speaker design. The following article was written for a magazine a decade ago - and while it is made by an audio manufacturer(so a bias) it does NOT have to apply to their equipment but ANY componant or system you are looking at at any price and anyone golden ear or not can easily find the "Best" system.

I think too that MarkW made the comment because the odds are that no one on this forum did a direct comparison between those 4 specific speakers so there isn't really much to say other than listen for yourself and decide or like myself having some background listening to some of their other speakers so we know a bit about the house sound and then to merely add a few more to the list.

Mordaunt Short, Monitor Audio and Quad have low availabitlity in most areas near me compared to B&W. I suspect that is true in most regions - so getting a side by side comparo would be very tough

09-16-2004, 08:50 PM

A couple of things:

One should probably not compare ports to wine, as while they are similar, they are not the same. One might go further and say you shouldn't compare a cab with a merlot. You have to compare apples to apples. This is a good reason you shouldn't compare Maggies against Cerwin Vegas. Likewise you shouldn't evaluate Maggies with Megadeth and Cerwin Vegas with Mozart. It's not their intended use...

As to Citizen Kane, I don't think it sits atop greatest movie lists for its entertainment value. I think most agree it is a fairly boring movie. However, technically speaking it did thing in terms of camera work, special effects, and direction that no other movie before it had ever even attempted. Furthermore, it was replicated ad infinitum by thousands of movies to follow. It set the bar for new techniques and innovations that has yet to be trumped. That is why a majority of critics consider it a great movie. It’s more of a historical benchmark than a great story.

I am not familiar with the brands mentioned and didn't even pay much attention to them. My senses were offended because I have seen that post so many times before. Let your ears decide; only you can decide. In this case it may have been warranted because the poster may have not listened to all of the speakers. May he is going off reviews. That would be a mistake in my opinion. However when someone says I went to the store and listened to paradigm, energy, and b&w and I can't decide which one I like, please offer advise, I continually see posts that say go with what you like. The poster has obviously come to loggerheads and wants someone else’s opinion. To say that only you can decide is not a helpful suggestion at that point.

My point is this. It just doesn't seem all that helpful to say you have to choose when the person is obviously struggling to make a decision. Saying that you have to decide is not helpful, and thus the reason for my frustration. Help is the name of the game when someone asks a question.

True enough, at the end of the day, it absolutely is what you like. Rubies may be loved by all but if you don't like red...

I've gone on enough for one evening.

09-16-2004, 10:43 PM
Well you won't get argument from because that's about exactly the way I see it. Especially the Citizen Kane example - and Port of course is another breed if you will.

In a way this is why we go by reviews - we presume the reviewer has WAY more experience than we do so we rely on them to pick our componants for us. I remember that I bought the Arcam Delta 290 integrated over the Sugden A21a which were both about the same price here back in the mid 1990's. I heard them both but though the Sugden was better. However I saw no reviews on this vcompany called Sugden and everyone else doled out top awards for the Arcam. I did not go based off of what I heard but went with the "experts" The Arcam was good hi-fi - the Sugden is music and it's still around = and sure now it wins.

People should indicate some areas of concerns they have about the products. I have not heard the Quad but the speakers I have heard from the others - well the Mordaunt Shorts I have heard always seem to be hot in the treble - I would take care to be sure that the treble won't be annoying. Trouble is I could say that about the Monitor Audio and even a bit about the B&W.

I have heard the the Quads are less open sounding and require more power to sound open and are not the most exciting sounding speaker around. They all have their problems - like all speakers - the trick really is to find the speaker with the problems that don't really draw attention to themselves. But the problem most aggrevating to me may be more acceptable to this poster or you. SO we still go back to listening for ourselves.

But certainly we can mention things to watch for - for me it's the treble in all of them. And I would expand my auditions beyond them. MS and MA sound similar to me. B&W will probably have a weightier bass and can likey play the loudest(but these are eduucated guesses)

09-17-2004, 03:25 AM
Any time someone simply asks "what's the best speaker", it seems to me that the short list was created by reading specs and comparing prices over the internet That's perhaps a good starting point, but they must do a little more preperation and/or provide a little more information on what's expected before asking someone else for their opinion on what's "the best"

Obviously he has chosen these for some reason or another.building on the above statement, it would be helpful if those reasons were divulged. Perhaps there are certain sonic characeristics about each which attracts them? If so, sharing that might help others decide what's "the best".

Why can't those who have experience with these speakers just give recommendations on which they prefer.As stated by someone else, it's a rare bird that would have had the opportunity, time and inclination to listen to all of these. One would hope that the one posing the question would have done so before asking others to do so.

A more favorable approach might be speaker "X" is suited to certainly types of music while speaker "y" is suited to others. They have "A", "B", & "C" characteristics.True, but without knowing what he expects, it's asking a little much for everyone else to guess at what he's looking for and go into a long, drawn out diatribe on what's good or bad about each for every type of music imaginable.
Consumer reviews are available here and at and professional reviews are avaialble at but ultimately, the final decision on what's "the best" will fall upon he who has to listen to them in the long run.
IOW, a little more input on what would make one speaker "the best" before asking that general a question might have tempered my response somewhat..

I understand taste is subjective, but when a poster asks for specific advice, why tell him he is wrong for asking?I never said he's wrong for asking. I only said that only he can decide what's "the best" for himself, particularly in light of the paucity of information he's provided for others to help them formulate such a personal decision for him.

IOW, that's like simply asking what's the best? Blondes, brunettes or redheads? What works for me may or may not work for you.

09-17-2004, 01:04 PM
I try to be neutral when responding on forums. But some things are simply subjective by their very nature and definition. This also opens me up for some major assaults. LOL As a pool has many depths in it, so does sound and opinions about sound. So here we go.

1.) Find what "style" you like to hear or listen to the most often.
Do you want to rock the house, be moved by a beautiful classical work or delicate vocal, do you want mainly TV or is it really some of all of these. This you need to decide first.

2.) How do you hear things?
This may sound strange, but stay with me for a second or two. I tested my hearing in high school and several times over the years since then. I am 40+ now and that is all I will say about that! I have a "curve" that I hear and it has changed as I grew older. Some tone's are less noticable than others now. And this curve is not a simple top and bottom thing like a parabolic curve. It has specific dropouts to it in very specific places. With that said you need to try to get a handle on what your specific hearing is like. Maybe other peoples "bright", "boomy" or "dull" sounding speakers sound perfect to you becaus youre hearing closely matches the speakers sound curve and individual characteristics. See what I mean? It is all about environment and the individual. Specifications are always a good place to start, but they are only a place to start.

3.) Try the "big 4" and see how they respond for you.
The "Big 4" is my term for the type of sound reproduction I seem to hear the most noticably obvious differences in. They are as follows:
1 - Flat panel (Magnaplaner or Martin Logans are both good, I personally love the Logans)
2 - Conventional (B&W and numerous others are good examples)
3 - Multi driver (Speakers with many different drivers, I am not up on who makes good versions now. Usually Tall tower like speakers with lines of smaller drivers.)
4 - Horn Speakers ( Klpich and a few others make good ones)

Once you realize just what you are going to be listening to for the majority of the time. And you have an idea how you hear different sound, your ears hearing curve. And you have an idea as to what type of sound production seems to sound the most natural to you, the big 4 I mentioned. You are ready to sample the best models matching the type of sound and reproduction that you can find and afford. I know this is an over simplification in many aspects. But with the endless proliferation of different equipment, environments, and opinions as to them all you need to narrow your search some or you may never be satisified. It is very much like "drilling" into the internet to find something. First you search, then you search again narrowing down until you have a short list to audition and choose what you want from.
What you like and are comfortable with is all that matters. Great sound is not a specification your hearing may never realize. Nor is it another persons opinion of what you need. It is a synergy of equipment and environment you utilize to make the most comfortable and natural sound you can. Just drill into it slowly, narrowing your choices untill you have found the best choice for you. You will be happier in the end that way.

"The Tao which can be percieved is not the true Tao."

Take care all