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  1. #1
    Forum Regular Widowmaker's Avatar
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    What are the most overrated speaker brands, IYO?

    Maybe "overrated" is too strong a word, how about heard a brand name speaker and thought afterwards, "What's the big deal?" Here are mine:

    -Martin Logan: nice looking, but weak, almost non-existent low range/bass

    -Mirage Omnisats: still has the tinny, home-theater-in-a-box sound

    -Boston Acoustics: too bright, sounds like treble and mids are turned up too high

    -Bose: gee, do you guys have all afternoon?

  2. #2
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    I'll second the Martin Login's. I listened to the $8K a pair set and was not impressed for that kind of cash.

  3. #3
    Forum Regular Registered Member paul_pci's Avatar
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    M&K. I listened to this guy drone on and on how studios use M&K, all the while thiinking if I had to work in one of those studios, I'd quit my job.

  4. #4
    Tyler Acoustics Fan drseid's Avatar
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    I'll also agree with both ML and Bose...

    Logan's definitely seem to be an acquired taste, but to those that like them, they tend to *love* them...

    They are my brother-in-law's favorite speakers... When I heard several of their higher priced models (in a couple different stores, no less) they always left me cold. I guess it just comes down to personal taste.

    In the case of Bose, the less said the better...

    For some reason, I also have never been able to enjoy Polk speakers... Again, I am sure that it is just my own tastes, and not that Polks are "bad" speakers, per se.

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  5. #5
    Forum Regular Registered Member JamezHill's Avatar
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    Bang & Olefson

  6. #6
    Forum Regular N. Abstentia's Avatar
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    Of course I'll agree with Bose, but I'll also agree with M&K. It's been 5 years and I'm STILL waiting to hear an M&K speaker that sounds good.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Widowmaker
    Maybe "overrated" is too strong a word, how about heard a brand name speaker and thought afterwards, "What's the big deal?" Here are mine:

    -Martin Logan: nice looking, but weak, almost non-existent low range/bass

    -Mirage Omnisats: still has the tinny, home-theater-in-a-box sound

    -Boston Acoustics: too bright, sounds like treble and mids are turned up too high

    -Bose: gee, do you guys have all afternoon?
    I have to agree with your list ESP.....Bose.

  8. #8
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Bose. Then the second list.
    Look & Listen

  9. #9
    IRG
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    Forum Regular IRG's Avatar
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    I think many of the overrated brands are from many of the very high end companies that are no longer in business in 2-3 years because their products while may sounding very good, are often times only small fraction of a hair better (in the eyes of reviewers who are getting their advertising dollars) but are so far overpriced that once the "buzz" wears off, the company goes belly up. And as an owner, your depreciation is very substantial very quickly.

    And yes, Bose sucks, and as a former owner, I can readily admit this. However, their resale value is quite good (thanks eBay!).

  10. #10
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    I've always had a beef with Definitive Technology...but they're not as overrated as Bose.

  11. #11
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    Orbs

    Those darn Orbs I keep hearing about- just bustin' your chops, Hershon! haha!!

    The Bang & Olefson speakers don't do too much for me. At their price, I would expect them to be absolutely amazing!

  12. #12
    Just passing thru topspeed's Avatar
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    The "B" word, obviously.

    I've actually heard the B&O Beosystem 5 on a number of ocassions and have always came away very impressed, although I'll admit most of their line is more show than go.

    M&K definitely makes the list.

    I can see how people would put DefTech here and indeed, I don't particularly care for their sound either (great subs tho ). However, I wouldn't neccessarily say they were "overrated" as their prices aren't in the stratosphere and for what they specialize in, which is building bi-polar speakers they are quite good at it.

    I think some B&W's (the 700's) and Paradigms (Monitor line) are overrated. Regardless of what the press says, IME better speakers can be had at the respective price points.

    Vandersteen simply baffles me. Here is a company that has serious cred in the hi-end arena and yet their speakers leave me completely cold. Same with Sonus Faber. Both are the epitome of "laid back" with the SF's throwing in a good deal of color for good measure. The SF's are beautiful to be sure, but it seems like the considerable coin that you have to shell out pays more for the cabinetry and lineage than the sound quality.

    I would consider just about any speaker over $25K to be overrated, truth be told. There comes a point where diminishing returns comes seriously into play and this price point seems to be about it. Actually, a very good argument could be made that $5K is the breaking point. This is not to say the Grand Utopia Be's ($80K) or VR11se's ($160k) aren't great speakers; they are. They are simply not 3 to 7 times better than...oh...say a WP7.

  13. #13
    Forum Regular Florian's Avatar
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    Well obviously the "B". I think M&K is awsome in a dedicated THX Home Theater. Not for music, but for a crrectly placed HT they are it for me. Another one is B&W for me and also B&O..... i also think that Infinity is overrated. They were awsome back in the day, but not there new ones.

    -Flo
    Lots of music but not enough time for it all

  14. #14
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Just in my limited exposure, probably Wilson Audio. I listened to the Wilson Sophias, and could not believe that those things cost $10k+. The sound was okay, but at least 5x overpriced for what it delivered. For all the hype and positive press that Wilson has accumulated in recent years, that listening was very disappointing.

    And going back several years, I thought the Apogee full range ribbon speakers were also vastly overrated. Almost unanimous acclaim from the audiophile press, yet to my ears they just drained the life out of almost all non-classical music.

    Bose is not overrated, so much as overexposed, overpriced, and overly promoted. Their bookshelf speakers are okay for what they are, but most of their other products are way overpriced for the performance that they deliver. Same can be said for Bang & Olufsen.

  15. #15
    Forum Regular Florian's Avatar
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    I think that a lot has to do with the rooms, electronics and type of music. For instance, the Wilsons require a special setup procedure which they use "WASP" and the Apogee's are one of the most critical speakers of our time. Only a handfull of AMPS can drive the FR or the Scintilla. Also moving them by an inch has a huge effect on the sound. Same with the Wilsons. Most speakers need to be heard at home, in order to sound good.

    -Flo
    Lots of music but not enough time for it all

  16. #16
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Totally disagree about the M&K's I am listening to them right now between news breaks and they sound terrific. They don't sound quite as good as my home system, but they are damn good in their own right. The must be properly setup and calibrated to sound their best.

    I believe that any speaker that costs $10,000 for a pair is a rip off. It doesn't take that kind of money to make a pair of excellent sounding speakers.

    The speaker that I thought sounded terrible(but it measure very well) was the Wilson WATT speaker. It sounded dry as powder, etchy and clinical. Not worth the money.

    Planar and ribbon speakers are also very overrated to me. They measure terribly, and you can hear it. For those who own these kinds of speakers, this is not a dig. Different strokes for different folks.
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  17. #17
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florian
    Well obviously the "B". I think M&K is awsome in a dedicated THX Home Theater. Not for music, but for a crrectly placed HT they are it for me. Another one is B&W for me and also B&O..... i also think that Infinity is overrated. They were awsome back in the day, but not there new ones.

    -Flo
    So they would sound different in a non THX HT?
    Look & Listen

  18. #18
    Forum Regular Florian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shokhead
    So they would sound different in a non THX HT?
    Well the THX program discusses positioning and room treatments. M&K speakers have a very limited vertical dispersion but a large horizontal one. If you do not setup the speakers correctly and use the wrong crossover frequencys (depending on Ultra, Non Ultra select etc) than yes they will sound differently at the listening position.

    -Flo
    Lots of music but not enough time for it all

  19. #19
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible
    I believe that any speaker that costs $10,000 for a pair is a rip off. It doesn't take that kind of money to make a pair of excellent sounding speakers.
    Amen to that!!!

    But, for anyone with $10,000 to spend on speakers, I've got a set you've GOT to listen to...

  20. #20
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florian
    I think that a lot has to do with the rooms, electronics and type of music. For instance, the Wilsons require a special setup procedure which they use "WASP" and the Apogee's are one of the most critical speakers of our time. Only a handfull of AMPS can drive the FR or the Scintilla. Also moving them by an inch has a huge effect on the sound. Same with the Wilsons. Most speakers need to be heard at home, in order to sound good.

    -Flo
    You can make the setup argument for just about any speaker. I just think the Wilsons that I listened simply did not measure up to their lofty price tag. These speakers were in a treated demo room with Theta Dreadnoughts driving them, and I was using a 96/24 DAD of Gershwin pieces as the source. The guys at that particular store are meticulous about how they setup their demo sets, so I doubt the setup is at issue. That store only picked up Wilson after Dunlavy went out of business, and IMO the Dunlavys represented a much better value at that price point.

    The Apogees were setup in a store where a friend of mine worked, so we tweaked and moved and did all sorts of different listenings with them. We tried them with Audio Research monoblocks, tube preamps, hybrid amps, Haflers, Carvers, SAEs, and even receivers. The results were consistently underwhelming to my ears. Fine with classical, but play something with percussion and amplified instruments and it was slumber time. I also spent a lot of time with the Carver Amazings, which were a hybrid ribbon design, and those sounded far better IMO. Given how many people piled over one another to praise the Apogees back in the day, that's why they epitomize my personal definition of overrated.

  21. #21
    Forum Regular Florian's Avatar
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    Every single piece that you have mentioned with not work on the Scinitlla. They are a 0.88ohm to 1ohm impedance. If you have bridged them to 4ohm that you loose all the magic of the speaker. Also there is no tube amp that can drive the Scintilla for longer than a couple of minutes. You need Krell (big ones), ML or Ice H2O AMPs to drive them. Now while the Wilson is discussable for me, the Apogee's are not. Every single person that has heard the Scintilla or owned one that you can read about state that it is closest to the real thing that is possible. Dynamics, bass etc.. are no issue with these speakers. Also i asume the room was treated, which is another huge issue with Apogge's since they need refective surfaces.

    -Flo
    Lots of music but not enough time for it all

  22. #22
    Forum Regular Registered Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florian
    Well obviously the "B". I think M&K is awsome in a dedicated THX Home Theater. Not for music, but for a crrectly placed HT they are it for me. Another one is B&W for me and also B&O..... i also think that Infinity is overrated. They were awsome back in the day, but not there new ones.

    -Flo
    I agree completely. One of the nicest sounding Home Theater setups that I've ever heard was an M&K system setup to THX standards. LIke you, I don't believe this setup would be good for music but it was dynamite for HT.

    One of the topics that comes up from time to time around here is THX and whether or not it is "worth it". As far as buying a THX receiver just because of the certification, I say no. But I also make the point that you've made here... that in order for THX to be truly appreciated you have to do more, much more, than just buy an isolated piece of THX equipment. It is a synergy of equipment, placement, room, etc... so that the whole is greater than the sum of all its parts.

    I even agree with you about Infinity -- they were something back in the day.

    Q

  23. #23
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florian
    Every single piece that you have mentioned with not work on the Scinitlla. They are a 0.88ohm to 1ohm impedance. If you have bridged them to 4ohm that you loose all the magic of the speaker. Also there is no tube amp that can drive the Scintilla for longer than a couple of minutes. You need Krell (big ones), ML or Ice H2O AMPs to drive them. Now while the Wilson is discussable for me, the Apogee's are not. Every single person that has heard the Scintilla or owned one that you can read about state that it is closest to the real thing that is possible. Dynamics, bass etc.. are no issue with these speakers. Also i asume the room was treated, which is another huge issue with Apogge's since they need refective surfaces.

    -Flo
    The listenings at my friend's store were the ones where I knew about the amplification being used and the front end sources. The ones that I was listening to were the full-range ribbons and Duettas from the mid-80s (Apogee made more than just the Scintillas that you're about to acquire). And how would all of those amps not work with a set of Apogees? The Audio Research monoblocks of that era were perfectly capable of driving loads down to 1 ohm impedance, and none of the listenings I did even remotely came close to clipping. I'd also heard them at audio shows hooked into any number of different configurations. Again, consistently underwhelming playback to my ears.

    Someone who praises the Apogees would likely have a preference for the type of sound that they deliver. I have no issue with that. But, given that this thread is about overrated speaker brands, that's my assessment when I weigh the amount of praise that they receive versus how I assessed them upon listening. You're making it sound like it's impossible not to like them, and coming up with any number of reasons why I have the opinion that I do. Even under the best of circumstances in the conditions that you prescribe, there's still the possibility that I simply won't like them then either. If you like them and praise them to high heaven, fine, but that doesn't mean that everybody shares that view.

  24. #24
    Forum Regular edtyct's Avatar
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    I loved the Apogee Duettas with Krell amplification. I like what I heard years ago of M&K's subs. Speakers are so dependent on room, power, front-end, and mood, don't you think it's hard to evaluate them without putting their best foot forward? How many of us can do that very often?

    I agree with Woochifer: How can Bose speakers be overrated when no one who rates speakers, whether professional or not, seems to like them. The people who buy them are mostly sold by marketing; they generally aren't the ones likely to do evaluations. I'm not into bashing anyone's tastes or preferences, but I mistakenly went to a newsgroup about home audio when I meant to visit a pro one. I dropped in on a message that read, "Bose can sound good in a small room." The next comment was, "A toilet?" A little audio comedy can go a long way.

    Ed

  25. #25
    Forum Regular Florian's Avatar
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    I understand that and accept that, i just find it unacceptable that a company which made High End and defined the standards of that time is to be tossed in the same thread with BOSE or other speaker companys. Same as Wilson Audio. The next thing will properbly be Genesis and the Infinity IRS too just because they cost an arm and a leg.

    -Flo
    Lots of music but not enough time for it all

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