Home  |  Hi-Fi Audio Reviews  Audiophile Shows Partner Mags  News       

High-End High-Performance Audiophile Review Magazine & Hi-Fi Audio Equipment Reviews
Audiophile Equipment Review Magazine High-End Audio

  High-Performance Audio Reviews
  Music News, Show Reports, And More!

  29 Years Of Service To Music Lovers


May 2024

Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine


What Kind Of Music Do You Like?
Roger writes why what you like is what you ought to buy.
Article By Roger Skoff


What Kind Of Music Do You Like? Roger writes why what you like is what you ought to buy.


  Many a long year ago a friend of mine asked me what kind of speakers he ought to buy. Complimented by his confidence in my judgment and wanting to be helpful, I asked him some questions to help me figure out what might be best for him. One of the first was "How much do you want to spend?" To which I got "It doesn't matter; whatever it costs." I should have known better – he was the local Maserati dealer, quite well off, and really could afford just about anything I might suggest.

Next, I tried "What kind of music do you listen to? " and was told "Everything; I like it all, as long as it's good."

Other questions about all the usual hi-fi criteria – imaging, soundstaging, timbre, transient attack and decay, harmonic richness, the whole thing – got equally vague answers until I finally asked him "Is there anything at all that you particularly like or want in the music you listen to?", That's when I hit the "jackpot": "Loud." He said, "I like it really loud!" 



So, I recommended a set of Cerwin-Vega speakers (you know, the ones they used at that theater in Hollywood for the sound effects for the movie "Earthquake" and they cracked the ceiling, dropping bits of plaster onto the [impressed and delighted] audience") He bought them, gave me his heartfelt thanks, and lived happily ever after.

You may not like your music head-crushingly loud, but there's something that you particularly like about the sound of it, and this article is about helping you to find speakers that will give it to you, whatever it may be.

First off, you need to understand that there's no such thing as the perfect speaker for all kinds of music or even all rooms. Different kinds and sizes of speakers do different things best and work best in different sizes and shapes of room. As Enjoy the Music's Creative Director, Steven R. Rochlin says "Accurate loudspeakers should handle all genres of music well. Though yes, some types of playback devices handle certain genres of music ‘more weller' than others." So, what you need to try to find is speakers that are best at doing what sounds best to you, playing the kind of music you like, in a listening room like yours, and that also do everything else well enough that you don't miss its not being done better.

With today's technology, that's easier to do than ever before. There aren't many modern full range speakers that actually do anything badly, but our hobby isn't about not doing things badly, it's about getting things right, and the very best way to do that is to start, as I did with my friend, by asking some questions.

After that basic question of budget, your very first one should be "What kind of music do I like?" If you like a particular kind of music, what is it about it that you most enjoy?" If, just for example, you're a lover of chamber music, the thing that turns you on may be the tonality, the delicate interplay of the instruments, and the sensation of being "right there in the room with the performers." If that's the case, it tells you a lot about the speakers you should buy: They need to be accurate from the mid-bass (bass or cello), all the way through to the upper frequencies (violin and the top-key harmonics of the piano). They also need to be highly detailed, to have great definition, great attack, and decay, and to image and soundstage brilliantly.

As to deep bass (the most expensive and hardest part of the music to get right), forget it; it's not necessary for that type of music. Neither is a large listening room nor a high-powered amplifier, Having the room well-treated for acoustics will, though, (as it always does) make things even better. If you're a chamber music fan, electrostatic or other panel speakers might be just the thing for you, or even small cone two-ways, like or modeled after the classic British BBC speaker, the LS35a, now made by many companies, Harbeth and Spendor being among the best (Rogers' version shown below).



If, on the other hand, you're a rock fan – especially studio or concert-recorded rock, your requirements might very well be just the opposite. With much of that kind of music, the imaging doesn't come from the actual positions of the performers relative to each other or to the size and shape of the venue (they may all have been recorded separately, on different tracks, at different times), but from how the engineer or the producer chooses to set the "pan" pots on his mixing console.

That being the case, imaging and soundstaging might be less important than the ability to re-create the excitement and kick-in-the-gut dynamics of a live performance, and horn or horn-hybrid (using horn drivers for the top and middle frequencies and cones for the lower ones) speakers might be just the thing for you.

For human voice or most instrumental music, you have lots of choices at lots of possible price points; there are speakers of almost every type that will do those things well and affordably. Where it gets difficult is if you're a fan of deep (below 40Hz) bass and want to hear (and feel) the lowest notes of a pipe organ or the massed bass drums of a marching band at their natural volume.



Bass is by far the most difficult and most expensive part of the music for any speaker to accurately reproduce, and it's not just because of the speakers: The size of your listening room is the first critical element: Regardless of your speakers, the lowest frequency any room can propagate is that with a half-wavelength equal to the room's longest dimension. To calculate wavelength and, from there, what your room is capable of, just divide the speed of sound in air (1125 feet per second at sea level) by a target frequency to get that frequency's wavelength. If your goal is 40Hz, for example, then: 1125' ๗ 40 = 28.028' (feet) as the length of one full wave. Then, divide that by 2 to get the half-wavelength (14.014 feet), which tells you that, if you want true bass, even down to just 40Hz, you're going to have to have a room more than 14' in its longest dimension in order to achieve it.

But what if you don't? Well, if you can afford it, you can have your listening room made larger or you may be able to change rooms. Otherwise, if your room won't make deep bass, the smart thing is – unless you have some other reason for wanting them – not to buy speakers that will go deeper than your room will play.

Or, just maximize what you've got. Notice, that I said "deeper", but that's not all there is to bass. There's also "tighter", "punchier", "cleaner", better defined, and even, as my friend loved, louder.. There's also – even at not-all-that-low- frequencies, a sense of POWER that can be hugely important.



The famous Klipschorn speakers rarely got down to a usable 40 Hz, (being corner horns, their lower frequency limit was largely determined by the size of the room they were played in) but they were capable of truly thrilling dynamics, a lifelike mid-range, and tremendous "presence" for many kinds of music. And, because of their very high sensitivity (up to 109dB/W/m) they could also play loud enough to cause hearing damage, even when driven by an amplifier of just 100 Watts or less.

Being corner horns, though, (always having to be placed in right-angle corners of your room) they also had the disadvantage that they could never be properly placed for best imaging, unless, by lucky accident, your room happened to be just the right distance from corner to corner. If your musical tastes don't demand great imaging, though, (and you can afford then) they could be the perfect choice for you.



Separate subwoofers, often with their own built-in amplifier, can be the basis for the perfect compromise system: Use electrostatics, ribbons or small cone two-way speakers for 100Hz up, and get a powerful subwoofer for all the bass your room will make. That way, you'll have all the imaging, soundstaging, and detail that small speakers can deliver, the ability (because you're not calling on them to make bass) to play them louder than if you running them full-range, and still have solid bass response, too, from the subwoofer or subwoofer pair. And, because you're not buying large "tower" speakers with their own ability to pump out bass, you may save enough money in the process to pay for the subwoofer(s) and even have some left over.

Try it. Choosing your speakers to fit your musical tastes works. And it's a good way to help you be sure that, when you turn on your system and sit back to play some tunes, you'll...


Enjoy the music!


  Roger Skoff















































Quick Links

Premium Audio Review Magazine
High-End Audiophile Equipment Reviews


Equipment Review Archives
Turntables, Cartridges, Etc
Digital Source
Do It Yourself (DIY)
Cables, Wires, Etc
Loudspeakers/ Monitors
Headphones, IEMs, Tweaks, Etc
Superior Audio Gear Reviews



Show Reports
HIGH END Munich 2024
AXPONA 2024 Show Report
Montreal Audiofest 2024 Report

Southwest Audio Fest 2024
Florida Intl. Audio Expo 2024
Capital Audiofest 2023 Report
Toronto Audiofest 2023 Report
UK Audio Show 2023 Report
Pacific Audio Fest 2023 Report
T.H.E. Show 2023 Report
Australian Hi-Fi Show 2023 Report
...More Show Reports


Our Featured Videos


Industry & Music News

High-Performance Audio & Music News


Partner Print Magazines
Australian Hi-Fi Magazine
hi-fi+ Magazine
Sound Practices
VALVE Magazine


For The Press & Industry
About Us
Press Releases
Official Site Graphics





Home   |   Hi-Fi Audio Reviews   |   News   |   Press Releases   |   About Us   |   Contact Us


All contents copyright  1995 - 2024  Enjoy the Music.com
May not be copied or reproduced without permission.  All rights reserved.