View Full Version : What defines a great speaker?

03-06-2007, 11:43 AM

I am interested to know from the user's side what aspects of the design or a really good speaker you may consider to be the most important. For example - is the styling of the cabinet of paramount importance - or perhaps the underlying technology?

Feels free to contribute! I am very interested in your ideas.


03-06-2007, 04:32 PM
Hand made in the UK
Excellent QC
Empathy with the manufacturer

03-06-2007, 08:56 PM
1. Clarity, image and sound stage
2. Unique technology (cabinet, drive units, crossover etc.)
3. Understanding of the designer's philosophy
4. Excellent QC

03-06-2007, 09:10 PM
1. Clarity, image and sound stage
2. Excellent QC
3. Empathy with the manufacturer
4. Understanding of the designer's philosophy

03-06-2007, 10:55 PM
1. Clarity, image and sound stage
2. Unique technology (cabinet, drive units, crossover etc.)
3. Excellent QC
4. Styling

Ned Mast
03-06-2007, 11:52 PM
Clarity of image and sound stage
Understanding the designer's philosophy
Design heritage

04-06-2007, 03:11 AM
In order of importance to me:

1) Clarity, image and sound stage
2) Excellent QC
3) Unique technology (cabinet, drive units, crossover etc.) (only if it contributes to #1 above... I will not pay extra for unique technology just for "bragging rights")
4) Styling

04-06-2007, 04:54 AM
Clarity image and sound stage
Empathy with the manufacturer
Design heritage
Hand made in the UK

12-06-2007, 09:38 PM
Understanding of the designer's philosophy
Clarity, image and sound stage
Unique technology (cabinet, drive units, crossover etc.)
Excellent QC (Quality Control) - ISO9001 etc.

13-06-2007, 12:21 AM
Timbre truthfulness.
Clarity, image, sound stage.
Unique technology (drivers, crossover).
Quality control.

13-06-2007, 10:17 PM
1. Clarity, image and sound stage. Plus low colouration, of course.

2. Excellent QC (Quality Control) - ISO9001 etc. IME, speakers with good pair
matching give an excellent stereo image.

3. Floor standing. All else being equal- not always the case, I admit - why waste

4. Empathy with the manufacturer. Just like Quad, Spendor, SME, et al in the Good
Old Days.

Item 4 dates me, I suppose.

10-09-2007, 04:22 PM
What makes a great speaker ?

great music . But most of all enjoyment which means you hear the music you want as you want to hear it without fatigue and false emphasis.

I can not reconcile that to the items listed ,or maybe I am just being awkward. But I hope not ,I know when a speaker is right for me and it makes me look forward to getting home and putting on some music.It helps me enjoy and listen to new challenging music and to see value in music i do not even like. all of that makes a great speaker but I honestly could not define it

07-12-2007, 12:08 PM
The priorities have changed for me over the years, but here goes...

1, Empathy with the manufacturer
2, Understanding of the designer's philosophy
3, Excellent QC (Quality Control) - ISO9001 etc.
4, Design heritage

...and not always in that order, looking again.

All the HiFi buzzwords I'd expect as a balanced given, but most importantly of all for me is INVOLVEMENT! I like to react emotionally to the music being played and great speakers do this in spades.

08-08-2008, 02:48 PM
Clarity, image and sound stage 40%
Styling 40%
Excellent QC 20%

11-08-2008, 08:48 AM
It says I'm not allowed to vote in this poll, but my main reply would be that a great speaker "gets out of the way of the music." The older I get, the less all other considerations factor in.


11-08-2008, 10:25 AM
I can't see any reason why you couldn't vote - assuming that you were logged in! I made a test vote - could you and other logged-in members try and vote?

I know that we've had problems in the past with the poll facility here which I thought had been fixed.

11-08-2008, 06:12 PM
1 Clarity, image and soundstage - timbre and tonal truthfulness to reality, so many fail here
2 Design heritage - what does the designer believe in ?
3 Excellent QC - without which you have very little
4 Styling - should enhance domestic appearances not detract

Like Alan said, it's speakers and microphones which have the most room for improvement (as well as the difficult task of converting sound to signal and vice versa etc.

11-08-2008, 06:19 PM
Yes, I'm logged in. I only see the results of the polling (one vote for 'clarity, image and soundstage') and a message at the bottom of the poll results tellling me that I'm disenfranchised!

It may be because I use Safari as my browser; most websites are optimised for Explorer, I suppose.

In the spirit intended, I'd vote:

Unique technology
Design heritage
Stand mounting
Excellent QC

...although, I also appreciate the empathy from the manufacturer; and being able to communicate with him across the miles!

BTW in a couple weeks' time, I shall have my Compact 7 demo in Portland! Finally get to hear these wonderful speakers I've been hearing about.


12-08-2008, 12:51 AM
1. Clarity, image and sound stage
2. Excellent QC (Quality Control) - ISO9001 etc.
3. Unique technology (cabinet, drive units, crossover etc.)
4. Design heritage

13-08-2008, 07:24 PM
It"s a problem with the pool:

View Poll Results: 4 most important factors in a great speaker. PICK 4 ONLY!
Styling 0 0%
Unique technology (cabinet, drive units, crossover etc.) 0 0%
Design heritage 0 0%
Clarity, image and sound stage 1 100.00%
Stand mounting 0 0%
Floor standing 0 0%
Hand made in the UK 0 0%
Excellent QC (Quality Control) - ISO9001 etc. 0 0%
Understanding of the designer's philosophy 0 0%
Empathy with the manufacturer 0 0%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 1. You may not vote on this poll

12-09-2008, 07:30 PM
Interesting breakdown. Only one choice has to do with the sound, and not, perhaps, the most important aspect of the sound.

So for me,

First is tonal balance. It is key that no range jumps out unnaturally and alters timbre or the feel of the recording, or makes the bass seem like it lags. Second is a sense of tunefulness which I think comes from a neutral and pure midrange. Third is something I can't quite put my finger on, but a sort of physicality that makes it seem like there is a solid object producing sound. Some might call this imaging and soundstaging, but I'm not sure that's exactly it. Fourth is clarity and detail, but it must be coupled with a naturalness. Fifth is empathy with and understanding of the design--whether "high tech" or not it should make sense. Sixth is qc and service.

19-05-2009, 01:16 PM
In all my audio gear I want three things, great sound, reliability, and a company with a history of standing behind there product. Its also nice to know there design philosophy, but not a must for me.

1. Clarity, image, soundstage
2. Excellent quality control
3. Design Heritage

4. Understanding designers philosophy

16-06-2009, 12:07 PM
I took the poll but for those of us who are after the best sound it is kind of irrelevant. It would have been more interesting to see a list of audio attributes which (I guess) the designer trades of according to price and size such as;

mid range accuracy
support for lower ocatave(s)
response in typical rooms
sound stage

and so on