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I love these type of threads and competition. I believe this greatly helps people decide what to buy as it is an equal comparison which is hard to do especially at the higher priced levels. I appreciate the level of detail and effort that goes into this type of work and am looking forward to the results.
 

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Discussion Starter #142
Well done guys with the $2500 comparison, is it true that the ARX5 will also be there? This what I heard.
Yep... you heard correctly. :T



i think one of the most interesting things about this multi-speaker review is that all these speakers offer something different and will appeal to a wide audience. I also think that when you get to this price range, there certainly aren't any losers, there are just varying degrees of winners.
Agree... and as far as anticipation, this is what I anticipate... all very good speakers that will all will have enthusiast that will like them over the other.



Magnepan - a full range ribbon speaker... if im understanding that right? very interesting.
Yes... full range.



Martin logan - electrostat speakers, with 8" woofer. that appears not to use a crossover
500Hz.



Maybe covered elsewhere but in a multi channel setup of HT interested also in differences in seating position and how that affects performance. If you optomize around the center seat that can be a lonely place :)
For home theater I have tested optimizing for the primary listening position vs optimizing for 3 vs optimizing for 7. For me there was not enough improvement in the other positions to make it worth NOT optimizing for the PLP. You improve one seat, make another worse... it is never ending with multiple seats being optimized. However, that could be different for others... just my experience in my room. I keep it optimized for the PLP since I am the only one in there 99% of the time. You could save a couple of setups though... if your processor or receiver allows for it. One for PLP and one for multiple when you have company.



What I also like is the idea of converting a 2 car garage into a home theater. :T
Will work on the wife... :gulp:
Buy her a new car... works EVERY time!!!



Three questions / comments:

  1. What music / movies are you going to listen to as reference material? Are you going to be watching any movies at all, are video displays part of the test as well, or is it just audio?
  2. Most speakers / room setups require a careful positioning of the speakers to get optimal flat frequency response (that is somewhat dependent on the size and construction of the room, but it's the norm for professional studios). Are you going to be moving the speakers in different places to get the sweet spot for each of them? I assume they are pretty heavy, it's not going to be easy hauling that stuff around.
  3. For reference material I'd recommend to at least include the Sony Classical recording of Bartok's Concierto for Orchestra, a very fine recording on Super Audio CD. For movies, Wall-E has a spectacularly good sound design.
We have not selected all of the music yet, still nailing it down. Basically a short compilation of clips from various songs... then 3 songs selected by each of us on the evaluation panel.

For movies each night... we have ideas, but still not fully selected yet. We will probably decide each night... maybe draw straws for each one we like. The two-channel speakers will have our full attention during the day on Friday and Saturday. The 5.0 home theater system will get our time later at night.

Thanks for the suggestions, we can consider those.

Nothing real heavy... and yes... we get pretty serious about optimal placement (see our previous $1,000 evaluation - link in my sig).



I would love to see something similar in the $1,000 and $500 and under categories for us budget minded folks.
Check out the link to our $1,000 evaluation in my signature. :T



When I had Magnepan speakers, I preferred the tighter sound I could get out of them by placing some acoustic absorption panels behind them. I believe this allowed the immediate rear wave to still do its magic of interference with the forward wave to focus the sound, while reducing the effect of a reflected wave off the surfaces behind the speaker.

Would you consider doing the same during your review, to see what people think of this? I imagine it would also apply to the Martin Logan, although I suspect it might have a different effect given its planar surface is curved.

Flat planars are also very sensitive to toe-in, since moving your head off-axis immediately impacts the sound. Some will prefer different degrees of toe-in, so I think that's also something worth including in your review sessions.
We did try placing acoustic panels behind the Magnepans we had in the previous evaluation, but it made them worse, as it did with other speakers we tried. The room is setup pretty well acoustically, so that should not be an issue... and we go to extremes to get the right placement for each speaker.
 

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Thius is a great idea with a simple twist! I was struck by how many people missed the opening line of Sonny's post saying that this wasn't a shoot out. With that in mind, the whole "which speaker is better/best" and"blind test methodology" tiresome arguments are eliminated and time can be better spent simply understanding the pluses and minuses of the performance of each speaker on it's own merits without ranking them. How cool is THAT????

Being able is hear what is essentially a group of independent reviews from some folks who have some pretty good knowledge of audio that can pass on their evaluations should allow for some excellent decision-making relative to high level speakers that may not otherwise have input available.

What a fantastically clever idea! Kudos to Sonnie for this approach. Can't wait to read the output.
 

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For a music suggestion please invest the 4:56 to check out "Shock" by John Tesh. My #1 instrumental go-to test track.

Tons of respect for your review panel. We are all looking forward to your careful analysis. I for one would like to read a brief pre-review stating what each reviewer is expecting. Posted before the event of course. Which speakers have you previously experienced, what favourites do you have? Some will parrot on about "expectation bias", but that pop psychology can't stand up in the face of men with integrity willing to say "Hey, I was wrong. Brand X surprised me, and Brand Y didn't live up to my overblown expectations"
 

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I am very excited to read about first impressions and over all performance of the MartinLogan ElectroMotion ESL units. They look impressive and the specs speak for themselves and paired with an already proven Oppo for the source and Anthem Amp to drive them I can only imagine these would be as close to audio nirvana as one can get. I just wish I lived closer to you guys so I can share in the fun. Just for fun can you guys test some 96/24 or higher bit rate vinyl rips? You choose the records.
 

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very interested in seeing the results of this Audition/Evaluation Event...I bought my first pair of home theater speakers a little over 2 years ago and now I'm hooked on audio...my current speakers aren't crazy high end but they are great for someone like me who was starting out (Aperion 5T towers, center, and bipole/dipole surrounds)...the Aperion speakers are pretty impressive in their own right...audio is definitely 50% of the experience and maybe even more...adds a whole other dimension to a movie...Pacific Rim sounded amazing on Blu-ray

lots of excellent speakers at the event and it will be interesting to see how they all fare...can't wait to see what demo material you guys bring to test the equipment as well...might even help me upgrade
 

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Vin Vendel wrote: View Post
You could go even further and not tell which speaker it is playing and let the listeners go in blindfolded and write down hearingimpressions after each listening. In that way the brain can´t add attributes to the speaker they have read articles about.

That is actually a good idea, although it might get time consuming. I thought I would have some bias towards some speakers in our last shootout. For example... never read anything but good about Vandersteen and fully expected them to do VERY well in the evaluation, however, while not bad, they were not nearly as good as the others.
Yes I guess it would take to much time maybe could work as an introduction with one song with good dynamics, instrumental separation and variation.
 

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I am so excited. You guys really now how to get me hooked on threads. I wish I could attend it in person. I still need to buy some front and center Chanel speakers for my HT room and was planning on getting some RSL's based on the reviews. Then along came the $1000 speaker shoot out on here which made me hold off. Now along comes the $2500 shoot out.
In the test, you guys loved the ARX's with the ribbon tweeter so much that I am now leaning toward them but I want to see the $2500 results. I really love the look of the SVS Ultras's and love love my PB12 from them.
I am just excited for this event. Thanks so much for doing this for us.
 

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I look forward to what will be coming out of this. I'm not in the market myself at this price bracket, but it will be interesting to hear (!) what the reviewers find out.

I hope there will be a variety of music being listened too, especially something with dynamics in it. The beginning of Stravinsky's Sacre du Printemps would be a good one.
 

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Great idea, a really nice budget, and a great variation of speakers.

Flatpannels v.s. boxes, i'm glad I don't have to choose the winner here, good luck guys.
 

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I am incredibly interested in seeing the results of this evaluation. The previous $1000 speaker eval was a hit and definitely a useful guide to those looking in that budget range. I'm curious to see how the emerald physics and SVS speakers do compared to the rest. I've heard the rest of them, but just not those two!

I value every one of the four reviewers opinions and look forward to hearing impressions after the event has taken place!
 

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I was scarred as a youth reading Audiophile and other like magazines. The floofy, subjective wording (complete even with made up words) to describe speakers and equipment sound never sat well with my scientific mind (including reviews of 6ft silver power cables that somehow improved the "sound" of the 60ft of copper to the fuse box). And it's very hard to map their lab measurements to what something would sound like (even with the accompanying subjective wording). They would compare everything to their $50K reference system, but that's not the same as comparing to other same-level components.

*Shootout* is how sound is supposed to be compared! I posted a link to the $1K shootout on my FB page and declared it the best speaker review I had ever read.

I'm really excited about this $2.5K level. This is where I live, personally (Sonus Faber Concerto's). Arrrreeee you ready to rummmmmmmmmble?????

Thanks guys, have fun!
--Myles(Wooderson - I do love those redheads)
 

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I love the idea and only wish this was a little closer to me. I'm a SVS fan and would like to see how they compare to a few of the other speakers in this group. I think for most of us with a dedicated theater setup a $2500 investment is speakers is not out of line....$25,000 yes. I look forward to seeing the results.
 

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This shootout will be the best one so far in my opinion... The $2500 speaker is a very good price point for a pair of speakers for a home stereo setup. While it may not be the best, it is a price point that a lot more people can afford than the exotic speakers seen in some of the magazines (although the exotics are nice to hear... Even if it is just to hear the absolute best money can buy). I would like to see more shootouts in the future too. Some suggestions would be:
1: DIY speakers (if someone can get them to Sonnie) compared to the best of the shootout speakers
2: Pro speakers compared to the best of the shootout
3: Powered speakers compared to the best of the shootout speakers
4: Video flat panels and projectors

I wish that I lived closer, and was able to attend the shootout to listen to all the different speakers in the shootout. This will be a excellent opportunity to evaluate all the speakers in a environment that is optimized for each speaker (unlike the environment most people hear the speakers in when they are evaluating), and much more like they will have in their own home.

Once again we see what makes HTS so much better than the other forums. Thanks again Sonnie, and the Sponsors for making this happen.

Patiently awaiting results.

Ron
 

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I was about to pull the trigger on the $1000 winner when I see the $2500 Evaluation getting ready to take shape. I think I'll wait for the results and try and get by on my old Infinity speakers from the 80's. In my area there just isn't anywhere to audition so this type of thing takes all the guess work out of it. Thanks guys...I know its a burden :T
 

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I'm REALLY looking forward to reading the results of this shootout! The first one with the $1,000 max was very well done and I found it very interesting the ARX won out. There is such a broad range of speakers in this evaluation not just from looks but driver materials, tweeter materials, DSP, etc. I've gotta be honest, I am really the most interested in the Emerald Physics speakers! They're so interesting and not many others similar to them to compare to. Next to the Emerald Physics, I'm very curious how the SVS' compare to the Paradigms. I've always been a big Paradigm fan so this will be really interesting to read.

Thanks for taking the time/money/energy to get this all put together, its definitely appreciated!

Scott
 

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I'm looking forward to the results. It's just as well this isn't going to be a shootout with us guessing which one will win. I was in the minority with the $1,000 shootout and my pic wasn't even in the running. Then, of the three I voted for for this comparison, none of them made it in the first round. :dontknow: This way I can just sit back and enjoy the reports.

This type of comparison can provide some really useful insights. It is all well and good to read individual reviews of different speakers but the one question that is almost never addresses is "how did it sound in comparison to XYZ speaker?"
 

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Yes! This looks set to be really useful. What a great and diverse selection of speakers - the voting process has worked a treat (and my main nominees made it into the selection, so how could I think otherwise?). The room is superb, the other system components shouldn't introduce significant limitations, and you are being appropriately fastidious to optimize the placement of each pair under test before starting. Will be interested to see your test program material, and really hoping there will be at least one superbly recorded classical piece included. If you can't decide on one, I'd be very happy to make a suggestion.
 

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Good to see "real world" evaluations conducted for people looking to match up quality speakers with a room built and treated to complement the listening activities.

Obviously a time consuming activity to swap out a lot of big, heavy speakers. Don't hurt anything horsing them about!

-Suntan
 

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While there is really nothing I could add to what others have already said, I will say that I am curious to hear (read) all of the reviewers' thoughts on these products. I don't have a dedicated listening/theater space, but will be keeping some of these concepts in mind when the time comes to either convert a garage or add to my house!
 
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