Friday, September 25, 2015

Most Overrated Speakers in the World

Yes, this is a troll to get traffic, but yes, I'm going to be sincere nonetheless. 

Bowers & Wilkins

There's nothing wrong with the sound, but also nothing right.  Just some of the most boring to listen to speakers ever.  And by this I don't mean transparent and neutral.  It's like they suck the flavor out of music.  On the other hand, they aren't particularly objectionable so I wouldn't get up to shut them off, but I also wouldn't pay for a pair.

Wilson Audio

I actually really like the sound of Wilson speakers, but not the prices.  For 1/10th of the price a mid-line Focal or high-end Monitor Audio would sound as good and take up less floor space.  The one area where they can excel is in dynamic range and bass extension.  Still, good subs from Hsu run a lot less.  Also, from the perspective of overall tonal balance, to me, they sound very close to Focals, so if you like the Wilson's, check out a variety of Focals with a subwoofer.

Golden Ear

Really painful treble.  It's a banshee in the shape of a speaker.   The current positive reviews astound me.  


Same as Golden Ear, only it's not a screech so much as a sneaky ear needle.  I know it may be psychosomatic to think of them as ear drills based on the shape of the tweeter but to me the Triangle sounds very clean and distortion free compared to the Golden Ear, but still painful to listen to.  Like eating something very spicy, but you can't tell for the first two or three bites how spicy it is. 


The third speaker in the "bad treble" group. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Focal Sopra

Focal just introduced the Sopra speaker line.

I find it very interesting, and in some ways it's a marriage of the Profile and Electra lines, with a dash of Utopia thrown in.  The color finishes are pretty too, but I'm not really completely enamored of the shape.  At least I find them less ugly than the current Utopia line.  What I'm most interested in however is how "tweakable" it is.  Focal makes excellent drivers in many ways, especially low distortion and low storage of energy.  Flat, smooth frequency response however is not their forte. Also, their cabinets and crossover components below the Utopia line kind of suck by comparison.   There is some, but not extensive, internal bracing allowing unusually large amounts of vibration to come off the sides.   I can already tell by the pictures they have shown they are not particularly proud of the crossovers in this unit.  Not that they were ill designed, but probably did not have the highest quality components.

I'm sure we'll be reading about the performance of the Sopra's in gushing details from "unbiased" reviewers soon, and by that I mean to exclude all of TAS, but what I would really want to know is if the Sopra's are a few hundred dollars away in mods from being small Utopia's?