What About Loudspeaker Choice?
by James Leahy
Because proper Hi-Fi
music reproduction can only be achieved by using full range loudspeakers
this limits the compactness of them. For the best sound a larger floor
standing loudspeaker is preferable over a bookshelf model and should
ideally normally be placed at least 1 meter from the rear and side
Loudspeakers that are most suitable for Hi-Fi can not as easily
be hidden and concealed as can be the case with some stealth home theater installations we have done.
set-up for Hi-Fi to be successful some if not most myths commonly held
will have to be discarded. To illustrate this point I will tell you
about a customer I had once who walked into my listening room and before
even sitting down to listen to my system told me I was crazy to place my
loudspeakers about 1.5 meters out from my back wall. When I asked why he
looked at me blankly and told me, "Because nobody does it like that". It
didn't matter to him that they sounded the best in that location as I
have spent countless hours experimenting with placement but the look of
the room did not appeal to his tastes.
Once again it all
comes down to what and how much of a compromise you are willing to live
with on a day-to-day basis with respect to the space considerations a
decent sized loudspeaker will occupy. Loudspeakers tell you where they
need to be placed to get the best possible sound. You don't tell them,
they tell you. With no other Hi-Fi component is ascetics as important in
the purchasing decision as they are with loudspeakers for the majority
of my customers. Never mind that one pair might sound infinitely better
if they do not fit the buyers image checklist they are quickly
forgotten. Decide now how important size and looks are to you from the
start, it will make my job much easier.
While it is true that a loudspeaker which
measures poorly will nearly always sound poorly, it is equally true that
that loudspeakers which measure exceedingly well sometimes sound just as
lousy, in a purely subjective listening test, as ones that are
objectively poor. This is why, of all components, the loudspeaker is
still the one that must be selected mainly on the basis of how it sounds
and to hell with the measurements.