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jdm56
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What are the best sounding speakers you have ever heard?

Loved the "classic speakers" thread. Now for a slight twist, name the best sounding loudspeakers you have ever heard, period. I'll start, and my answer is easy: a pair of klipschorns playing Paul Simon's "Graceland" at Flip's Stereo in St. Louis, MO in 1986. A huge, lively room that was ideal for the big cornerhorns, and a great recording of great music -music that also was a good match for horns. I can't really think of any music reproduction experience that compares to that one. In fact, I'd have to think hard to come up with any live music experience that beats it much!

Buddha
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Re: What are the best sounding speakers you have ever heard?

Sorry to sound evasive, but this is my honest answer...and it's the same answer I used to give about girlfriends:

The best one is the next one.

That, my friend, is the curse of Hi-Fi, part one.

Yiangos
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Re: What are the best sounding speakers you have ever heard?

I am not saying they're the best but i remember how i was left with my mouth wide open when i first heard Magneplanar MG-1 playing a solo guitar.If i had the space,there would be pair of MG-20.1 right now in my listening room.It is an experience i will never forget.

jazzfan
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Re: What are the best sounding speakers you have ever heard?


Quote:
Sorry to sound evasive, but this is my honest answer...and it's the same answer I used to give about girlfriends:

The best one is the next one.

That, my friend, is the curse of Hi-Fi, part one.

Hey Buddha,

Are you married? And if so, don't ever, I mean ever, let your wife see or hear that you've written or spoken those words or you'll be listening in mono since she'll own half of your system!

As for the question at hand, I really can't say. I'm happy to report that I've had the pleasure of experiencing some fine moments by cranking up my big system in its present configuration and I've also been at a good friend's house and been treated to some seriously fine sounding tunes. However in each case I feel that it's much more than just a function of the speakers, although the speakers do play a very big part they are just one part of a bigger whole which includes the scource (LP, CD, SACD, etc), player (turntable, tonearm, cd player, etc), electronics (pre & power amps), cables, speakers, tweaks, setup (room and room treatment) and last but not least one's mental state (as in "are you having a good time?").

Examples (I love to give examples).

Electrostatic speakers almost always sound great in a demo room and yet I've never felt compelled to run out and purchase a pair. Why? Simply because I know that they have this really tight sweet spot and I don't always sit still while listening to music, sometimes I may even move around quite a bit

Similar reasoning applies to speakers with very demanding placement issues for proper performance. Limits what one can or can't do with one's room and whether or not one will be able to reproduce the stunning sound heard in the demo room.

Buddha
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Re: What are the best sounding speakers you have ever heard?

Hi, Jazzfan!

Happily married, I must have run into a "signature reference model" when I hooked up with my wife.

No listening fatigue, easy placement, low maintenance, good bottom end, sweet top end, images great, and talk about sweet spots! Well, don't get me started!

As to your electrostatic thing:

I don't quite get you problem with tight sweet spots, all double entendres aside.

If you're "moving around alot" or dancing, why would imaging be a limiting factor?

When I'm gettin' down, I don't really care if the third violinist loses the illusion of being supended in a certain space.

Dude, there's "listening" and then there's "grooving." I think I get less critical when I'm throwing the kids around to tunes vs. sitting still and listening nerd-style.

All I am saying, is give stats a chance!

Cheers, amigo!

jazzfan
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Re: What are the best sounding speakers you have ever heard?


Quote:
Happily married, I must have run into a "signature reference model" when I hooked up with my wife.

No listening fatigue, easy placement, low maintenance, good bottom end, sweet top end, images great, and talk about sweet spots! Well, don't get me started!

Sounds like a keeper. I believe I got a similar model from the east coast dealer.


Quote:
All I am saying, is give stats a chance!

Are we talking audio or baseball?

JoeE SP9
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Re: What are the best sounding speakers you have ever heard?

I've got to agree with Budha. When I'm playing something to groove with and I get the feeling, soundstage and imaging are forgotten. You can listen. Or you can dance, read, groove, send messages to forums like this or anything else. The sweet spot from my Acoustat Spectra 2200's is plenty large enough. It makes ELS's worth it. Budha knows what I mean. I know what he means.
All we are sayin' Is give Stats a chance

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Re: What are the best sounding speakers you have ever heard?

The big 3-way top of the line Nautilus from B&W (can't remember the model number) paired with a Linn amplifier and cd player that was outrageously expensive (something on the order of 10's of thousands if I remember correctly). It was amazing, yet utterly unattainable unless I won some rediculous lottery and could still justify spending that much on audio gear versus doing something more useful with it.

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Re: What are the best sounding speakers you have ever heard?


Quote:
I am not saying they're the best but i remember how i was left with my mouth wide open when i first heard Magneplanar MG-1 playing a solo guitar.If i had the space,there would be pair of MG-20.1 right now in my listening room.It is an experience i will never forget.

I heard the SMG first. I felt the same way. However, I think if money was no object I'd get the MBL 101E, and I've never even heard it. The 20.1 would be my second choice.

I used to sell Maggies. I loved the 3.1.

So far as best? The Wilson X1 was really nice, but none of the Wilsons I've heard really appealed to me.

Maybe the Apogees. I know I heard the Duetta. I might have heard bigger ones.

eagle
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Re: What are the best sounding speakers you have ever heard?


Quote:
Hi, Jazzfan!

Happily married, I must have run into a "signature reference model" when I hooked up with my wife.

No listening fatigue, easy placement, low maintenance, good bottom end, sweet top end, images great, and talk about sweet spots! Well, don't get me started!

As to your electrostatic thing:

I don't quite get you problem with tight sweet spots, all double entendres aside.

If you're "moving around alot" or dancing, why would imaging be a limiting factor?

When I'm gettin' down, I don't really care if the third violinist loses the illusion of being supended in a certain space.

Dude, there's "listening" and then there's "grooving." I think I get less critical when I'm throwing the kids around to tunes vs. sitting still and listening nerd-style.

All I am saying, is give stats a chance!

Cheers, amigo!

I agree to an extent. However, what got me to really be a hifi nut was hearing the Rogers LS3/5A. If a blind person had been there they would have believed 4 guys were in that room singing. And I wasn't in any sweet spot. There was no chair and I was moving around a bit.

So, while I agree that if you are dancing or cooking or whatever the imaging and perfect high end don't matter.

But, to be able to slouch or lean agains the couch arm and still get it all is "a good thing".

Yiangos
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Re: What are the best sounding speakers you have ever heard?

Hi Eagle

Speaking of maggies,i want to tell you guys a story that really happened to me about 10 ago. I have a seconf cousin who is the "know-it-all,i've-got-a-great-deal-here" kind of a person.One day,he called me and asked me to come to his house to listen to his new "combination" (as he called it) of speakers.Anyway,to make a long story short,i went and listened to his new system and left speachless.Why ? because he got pair of Magneplanar MG-3 siting side-by-side with a pair of Bose 901 and driving all four of them with a Sanyo amplifier barely powerful to play music through a portable radio.And not only that,he insisted that each pair was complemmenting each other and that the end result was awsome lol

mikeymad
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Re: What are the best sounding speakers you have ever heard?

Mine was a few years back at a show in LA. It was the second or third year that Cello was out there. They had two rooms. One was the theater system (playing Army of Darkness), and the other was a self powered satellite system. I believe that it was the Cello Angels, my friend seems to remember that it was the Angel series and the speakers where the Seraphim. Any corrections on this information would be welcome. This was probably the most musical experience that I have had.

There is also some experience with the B&W 801 series that was nice, and a Martin Logan set that was pretty sweet.

Buddha
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Re: What are the best sounding speakers you have ever heard?

Yiangos!

I'm almost with ya!

I had a buddy in college who had a pair of DCM Time Windows and he put a 901 on top of each. The Time Windows got the imaging info right to ya, and then the Bose acted as sort of reinforcement speakers.

We got two copies of the Apocalypse Now soundtrack and set up his changer so we'd hear the whole thing without having to get up, and then tried the meanest herbal product from Thailand we'd ever encountered.

That day, with that system, that record, and that brain enhancer, I actually had a period of "seeing" the sound. Everything was in red and green instead of black and white, and the stereo sounded amazing.

Then I remember waking up in a park a few miles away and watching some girl barf into a McDonald's bag.

Just thinking about that day makes me dizzy.

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Re: What are the best sounding speakers you have ever heard?

I've had two "shivers up the spine" experiences:

*In about 1985 or so, I heard a pair of large SoundLabs at a shop in Orlando playing a female vocal selection. It sounded so full and life-like, I fully expected the singer to step out from behind those big panels.
*Couple years ago, I listened to "Fanfare for the Common Man" on a pair of 801 Nautilus's....simply breathtaking.

Monty
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Re: What are the best sounding speakers you have ever heard?

Wilson speakers floated my boat like no other, followed by Proac.

Yiangos
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Re: What are the best sounding speakers you have ever heard?

Hi Tedrick and welcome to the forum.I believe i know the shop you are refering to.Almost every summer i spend 5-6 weeks in Olrnado with my family and there is a certain shop (keep forgeting the name) i allways visit to listen to equipment and purchase cables for av use.Actually,it is not a "shop" it is a big store.They stock mostly back projection and plasma tv,martin Logan,Krell,Velodyne,B&W etc

Yiangos
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Re: What are the best sounding speakers you have ever heard?

Hey Monty

Now you really got me puzzled here.As an owner of ProAc,i have to ask this.How can anyone like ProAc and Wilson? They are completely different loudspeakers !

mick m
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Re: What are the best sounding speakers you have ever heard?

Heard them a couple of years ago & now own a set, Genesis 201's ,listening to The carnival is over by Dead Can Dance & James Taylor's Gaia still alway's sends shivers up my spine, i have heard alot of speaker's but these set up right kill them all except the even bigger Gen 1.1.

Yiangos
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Re: What are the best sounding speakers you have ever heard?

The term "best speaker i have ever heard" is very relative.
I could probably quote some six figure or high five-figure loudspeaker but no,that is not the point here.For me,the best speaker i have ever heard is the one that moves me emotionally and that was a pair of big TDL RSTL i still own but saddly not in working order anymore.4 way,7 driver,16 hz-35khz hugh transmission line that believe-it-or-not could work just about anywhere in the room.No micro adjustments here.Their only weakness? A slight(and i mean SLIGHT) mettalic coloration in the treble.Now,the bass. Words can not explain the bass of these speakers.If any of you has the chance to listen to a pair of these oldies,please,do,just to hear their bass.Unfortunately , due to some "experimentation" (i'm good at this lol" i blew the whole right speaker,yes,all drivers except the super tweeter.You probably wondering how on earth i blew the woofers and not the tweeters,well,told ya "i am very good at this" rotfl Anyway,unfortunately,can't find any replacement parts,since they do not manufacture them anymore.I keep the stored hoping someday i will find a used pair to mix-and-match and make one working pair

Monty
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Re: What are the best sounding speakers you have ever heard?

What? Did you only date blondes or did a few brunettes cross your path? I even like the vanilla and chocolate swirl ice cream cones at McDonalds.

Yiangos
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Re: What are the best sounding speakers you have ever heard?

Monty,the moment you turn the lights off,they're all the same rotfl
p.s. what are you doing up this late ?

jdm56
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Re: What are the best sounding speakers you have ever heard?

Although my 1986 St. Louis klipschorn experience was singular in it's lasting impression on me, there are notable "also-rans" that stick in my mind, some no doubt due to my relative inexperience at the time. But anyway, here goes:

ADS L710's...Mid seventies, I was around 19-20, and I still vividly recall the clean, balanced sound those speakers had. Driver compliment was a pair of 7" woofers, a 2" dome mid and a 1" dome tweeter.

Bose 901's...late seventies, dealer showroom, and ideally set-up suspended from the ceiling at precisely the correct distance and spaced from the rear and sidewall likewise. Probably the most life-like reproduction of a good mid-hall perspective rock concert experience I've ever heard.

B&W 805's...a couple of years ago. Unbelievable sound from a small two-way. Extremely well-balanced and life-like. Hard to fault considering the small size. I might have been even more impressed with the bigger, more expensive models in B&W's 800 series, but I was afraid to hear them for fear I'd be ruined for affordable speakers!

Magnepan MG3.5(?)...so clear and unboxy (duh). I can see how someone could marry a pair.

...good night and God bless.

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2 experiences

#1 - about 12 years ago at Savant Audio in NJ. He used a house for his business. In one room he had it lined with Sonex. In that room he had Proac Response 3's. They sounded incredible. So different from anyhting I had heard that no comparison was needed. The imaging was incredible.

#2 - Everytime I hear the MBL's it's like a revelation. They provide a depth to voices and instruments like nothing else I have heard.

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Re: 2 experiences

1st time i heard Linda Ronstadt(Love has no pride) and ELP (Lucky Man) through double Advents, I was hooked. Bob Carver did a demo in an audio store I worked at with DCM Time Windows with his sonic hologram. WOW! I heard a pair of Infinity QLS driven by 2 Phase Linear 700B's playing Billy Cobham that defined percussion at its jazz best. But Shahinian's demo'd by Richard himself playing name that tune with Julian Hirsch at a Chicago CES show was the most amazing display of recorded music that I have ever heard.

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Re: What are the best sounding speakers you have ever heard?

I hated to say this but there is no such thing as "Best". There are merits in every speaker designs. The ideal "best" for me is to own a few speakers since every speaker type has its own strength. It will be nice if I can have everything: one horn like Klipschorn or Altec A5, one direct driver like Lowthers, one planar in Maggies, one cones and dome in Wilson. However, if I am only allow to own one speaker which is what I am doing now: I like Klipschorn. Life is full of dilemma, isn't it?

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Re: What are the best sounding speakers you have ever heard?

Hi, jdm56,

Any "best sounding" judgment, I would argue, is event and venue specific, because of the many different factors that contribute to the sound you remember on that occasion. I can remember 3 occasions that stand out in retrospect, none of which I can separate out as the "best." The doubled-up KLH model 9's I heard at the House of Music in Salt Lake City ('way back in the late 1960's) were so realistic that I could not at the time imagine anything electronic being closer to the real thing. Electronics were McIntosh, with a Weathers/Pickering front end. The recording was a Szell LP, Rossini Overtures. But there wasn't much competition in those days, "east-coast" sound being distant and mellow, and "west-coast" sound being horn-colored, piercing, and aggressive. Once I got really involved in the quest for the best sound, after MUCH listening around over a span of 20-25 years, I remember being similarly stunned by the Dunlavy Model 6's I heard at Ambrosia Audio in Brentwood, in a HUGE showroom (40' X 30', I'm guessing), driven by BAT electronics and Levinson's top-of-the-line transport/DAC. The recording was my CD version of Bruno Walter's Mahler 2nd. Loud AND subtle, just like the concert hall, with absolutely perfect bass -- deep, located to the rear, various instruments properly delineated. Incredible. But, large-room dependent. Not for me at the time.
Finally, fortunately, my own Triangles, in my own relatively small apartment, with (believe it or not) Musical Fidelity electronics and a modest Basis analogue set-up. After I returned home from Disney Hall, hearing the Mahler 4th, I had to put on my Reiner version of it, the vinyl reissue of the original RCA LP. I remember being stunned at how life-like the sound was. In all fairness I have to note that my system doesn't always sound this close to perfection...we DO have different levels of receptiveness and different moods to deal with, even in the same room with the same software. But these 3 stand out in my memory. If I had to pick the best, it would be the Dunlavy, in that huge room. But that would be nit-picking. All three occasions represent, to me, why we go nuts over this pursuit of some ideal sound.

Buddha
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Re: What are the best sounding speakers you have ever heard?


Quote:
I hated to say this but there is no such thing as "Best". There are merits in every speaker designs. The ideal "best" for me is to own a few speakers since every speaker type has its own strength. It will be nice if I can have everything: one horn like Klipschorn or Altec A5, one direct driver like Lowthers, one planar in Maggies, one cones and dome in Wilson. However, if I am only allow to own one speaker which is what I am doing now: I like Klipschorn. Life is full of dilemma, isn't it?

So, you like Klipschorns the best, right?

I agree that there is no "perfect" speaker, but, for each of us, there can be a speaker or speakers that are the "best" we've heard. The ones with the fewest flaws or compromises.

Of all the speakers you've heard, there should be able to be one that was "best," to you.

Same goes for wives, no?

JoeE SP9
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Re: What are the best sounding speakers you have ever heard?

I know this is off topic. Am I the only one who finds Frank Gehry's designs butt ugly?

Soundideas
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Re: What are the best sounding speakers you have ever heard?

Quad 989....Quad L22 sounds really good too!

DennyB
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Re: What are the best sounding speakers you have ever heard?

My Uncles Strathern Ribbons using 10" Dynaudio Bass Drivers,playing Sheffield Labs recording of Dave Grusin's Discovered Again. The most straight foward,true to life sound I've ever heard!!

ludwigvan968
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Re: What are the best sounding speakers you have ever heard?

Tocaro 40's

http://www.concertsoundusa.com/tocaro.htm

For informaiton about their design, check out this page:

http://www.concertsoundusa.com/hifi_history.htm

The timing and pitch definition of these speakers is out of this world!

gkc
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Re: What are the best sounding speakers you have ever heard?

You are not alone, Joe. Brutally butt ugly. I have to get a shine on before I attend a subscription concert at Disney, the view is so ugly (fortunately, booze beautifies all beasts). Even the inside is no visual picnic -- the organ looks like somebody threw a hand grenade into a woodpile. But the acoustics are superb. The outside is intrusive on the downtown LA norm. But, in all fairness, the downtown LA norm is intrusive on the entire coastal area. Just blow it all up and start over. Put Gehry in one of his squatting space ships and send him out to look for intelligent life in some other dimension. Maybe he'll be successful and they can teach him to build a proper house. Bah.

JoeE SP9
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Re: What are the best sounding speakers you have ever heard?

I would love to attend an event at the Disney. I would have to led there blindfolded although sufficient lubrication might make it easier to look at. I don't understand what anyone finds attractive in his architecture. I guess I'll just have another look at Falling Water. Now thats beauty. By the way we have a killer organ at our new (sort of) Kimmel Center here in Philly. The acoustics aren't bad either.

gkc
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Re: What are the best sounding speakers you have ever heard?

You should come out -- I'll provide the requisite pre-concert chemical conditioning. You can crash at my place, provided you can stand the empty gin bottles and cigarette butts. I clean the place once a year, whether it needs it or not. The Disney looks like a misshapen aluminum igloo. Last year, they spent a few million on modifications. They buffed the intense shine off it. Now, it looks like a lead igloo. But, as I said, it sounds terrific, and I'll be content with that, after 15 years at the Dorothy Chandler, an elegant-looking sonic dud. I'm no architectural pundit, but, as the drunk said to the coat hanger, "I know what I like."

JoeE SP9
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Re: What are the best sounding speakers you have ever heard?

I shall definitely think about it. I'll be sure to bring my cowboy killers with me. Don't you have bottles with anything in them for your guests?

gkc
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Re: What are the best sounding speakers you have ever heard?

The full ones are closeted and well-cared for. Cheers, Clifton.

JoeE SP9
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Re: What are the best sounding speakers you have ever heard?

I will see how my schedule goes. Sometime after labor day would be the earliest.

nyctc7
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Re: What are the best sounding speakers you have ever heard?

I went to the grand opening of the Goldmund NYC store and heard their top-of-the-line speakers, pictured here at the right: $800,000 Goldmund system This is as good as it gets, I suppose. But the price is so over the top, one doesn't get that "I've got to have them" feeling. I also listened to the Goldmund Logos/Subwoofer combo, which I liked very much, but again, the price is over-the-top. I recently heard the Verity Audio Fidelio, and I got that "I want to have them!" feeling. In the past, I've gotten that feeling from the Magnepans, and ten years ago I still remember getting that feeling from a pair of the Green Mountain Audio Diamante. What I'm trying to say is that a high price is not necessarily the key determinant of an enjoyable, or memorable, experience.

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Re: What are the best sounding speakers you have ever heard?

Yeah, it's "Ultimate" alright, I see in the list of components it doesn't even have a Blu-Ray player, how quasi "ultimate" is that? How can mfg's still use the term "universal" player now that Blu-Ray is here, and they don't play blu-Ray, it ain't UNIVERSAL now is it?I think they need to rasise the price to just under $1,million, and include a Blu-Ray player. Just think how good this stuff would sound if it had AVA and Legacy stuff in it!!!!! Oh, I just swapped out teh low wattge 900W mono amps with 2 more 1200-1400 mono AVA/Hafler OmegaStar EX...we is now cranking at a potential 4800W RMS or so.....nice..............what is the difference between "Ultimat" and "World's Best"? Doses the GoldMund include a Continum TT? RockFord, or that brand used at the Library of Congress, that was the it, a few years ago. If not, we have a conflict of Ultimate and "World's Best" Now where does this system put CHORD or HALCRO? Rather underpriced now relative to this asurdity...What a studio one could setup with this kind of money..

nyctc7
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Re: What are the best sounding speakers you have ever heard?

Here's a better pic of the speakers: Goldmund Epilogue

The speakers are the very defintion of AWESOME. I also listened to the top-of-the-line mbl speakers. That was a memorable experience. Of course, the OP asked what are the best speakers you ever heard, not what you think are the world's best. In some respects then, it comes down to a matter of taste. The Goldmund Epilogues seemed to my ears to be as uncolored as possible. But what is better? the goldmunds or the mbls? If my budget was unlimited, then it would require auditioning with my favorite CD's to make up my mind. Let me put it this way: A year ago I was in the market for new speakers, with a max budget of $5,000. I auditioned the Sonus Faber Cremona Auditor, the mbl 311 E, and the Krell Resolution 3. I preferred the Krells. Does that mean it's a better speaker than the other two? Not necessarily. It's just that to my taste, I preferred the Krell.

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