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jdc's picture
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Aug 24 2007 - 7:20am
"...except for rap or electronica..."

I'm in the process of finding the right set of speakers for me in the <$3000 area. In doing this, I've found a literally enormous set of reviews containing verbiage such as "these speakers are fantastic, except for lovers of electronica or rap music," and "hip hop lovers should look elsewhere."

I understand that electronica isn't the preferred material of many audiophiles. And I understand that from a content perspective, hip hop is very polarizing, and that there are a great number of very poorly recorded/produced hip hop albums.

That said, there are many very good ones too. I enjoy all sorts of music. Singer/songwriter, country, jazz, blues, reggae, rap, drum & bass, trip hop, orchestral.

I want speakers that can detonate fireworks as well as arrange flowers. I understand compromises must be made at this, or indeed any price point. I'm just looking to make as few as possible.

Do any of you, dear readers, listen to rap, or punk, or drum & bass on the same speakers you use to listen to more subtle music? If so, please do share your experience!

bifcake's picture
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Nov 27 2005 - 2:27am
Re: "...except for rap or electronica..."

I'm actually in the same boat except that my budget is $3500 on the used market. I want a do all speaker that will handle deep, articulated bass as well as nuanced detail, layered presentation and imaging. Needless to say, it's hard to get that with a much greater budget.

These have been my impressions based on the speakers I heard:

Paradigm Studio 100 - Fantastic speaker for the money. Detailed, articulate. Excellent midbass, but doesn't quite go low enough for my tastes. This has been a subject of debate in the thread I started asking for opinions and impressions.

Gallo Reference 3.1 - Another good speaker for the money. I didn't think it was nuanced enough, but it could have been the setup at a dealer's.

NHT 3.3 - Really good speaker. Good detail, imaging and nuance. A bit bright for my tastes, but that could just be me. I'm hypersensitive to bright sounding speakers.

I haven't heard Legacy Focus, but they sound promising based on what I heard people say. I'll have to check them out.

wkhanna's picture
Last seen: 3 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: Jul 13 2007 - 1:46pm
Re: "...except for rap or electronica..."

If you guys want hard hitting clean LF along with what I cautiously will refer to as 'musical' speakers, I might suggest you budget for something like the Velodyne or REL subs that can calibrate themselves, and then go with speaker in the $1500 - $2000 range that you think sounds good to your ear on more acoustic type material. You are going to be hard pressed IMHO to find a single full range speaker that gives you both the type of synthesized LF reproduction and the 'musical' quality you seem to be after.

Just an option to consider.

Elk's picture
Last seen: 1 year 11 months ago
Joined: Dec 26 2006 - 6:32am
Re: "...except for rap or electronica..."

Welcome to the forum!

A beautifully written, well-expressed post. I also happen to agree; there are only two kinds of music, good and bad.

I, too, have wondered what the writer would suggest as appropriate speakers for hip-hop, rock, etc. when they state the speakers under review are inappropriate for such music. This is indeed a difficult question when looking at speakers with at a reasonable price point.

Have you considered the Revel Concerta F12's? Full range, very nimble, full-range, $1,500.00

In a well-well treated room they may provide what you are seeking. And, with $1,500 left over, you could always supplement them with a good subwoofer if you like.

Monty's picture
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 16 2005 - 6:55pm
Re: "...except for rap or electronica..."

I'm a big fan of Dynaudio speakers for their general, all-around, works with damn near everything sort of virtues. I could easily live with them as my last pair of speakers.

I listen to all sorts of weird and audiophile disapproved stuff.

There is nothing more difficult than putting together a really nice music system when your tastes run from one extreme to the other. People who listen only to classical or only to jazz have a far better chance of being satisfied than someone who listens to Mahler, followed by an assortment of electronic music.

jackfish's picture
Last seen: 8 years 10 months ago
Joined: Dec 19 2005 - 2:42pm
Re: "...except for rap or electronica..."

Listen to the Vandersteen 2Ce Signature II and the Triangle Esprit Celius ESW.

Buddha's picture
Last seen: 10 years 9 months ago
Joined: Sep 8 2005 - 10:24am
Re: "...except for rap or electronica..."

This is becoming a GREAT thread.

Alex, I am enjoying your search almost as you must be! Thanks for keeping us in your info loop.

JDC, I think when you read those reviews they were actually making a comment about the bass characteristics of the speakers rather than making an aesthetic value judgement. Saying "...with the exception of rap and electronica..." they were probably implying that synthesized gobs of bass were a little beyond what the speaker could do with aplomb.

Nowadays, we have synthetic music signals that would not "occur in nature" at the frequency that they do in rap and electronica. You may also notice that reviews may say, "Not for lovers of pipe organ..." It's the same thing.

So, take that as a bass statement and give real consideration to the idea of the lower priced speakers plus good subs. I bet you'll get more bang for you buck that way.

As Alex mentioned, perhaps the speaker that comes closest to giving the bass you want may be the Legacy.

You may also wish to consider VMPS, who doesn't get as much press as it should but makes a good line of speakers...

As we always say, keep us in the loop, and best wishes!

jdm56's picture
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 5 2005 - 2:03am
Re: "...except for rap or electronica..."

I agree that your best option for truly full-range sound with excellent dynamics at the price you mention is to go with a nice $1500-ish pair of floorstanders and a good sub or two. In fact, I think this is almost always the best option at any price level, what with the plethora of good subs on the market now, thanks the poplarity of home theater. I think the Revel would be an excellent choice, along with the Bowers & Willins 604, the Energy RC-70, Klipsch RF-63 and Polk RTi-A9 to name a few. I'd even recommend my MoFi OML-2's, but at 84dB their sensitivity may be a bit low for you if you like to shake the rafters.

59mga's picture
Last seen: 3 years 8 months ago
Joined: Jun 21 2006 - 6:52am
Re: "...except for rap or electronica..."

You may also wish to consider VMPS, who doesn't get as much press as it should but makes a good line of speakers...


Your suggestion of the VMPS is a good one. I recently listened to the RM2 and the QSO 626 and both were most impressive.

Not being a fan of rap or electronica I don't know how low of a bass sound that JDC is after but I thought the RM2 bass to be way down there. A note that I should make: I heard these speakers via Pass Labs and Accuphase pre/power amps that were in the $4k-6k range (this dealer doesn't believe in integrated amps). Whether a less expensive set-up would bring out the full potential of the RM2's I don't know. Maybe someone else, more knowledgable than myself, could make some recommendation as to electronics for these speakers.

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