What is your favorite speaker technology and why?

What is your favorite speaker technology and why?
Cone drivers
39% (36 votes)
Electrostatic drivers
34% (31 votes)
Horn drivers
4% (4 votes)
13% (12 votes)
A mix of drivers
10% (9 votes)
Total votes: 92

Recent reviews in <I>Stereophile</I> have highlighted a wide variety of loudspeaker design approaches. What is your favorite speaker technology and why?

John Blackwater's picture

The old Quad speakers I bought second-hand really opened my ears—great stage width and depth appeared as by magic.

audio-sleuth@comcast.net's picture

I've heard loudspeakers with every speaker technology there is. Some sounded bad, some great, and most sounded blah. It ain't what you got, it's how you use it.

Rich in Chicago's picture

I listen mostly to what I describe as "big" music—heavy, plodding, thud music (such as Black Sabbath and other metal bands) that requires lots of power and deep bottom-end. I've tried many styles of speaker, but cones seem the way to go for me.

Dismord's picture

Cone drivers, so long as the tweeter and midrange are of beryllium. If not, electrostatics.

Anonymous's picture

Acoustic Suspension (no port)

Pece's picture

Electrostatics: They sound natural in the midrange.

Larry E's picture

A very difficult question. I waver between electrostatic and cone drivers. The cones tend to be much more dynamic, yet the electrostatic drivers have more coherency. Today I go for the dynamic, tomorrow who knows?

J Hamill's picture

Hearing Jim Thiel's explanation that every flaw of cone drivers can be overcome, while the limitations of electrostatic and horn drivers will always exist, is as convincing as listening to his speakers.

WSE3's picture

Cone: A certain speaker manufacturer in nearby Lexington, KY is the reason why!

Hugh Duggan's picture

Clarity & depth.

KRB's picture

Everything has a sound and color to it—my ears prefer magnetic planar speakers, specifically Magnepans.

steve mc queen's picture

Anything Adam Audio uses.

Jen's picture

Cone drivers are my favorite.

rwp's picture

I like to feel the air moving the way it does at a concert.

mike's picture

Planar, ribbon, or electrostatic. Everything else sounds like the box, or whatever mounting device the drivers are installed in.

Doug Hansen's picture

Simpler is always better.

Fred's picture

Recent Tractrix Horn designs have just about eliminated any residual coloration, deliver very low distortion, and are very tube-friendly. You must hear true horn-loaded bass to appreciate what horns can deliver in the lower ranges—where direct radiators and cones have the highest distortion.

Bubba in SF's picture

Planars with ribbons and a fast subwoofer. Why? Duh!

Ivan Rivera's picture

It's simple and it works.

conehead's picture

While I have heard other kinds of speaker designs that seem to put out a decent sound, for me a good cone set-up generally works best.

Jeff Bobeck's picture

Magneplanar plus ribbons. How could you forget Magnepan?

PePe~'s picture

Bending-wave transducer plasma speakers. Because they are fast.

Transparent Sound Lover's picture

Adam Audio Tensor Speakers with XART drivers.

Jay Haider's picture

For me, above the subwoofer range there're only two choices: a 10-12" Tannoy Dual Concentric or a 10-15" woofer with a large wave-guide on top. I regret not buying JGH's old Tannoy 10 DMT IIs when they were on Audiogon, because there's just so little that the Dual Concentric does wrong. For bass drivers, I prefer drivers with stiff cones, push-pull spiders, and long-throw, underhung motors for high Bl and suspension linearity over stroke. Aurasound, with their "Neo Radial Transducer" motor, does these drivers best, which is why firms such as McIntosh use them.

mike eschman's picture

Clarity in the voicing.

David Laloum's picture

Micro detail—play it soft and everything is still there late at night. Within the limits of loudness I am interested in (non-hearing-damaging levels), few other speaker types get close. However, space constraints forced me to replace my Quad 989/63 surround set-up with Gallo Ref—great speakers but the stats were/are better

D.A.B., Pacific Palisades, CA.'s picture

The cones have it. Seems like everything else can be classified as quasi-experimental (and ridiculously overpriced).

Keijo Pierula's picture

Price, size, and lots of implementations available—and some of them actually sound rather good, especially the full-range units made of cellulose.

rvance's picture

Quad ESL '57s, set up by Mike Moffat in 1975, were the speaker epiphany that opened my ears to what was possible in audio reproduction.

Bans's picture

The Manger transducer is the best in my opinion.