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blakey72

End game speakers. How is it done? What reasons?

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This has been thrashed a bit I know but I need to know. This sickness is wearing me down and I fear there's no end in sight! Seriously though, I was watching a few uTube vids about people that think they have the speakers that they can happily live with. One guy just passed on his end game speakers which he bought in 1946 (Tannoy I think). That's a long time to be happy with one speaker and it got me thinking. 

 

I currently have four systems throughout the house and a headphone setup. I use them for different styles of music and this is because I find different speakers tend to suit different genre's. I'm wondering is there a speaker that does everything right, or close to it. Is that the reason you would settle on an end game speaker? So you can just throw anything on and it will sound sublime? 

 

And choosing that speaker, surely there's an easier way than going through 100 different speakers before you find the right one. It is fun and all, and one of the major reasons we do this hobby - discovery, evaluation, new toys, friendly courier man :) But it does end up costing a lot and what happens when you just want something you're happy with? Is there no short cut/4wd track to this hobby, like 'in general there's a fair chance you'll love X speaker with Y amp and Z cd/streamer/turntable'? 

 

I know other factors obviously influence how the speaker sounds which can sometimes be controlled/changed and sometimes not. Should that influence your end game purchase? What if the poor old Tannoy owner moved 10 times in those years, did he just improvise in bad conditions.....

 

I think I like the idea of still changing up different gear being the curious type, but I'd also like to have end game speakers/amp/source sitting in the lounge not having to be moved or changed. Something to sit back and listen to after a day's work or playing with other systems, and feeling like 'ahh that's it, that's the sound'. I guess not everyone in this hobby is in it for the same reasons as well. Some maybe here for the joy of the journey, some may just  want something really good to enhance their love of music. 

 

So I guess I've just thrown out some of my thoughts towards a bunch of questions or ideas to do with speaker satisfaction, why or how are you chasing it, how did you get there (if you did) and  do you think your discovery would fit others? Any thoughts on anything I have bought up would be good or along these lines. I think those new to the hobby would appreciate your thoughts (and I certainly would too). 

 

Cheers

Blake.

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I'll add this too. I'm pretty happy with all my speakers at present. For quite a while I thought my PMC's were close to contentment however I think my taste in sound has changed over the journey, I've gone from wanting great detail, speed, punch and excitement to maybe a more refined laid back wanting. Not that I don't like the excitement, I just think too much can be just that. Now that throws another spanner in the works. What if your tastes in sound change? Damn.... I see no end 😬

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I have my end gamers in my main system But system two and three may get some changes. I’m 100% DIY in three systems so speakers, amps etc are relatively cheap for me. 

 

My end  gamers in system one are; refurbished Altec 511B horns with Italian Faital Pro drivers on 12” Woofers. I move my other DIY speakers in and out of system one for a week or more but know I’m the absolute happiest with the horns combo. Never to change. 

 

A friend bought some Harbath 30.2s and decided these are never to go. I agree with him they are exceptional speakers at a near affordable price. But in this game most members (I believe) are churners. They just like to keep churning through the gear. Different strokes for different blokes. 

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I have had mine since 1996.

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I had my previous "end game" speakers I built myself for 23 years. Things changed in that time - drivers evolved, technology moved forward, new passive components became available, and I started all over again and have a new set of end game speakers that will last me a long time, but not forever. There is, of course, no perfect end game speakers for everything. The fact that manufactured speakers that cost over $100k are all wildly different in design and approaches and still have their own voicing and style should tell you it's impossible to make a perfect speaker for everyone and everything. One of the reasons is that recordings are not a perfect encapsulation of real music, and all hi-fi is about the artifice of creating what sounds real based on recordings, in the confines of a normal listening room. This means there is no correct way to do it, either.

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3 minutes ago, mwhouston said:

But in this game most members (I believe) are churners. They just like to keep churning through the gear. Different strokes for different blokes. 

Well said Mark. Most people here are churners of all components, and it can be addictive chasing the next upgrade. It takes effort to stop the urge to upgrade and better still simplify the setup.

 

To answer OP's question, I will cheekily answer with "look in the mirror".  Only you can decide if and when you have reached the end game. And only when you want to...

 

 

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I think I'm going to listen to something like the Tannoy Arden's, Klipsch Forte III or something JBL. These older companies must have something right.. 

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Man alive my end game speakers were at least 3 end game speakers back....!!

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I'm not "Old" but I also have "End game" in mind. Why? Because I'm tired of buying/selling stuff which is a wasteful exercise. I'm also at that stage where I can pretty much afford to get whatever I can justify is worth the spend, with all of other of life's priorities of course. 

 

To that end I recently went 'all out' and spent $30k on a pre/power amp combo that will provide me everything I need in that space. 450wpc solid state power and tube-preamp, and the sound is gorgeous. I also bought a really great record player that I can't see I'll ever need to replace.  Now I just need to feed it top-notch cartridges every few years.

 

The strategy of going all-out (more than I thought I'd EVER spend on an amp) was a good idea as I now no longer feel the need to hunt for that next amp. That $30k setup probably saved me a fortune in the long run.

 

I see speakers the same way, and interestingly enough I'm also in the hunt right now for my 'end game' speakers.

 

For me this means something that both sounds gorgeous and is also aesthetically pleasing.  I can't buy a beautiful sounding speaker that doesn't look good and vice versa.  When I make my selection it will be on those criteria - price be damned.  Front runners at this stage are the Sonus Faber Heritage Amatis although I also do like the Golden Ear Reference speakers. Both sound great but the Amati's are absolutely drop dead gorgeous and will give me the same pride of ownership that my McIntosh amp does.

 

I think the End-Game strategy is a really good one, but I also think you need to be at a stage in your audio life where you are ready for it, and can afford it.  It takes trial and error to know where your true preferences are - and it takes a bit of fortitude to go out and drop 'end game' money.

 

People often say expensive hifi is a waste. What I would argue however, is that by spending $50k on an end-game setup is far cheaper in the long run than buying a new sports car every few years, or expensive overseas holidays and for many it brings just as much joy - so live and let live I say. A man without passion or commitment is a sad thing to see.

 

At least the dude with a kick ass hifi setup has something to show for it, unlike the dude who buys a new BMW every few years.

Edited by TDK

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I like a good sized soundstage that is well focused and has presence. I like to look around the soundstage while my feet are tapping.  Dont care about colouration. After being in the industry for 37 odd years, I'm pretty sure I've found what I want. Might add a decent (Low distortion) sub at a later date. Other then that, with speakers, I'm done.

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4 minutes ago, TDK said:

I think the End-Game strategy is a really good one, but I also think you need to be at a stage in your audio life where you are ready for it, and can afford it.  It takes trial and error to know where your true preferences are - and it takes a bit of fortitude to go out and drop 'end game' money.

Agree with the part about being ready for it and it does take trial and error (and losing $) to know the sound you want.  But it does not necessarily mean end game money, $$$$$. Otherwise, most of us will never get there because we have limits on what we are prepared to spend. Many end game systems are not necessarily the most expensive.

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4 minutes ago, Snoopy8 said:

Agree with the part about being ready for it and it does take trial and error (and losing $) to know the sound you want.  But it does not necessarily mean end game money, $$$$$. Otherwise, most of us will never get there because we have limits on what we are prepared to spend. Many end game systems are not necessarily the most expensive.

 

I guess my point was that in order to get that end-game setup, you need to both know your preferences (to thine own self be true), and if required you need to drop the bank that it takes to get there.

 

I completely agree it doesn't necessarily mean monster $$$, but sadly more than not it does -particularly for those who have the need to constantly 'upgrade' - the "end game" approach fixes that.

 

Money is also relative, many hard-core enthusiasts would laugh at the 'paltry' amount I've spent, and others people would say - and have said - than spending $3,500 on a stylus is madness.

 

I see value in a $50k watch but a $70/month Foxtel subscription is a complete waste of money 🤪

 

My amp cost twice what my car cost me, and I think I paid too much for my car LOL.

 

 

Edited by TDK

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11 minutes ago, Snoopy8 said:

Agree with the part about being ready for it and it does take trial and error (and losing $) to know the sound you want.  But it does not necessarily mean end game money, $$$$$. Otherwise, most of us will never get there because we have limits on what we are prepared to spend. Many end game systems are not necessarily the most expensive.

Yes. My system put me back just over 5K.

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2 minutes ago, TDK said:

My amp cost twice what my car cost me, and I think I paid too much for my car LOL.

Now there's a man with his priorities in order! I don't know about your buying order though. Shouldn't you have chosen your speakers first haha 🤪

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I like and agree with Harbeth's Alan Shaw's take on this topic, I thankfully realized the same thing nearly a decade ago when I got my SHL5's

Being a guitarist, it was when I could easily recognize what model acoustic guitar was being used on any particular song, and what type and gauge of strings it was strung with, that was the Eureka moment for me, the tonality was impeccable.

See from 3.40 of the video below, I found it quite funny actually as it's so true from a lot of posts you read on forums.

 

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Just now, blakey72 said:

Now there's a man with his priorities in order! I don't know about your buying order though. Shouldn't you have chosen your speakers first haha 🤪

 

I cannot debate the wisdom of this, however as is always the case - my setup has morphed over the years and my speakers are now the only part of the setup that I'm not entirely 'done' with!

 

 

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