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Author Topic: What is the best speaker/sub/amp?  (Read 35236 times)
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DS
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« on: 07/04/05 02:29 PM »

Simple answer: There is no one best.

Despite what people on this and practically any other audio forum out there say, there is no one best-in-the-world coax, component set, subwoofer or amplifier. Some will say that JL is the best, some jump the Rockford and Kicker bandwagons, and you'll have fanboys out there for practically any brand that you can think of from Alphasonic to Zapco. Some of these people are blind followers that believe anything that they are told by marketers, some believe that whatever they happen to own is the best, some will tell you that a certain brand is the best because that brand sponsors them and so on, but none of them can scientifically prove that their reasoning this fact rather than mere opinion.

Full Range Speakers

When it comes to full range speakers, ie coaxes and component sets, you'll find everything from $10 sets that you've never heard of to sets in the thousands that ship in pretty wooden crates. What makes any of these better than the rest? It comes down to build quality, materials, engineering, research and innovation. People will describe the sound of speakers with just about any descriptor that you can imagine from the usual "warm", "bright", and "harsh" to the more unique "silky", "wet", "alive" and other terms that make you wonder how hard they had to think to come up with that term to describe a speaker's sound quality.

What really matters is how the speaker sounds to you! If you take people's word for everything in life you'll miss out on one of the main points of living. Go listen to speakers in your local shops and stores. Sure, they'll sound different when you put them into a car, but at least you can get some idea of what you're looking for. Any shop worth its mettle will have a demo car on hand for you to listen to or a customer's car that may be listenable. If you want to take things to the next level, check out local car shows or IASCA or USAC shows, or for you Europeans EMMA shows and you'll find plenty of people that'll gladly let you hear their cars. This will give you a reference of what speakers that are properly installed can sound like, as the install is more important than the speakers themselves.

What sounds good to your ears will be unique to you and what you deem as "good" sound quality. Obviously a person who listens to nothing but rap will have a totally different definition of "good" sound than a person who loves his heavy metal or Mozart. Also important: Your hearing. An adult male typically can't hear above 16000hz, and depending upon life experiences may have significant hearing damage. Therefore if you and a friend listen to the same car and music, you're likely to have totally different impressions of its sound quality. If you're looking for realism and a sound quality system, you need a good reference, and live, non-amplified music is the best that you can get. I'll guarantee that if you go and sit at a jazz club one night and really listen to the music you'll have a new impression of what music should sound like.

Subs

If it weren't for subwoofer debates, 50% of the car audio posts on the web wouldn't exist. People argue about subs like cats and dogs fighting. Much of the above material applies to subwoofers, from the engineering and build being of importance to the guys with blind brand loyalty spouting off their mouths. I can say this about subwoofers: The install is more important than the subwoofer itself. You can take a subwoofer and place it into different enclosures and  you'll hear totally different characteristics in the output. A sub system (box+sub+amp) can be optimized for sound quality, sheer output or just about anything in between. There is no one best enclosure or one best sub, plain and simple.

Amplifiers

Yet another source of pure stupidity here. I've had people tell me that their amp was the best in the world for reasons beyond my comprehension in some cases. People on forums will go on and on and on about how the sound quality of their amps really makes their system have a "warm" sound, others will create more unusual qualities that their amps somehow create.

The fact of the matter is that an amplifier is meant to be nothing more than a straight wire with gain. It takes its input and increases its magnitude, both the input and output should have the same waveform. If an amp is adding some magical properties to your sound, it's not doing its defined job.

Buy an amp that has a reputation for being well built and is reputable, and most importantly, fits your needs as far as output power and size are concerned. There are dozens of amps ranging from dirt cheap swapmeet amps to mid priced pieces up to amps in the thousands that will fit the bill, but always remember that you usually get what you pay for when it comes to amps. If you buy that $50 amp that has "5000Watts Max Power" proudly emblazoned across the top of its heatsink, don't expect it to make that much power, or any at all if you're really unlucky.



This is all just my opinion and what I tell people that I talk to in person that ask me audio questions, so your thoughts on these subjects will of course vary, and that's fine. If they do, post what you're thinking!  Grin
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Yakmar
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« Reply #1 on: 07/04/05 02:42 PM »

Great info, DS!! THanks!!  thumbs_up
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« Reply #2 on: 07/05/05 06:39 AM »

this should be tacked
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HeavyD
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« Reply #3 on: 07/05/05 08:04 AM »

Damn DS your the man I'll drink to that you hit the nail on the head, I'm glad you brought this up like you said about the Amp, I always thought a watt was a watt, LOL, right now I have Infinity on my doors I love the way they sound, someone will tell me Infinity is garbage they are to bright (I never found the damn flashlight inside the speaker after I heard that), but for my Salsa and Regaeton, I think they sound great and no I'm not saying they are the best in the world but I happen to feel comfortable with them and really like them.
Amen
your my hero  Grin
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« Reply #4 on: 07/14/05 04:06 PM »

Very good points DS,  I have friends who have "10,000" watt amps and two "5,000" watt subs, and "custom enclosure" and they sound like crap. 
Do you think a $1000 would buy me a solid system that would fit the AV?  The factory sub is pretty weak.
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DS
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« Reply #5 on: 07/14/05 08:02 PM »

I don't see why it wouldn't buy you a solid system, maybe I need to do a "$1000 upgrade" post.  idea
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hec54
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« Reply #6 on: 07/14/05 08:10 PM »

TTT alot of people need to read this
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HeavyD
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« Reply #7 on: 07/14/05 08:30 PM »

Yup, I'll drink to that, these are your post that should count, when you make a contribution like DS made.
« Last Edit: 07/14/05 10:59 PM by HeavyD » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: 07/18/05 12:19 PM »

I work at a stereo shop and I think thats the number one question....WHATS THE BEST SUB.....AMP.....HEADUNIT....BLAH BLAH BLAH. I could do a blind test on 99.9% of the people who are hardcore "brand fans" they will never know what brand speaker is playing. Now if they could see what is playing they will pick the brand they like. People hear what they want to hear. I sell everything form Jl Audio, Mtx, Alpine, down to Power Acoistik. If the customer has a tight budget but still wants a amp to push 4-12's then I will sell them a power acoustik 1900w for $299. Sure its not 1900w but it still pushes as hard as a JL500 for 2/3 the price. Now if the budget is more flexible or amp mounting space is a issue then for $500 you can get a compact JL500. There is a different BEST product for every customer.
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« Reply #9 on: 07/18/05 12:32 PM »

Just anoteher story about the "old school loyalist" I has this guy maybe 30-35 come in with a Punch 45! That thing belongs in a museum. He said that he wanted it installed in his new truck. Well if you remember back in the day.....old school amps didnt have crosovers or bass boost features. I told the guy that by time he baught a crossover extra set of rca's and installation that he would be spending close to what a new entry level am cost. Well this "idiot" go on to tell me how I couldnt give him one of the newer JUNK amps that they make these days and that his punch 45 use to slam his pair of 15's louder than any car is today...........This guy must have a very bad memory. So I offered to hook it up on the display board and let him A/B it. You know what happed when it was hooked up. He swears that I rigged something. It wouldnt push the 8" W0 Jl's muchless the pair of 12's he wanted. After going through all the trouble hooking up his amp he still didnt buy anything. Some people are stupid.
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« Reply #10 on: 07/18/05 01:48 PM »

First of all welcome to the club CD.
You rigger don't you know the customer is always right, rigging the customers amp. LOL Grin
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« Reply #11 on: 08/20/05 11:23 PM »

For the past ten years, I've been using PPI, boston acoustics and jl audio.  I know these are older technology but they sound right and I get a good price for them so I stick to them.
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« Reply #12 on: 08/31/05 06:20 AM »

I am a big fan of Elemental Designs (http://edesignaudio.com).  They make great speakers and amps and offer a 3 year transferrable warranty.  Not many companies can touch that.
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« Reply #13 on: 09/27/05 12:54 PM »

Great post DS.  I've always said anything is better than stock. 
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« Reply #14 on: 10/07/05 04:55 AM »

Once again DS hits the spot!! great info,I have eight 260 watt pioneers in my doors and two 200 watt power acoustic subs, what would you recommend to power these components
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« Reply #15 on: 11/02/05 04:33 PM »

I don't see why it wouldn't buy you a solid system, maybe I need to do a "$1000 upgrade" post.   

 This sounds like a winner did you ever do it.
thanks Bob
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« Reply #16 on: 11/28/05 08:19 PM »

www.precisionpower.com  I'm not saying anymore.  true, there is other stuff out there, but I like these.
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« Reply #17 on: 12/01/05 12:55 PM »

Has anyone seen this? The Most Powerful Subwoofer in the World!

It's very pricey (nearly $13,000) but, if that's what you want.
(I don't have the funds to mess with audio upgrades at all. I just wanted to share.)



"... different versions are rumored: a car version and a smaller one for use in traditional subwoofer enclosures."

"The big fan--er, sub--with a blade diameter I'd estimate at 17-inches was operational, and clearly produced audible, high level output to at least 17Hz. Below that its action was more obvious in the way it shook everything in the rooms and, below 10Hz, caused the rooms' walls to literally flutter back and forth like a sheet in the wind. Scary, but impressive."

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« Reply #18 on: 12/01/05 06:23 PM »

Has anyone seen this? The Most Powerful Subwoofer in the World!

It's very pricey (nearly $13,000) but, if that's what you want.
(I don't have the funds to mess with audio upgrades at all. I just wanted to share.)



"... different versions are rumored: a car version and a smaller one for use in traditional subwoofer enclosures."

"The big fan--er, sub--with a blade diameter I'd estimate at 17-inches was operational, and clearly produced audible, high level output to at least 17Hz. Below that its action was more obvious in the way it shook everything in the rooms and, below 10Hz, caused the rooms' walls to literally flutter back and forth like a sheet in the wind. Scary, but impressive."




is this for real?
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FUTURE MODDS: Subwoofer, Escalade Platinum Cluster, Chrome Interior Door Handles...
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« Reply #19 on: 12/02/05 06:57 AM »

Apparently.

Here's their site Eminent-Tech, when at their site click on rotary Woofer.

Or Google "eminent tech" or "eminent tech trw 17" there are lots of articles and reviews.
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DS
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« Reply #20 on: 12/12/05 03:05 PM »

Yeah, it's for real, but it's not an original idea. Sound Physics Lab innovated this idea of using a motor driven "cone" to move air rather than a magnetic motor assembly like conventional woofers. Check out Servodrive for more info. A company named TWD Audio had built a version of the Basstech cabinets for car audio use but had problems with cones ripping to shreds. Once the cone problems were fixed, belt issues came into play and finally the founder decided to head back into the sound reinforcement consulting business. Phoenix Gold also marketed a couple versions of these woofers in the eary 90's that were built by Servodrive for them and they had issues as well. You can, from time to time, find a PG Cyclone subwoofer, which uses a servo motor such as this one and a vane in a cylinder which is connected to the motor. It was revolutionary for its time but did not handle being pushed beyond its limits well at all and was quite noisy.
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« Reply #21 on: 02/01/06 12:55 PM »

You have to get what you think sounds best. It is a to "each his own" thing. With that said, definitely buy a good quality brand that YOU think sounds best. It is your music and your ears.
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« Reply #22 on: 04/04/06 08:30 AM »

As said, it's really what that person wants. What they listen to.

Best is really all ones choice.

I personally am an SQ person, don't like SPL that much.

A desired set up for me or I would sell to someone with a nice cash flow..

Addzest HX-D1 for the head

Dynaudio System 340/360

amps, this is where you can vary.. adcom, ppi art, genesis, brax, mcintosh, audison.

Subs, I still have a set in the box I will use personaly ss10r's "velvet hammers"

What I'd sell in today's world... a/d/s/, RE, Boston, MBQ

Electronics, mostly audio control, and The C.A.P.

Wire is pretty much wire as long as its oxygen free. but stinger.

RCA - Stinger.

and about $500 of misc things usually find there way in.

Again this is all just me.. most people dont know what to look for when looking into equipment. In complete boredom I'll go to best Buy just to see what the kids think is good. Then teach them about the specs, which ones matter and which ones dont. Watts! Newest think I learned is that an Alpine digital amp (though not true digital) is worse than a Jensen amp. Guess THD is an after thought?

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DS
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« Reply #23 on: 04/06/06 08:20 PM »

Why the Addzest D1 rather than its domestic brother the 9255, just out of curiosity?

As for the Alpine vs the Jensen, I'd bet that the Alpine is far superior in its parts usage, build quality and output. Keep in mind that while the a thd % of .002 is far superior to a thd spec of .02, you can't hear the difference in them despite the huge numerical jump in the spec. If this was the case, the Soundstream 10's you mentioned that had a huge following in their time would produce far more distortion than many of todays high excursion SQL subs using technologies like XBL2 to increase their output and their clarity.  Grin
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« Reply #24 on: 04/07/06 08:51 AM »

9255 doenst support HDCD or least I didnt think it did. Also d1 now has a brother d2.. Little pricy though and harder to get ahold.

THD comment was really only to warrent not many people at retail stores really know what it stands for. as for the ss10r's them being never used and hearing them in correct applications before I thought of them very highly. for now they are taking up test bench space in the box.... gotta figure out what car to put them in..
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