Does Technology Trump Quality?

Would you select:

A) Two speakers with radically different technology (i.e. dynamic, horn, panel) at a perceived 85% performance level.


B) One speaker with a perceived 100% performance level.

Assume: The speakers in example A are half the price of the speaker in example B. All speakers represent excellent build quality and sonic performance relative to price point. No hybrids involved.

In other words, for you does Technology trump Quality, or Quality trump Technology?
Sorry,but I really have no idea what you are trying to say in your analogy of the speakers.I can,however, answer the question.For me,a quality sound will always win out.IMHO,technology is useless if it doesn't produce good sound.
Uh... I think I get it, but the initial response works for me.

I'm all about owning things which have great builds, technology and esthetics. BUT...

If a thing or even several things fall into the budgetary constraints, the one (s) which provide the biggest grin factor, toe tapping, and knee bobbing usually win.

I'm just buying them, not disecting them. how many space age bit and pieces inside of them matters not to me. In fact I could care less. Well, within reason of course.

It truly is given the electrical needs of the spakers are being met, it's their size, look and sound.

Numbers only serve to get them onto or off of one's own short list of viable speaker candidates.

Naturally, that's just my two cents worth.. Maybe some folks work all this out on a slide rule or PC of sorts these days, but i'd bet a lot that in spite of all the integers being sliced and diced about in the developmental stages of speaker erection, size, looks, and sound, are the determiners... well... and price too... even for the builder. Or should I say especially for the designer.
You will never regret buying quality. Fads come and go as far as design, construction and technology. There are many great speakers that have been built in the last 30 yrs that are still very relevent today. Many would compete and perhaps excel compared with todays so called newer technology. Speakers last a long long time when treated properly. Buy based upon what your ears tell you. Listen to as many as possible with your gear. Buy the speakers you want now (don't skimp) and enjoy them for as long as you can. Good luck in your search!
Excellent thoughts, and I concur with you all on the principle of "buy quality"! That is why this question is such a conundrum!

I am not setting aside the principle that quality is the ultimate goal. I pursued wholeheartedly the "maximum sound" I could afford in one speaker for many years. The problem was that no matter what the "best" speaker I could afford, it did not have the means to satisfy all my desires! I longed to hear speakers of differing technology, hence differing sound which is an issue beyond quality. It was the inability of one speaker to meet all these desires to hear radically different presentations which prompted me to struggle with the question I have posed.

I would suggest there are some audiophiles like me, who sought out the best quality, but found out that it was insufficient to satisfy them. The reason, I feel, is that there was an inherent desire to hear a wider variety of presentations of the music. Without that desire being met it doesn't matter how good the solitary speaker is.

I hope this clarifies the discussion point. I'm not trying to force all audiophiles into this principle, but for me I need to have a wider palate of sound than just one speaker can generate. Obviously, when one is buying two versus one speakers the ultimate price/quality likely will be influenced, but that is where for me the "game" of getting ultimate performance from one's dollar is taken to a higher level. After living with excellent sound one certainly is not going to settle for anything less. The other option is to pony up more to "invest" into the rig to obtain the same level of excellence when one speaker was used.

Tom, I'm not currently searching for any speaker. Thankfully! Actually, I'm at the end of about a three year search for two very differing high quality speakers at my price point. It was in part this search and my experiences which prompted this discussion point.

What I have set up in my question is a seemingly "no win" situation, one which I found myself in, and had to answer. :)
I really don't get the point of the question other then question of weather your an audio nut or gadget geek.

I myself could not care less about the implementation in comparison to results achieved. But the comparison made here also makes little sense as the cost differential is so great.

But for arguments sake, I'll try to validate the argument with the following comparison.

DeVore Fidelity Gibbon 9 or Paradigm Studio 100 v.5

The DeVore is minute in stature compared to the Studio and from a technological standpoint appears to have less development. The DeVore on the other hand has strong praise for its sound quality and appears to a quality over technological quantity product as compared to the Paradigm.

But you would be incredibly foolish to think that technology and quality is not synonymous. Revel Studio 2 or Salon 2 are a technological tour de force with excellent quality. While Sonus Faber lines achieve a significant level of their performance on the basis of excellent quality and technologically, but somewhat less as compared to the Revel.

As for more technology based designs. The Gallo 3.1 comes to mind as and interesting example. The CDT tweeter is phenomenally wide in dispersion but I can say that the integration of the range of drivers in the speaker is not perfect. You can certainly consider it a technological compromise.
I longed to hear speakers of differing technology, hence differing sound which is an issue beyond quality. It was the inability of one speaker to meet all these desires to hear radically different presentations which prompted me to struggle with the question I have posed.
Doug, I think I see what you are getting at, but I would not express it in terms of whether technology trumps quality or vice versa. If I understand correctly, you are saying that all speakers within your price range have shortcomings that are significant to you (and that's probably true in any price range), and so the question is should you get two sets of lesser speakers whose limitations will be complementary, or should you get one set of better speakers and accept its limitations in the interests of better overall sound.

For most people I would think that having two sets of speakers to be used in their main system is a non-starter, due to physical practicalities. And I think most people who could manage both alternatives would go for the single set of better speakers.

But I have another idea. Buy a single set of speakers that are as good as possible for all around use, and a good pair of headphones that are based on the desired alternate technology. For instance, dynamic speakers and electrostatic headphones (such as the Stax's). That obviously won't be the solution for everyone, but it has worked nicely for me!

Happy 2010!

-- Al

I'm not sure what your asking, but, I'll give it a go. It depends. Some classic cars, watches etc., have much better build quality but don't perform as well as more modern less well built versions. On the other hand some modern versions with more recent technology might not perform quite as good, but come at much more affordable (by current standards) prices. Again, it depends, each comparison is different.

I too like different technologies and have heard very good examples of several types. I currently have a pair of large dynamic speakers, the NSR Sonata D3's in my large room powered by the Wyred4Sound STI-500 Class D integrated amp. In my smaller room I have a pair of Magneplanar speakers powered by a VTL ST-85 amp that I'm currently enjoying in its triode mode (killer on vocals). My feeling is that one must try to match the speaker/amp to the room.

One of my audio friends has a nice pair of Quad 57's with Marantz 8B amp and is putting together a JBL Hartsfield for a mono, corner-horn system. I can't wait to hear it!
If it sounds good, I could care less about the tech. I enjoy reading and learning about the technical part, but that is just the icing on the cake.
I hadnt done any serious listening for awhile.5.1? gotta be better then 2.1.Technology is changing so fast.went and got the newest.Then my vios tech when high speed came to the neighbor hood told me about audio-gon.Quality is always a given. But the path for the signal is virtually the any cd units and there is not much difference in the parts.No mystery's.A pair of Kg4s with supra speaker cables with axiom passive pre.put a end to that question. expensive & never ending pull. so the answer is You can have both.having the crossover fixed.have a pair of Manchester(???)that look like a barn find,but when listening to "BE THERE"(usher demo cd)WOW Incredible sound from these speakers.Let your ears be the judge if the new technology means squat.Good luck
For most mortals, I recommend the best (quality) speakers. Money constraints need to be considered (for most mortals).
I am finally "there" although I know that my speakers/system don't do everything well, that is, reproduce every genre/recording as if the performers are in my room breathing and living and playing and singing. But, with most of the LPs and CDs I spin, I get tremendous enjoyment and the passion for our wonderful hobby endures. That's the "quality" I am after and what I recommend to all aspiring audiophiles.
The music turns me on. I've reached the horizon and I'm happy to look out at the other horizons, but I am finished with the pursuit. Just enjoying the view.
I have some audio friends who think they will have it all- great acoustic music, rock, classical. They are manic in their praises, then fall to pieces when choral voices are not reproduced, or the bassoon sounds like it is in a different room. Ain't gonna happen, unless you are one of the $gods who can reach every horizon.
Or, a good marketing agency. All they have to do is convince you.
Five or six years ago I found a speaker that lets me listen to music without listening to the speaker. I wish I would have realized that back then, instead I have spent the last five years trying to best them. Monitors, planars, hybrids, horns, even active speakers have been in my room but I keep going back to the music.
Right now, and for the first time in years, I don't have any speakers in the closet. Wish I could keep it that way but I'm a realist and know this satisfaction is only temporary. One thing for sure though, I'll not let these gems out of my house.
Keep looking Doug. Maybe I'll get a good deal from on one of your castaways. :)
Have never heard of this being done, and it has some built in limitations based on both price and sound.
But if you really can't decide between two speakers why not try for an in home demo using one of each and hear how that works. It would give you the tech you are looking for, though only on one speaker and vice versa.
May have some problems with the amp depending on draw, though monoblocks might make that minimal to none existent.
If it worked you could have your tech and quality too.
If it doesn't work, quality, nothing else lasts or allows one to wait for something better with so much more ease.
Hypotheticals, eh? Well, let's establish some numbers. It's no secret that some with a passion for live music and also for high-end audio freely claim that we're lucky if even our very best state-of-the-art (sota) systems can capture at most 15% of the so-called magic of the live performance. Some think even that low number is too optimistic but I think it's relatively accurate.

For argument's sake, let's assume we've established that you can only hope to obtain at most 15% maximum of the magic or believability of the live performance.

Next, you say that speaker A offers 85% of the performance of speaker B and speaker A also costs exactly half the price of speaker B which offers 100% of the performance.

Gimme a minute.... {click, click, tap, click, tap, cha-ching, click, tap, click, cha-ching, cha-ching}

Got it!!! Assuming a price of $10,000 for speaker B, speaker B will ensure you can obtain up to 100% of the 15% of the believability of the live performance.

Speaker A, on the other hand, will ensure you can obtain up to 85% of the 15% or 12.75% of the believability of the live performance and you would also save $5,000.

In other words, either way you're starving for believability in your music presentation.

If we're talking USD, then I'd suggest going for broke with speaker B, but if we're talking giving up gold, silver, or other precious metals, then I'd definitely suggest going with speaker A as you'll hardly notice an audible difference between 15% and 12.75% of the believability.

Also, if per chance your system is less than today's sota performance levels, then you should hear an even less audible difference between speaker A and speaker B.

Given product choices that match your system well, I agree with Bill - even more so for upstream electronics.