To Jeff Fritz,
I really enjoy reading your articles about the best speakers in the world, even though hardly anybody who is really interested in the ultimate will ever be able to afford any of the equipment you write about. For that reason, I have long turned to building my own speakers to get near that elusive live quality. However, not being able to afford any of the top manufacturers’ equipment has not kept me from enjoying this hobby of ours. I have, for example, visited quite a few of the last installments of the Munich High End [show]. I play the drums myself, and I regularly visit live orchestral performances in our beautiful concert hall in Eindhoven. When I do, I prefer to sit above the orchestra, as that is the way such performances are recorded. Having said all this I must tell you that I feel that all the brands you prefer don’t even come close to a live performance. The reason for this, I feel, is that they all energize the room completely differently than do live instruments.
Most live instruments “throw” their sound more upward and in all directions than exclusively to the front, as do all of the superspeakers you seem to prefer. To me, the only speakers that remind me of attending a live concert of (unamplified) live music are the MBL 101 X-tremes. They come really close to live in terms of real dynamics, a feeling of being able to reach out and touch the instruments, and a feeling of space that is so typical of live music. Their only flaw, I feel, is that sometimes you still hear a bit of a metallic coloration. Then again, that is also what you hear live sometimes, and this coloration may also be attributable to the equipment driving the speakers or the recording process. Please keep up the good work.
Nico van der Sande