While sensitive music lovers don’t advocate skinning felines, the audiophiles among them would readily admit that there’s more one way to “skin” a loudspeaker. In fact, there are innumerable ways, all based on the designer’s end goal. Is the aim to fill a stadium-sized listening room with music, or an intimate space where the listener sits mere feet away from the speakers and enjoys a near-field, immersive experience? Is reproducing the stentorian bass of a pipe organ the main objective, or is replicating the speed and percussive force of a jazz combo the order of the day? Is the crystalline clarity of a solo voice paramount, or is the full power of a Marshall stack just what the doctor ordered? Or does the designer go for it all?
Each loudspeaker design brief begins with the choice of transducers. Are they electro-dynamic or electrostatic, cone or planar, horn-loaded compression drivers, or another novel air-moving device? Enclosure size and construction have everything to do with performance, and price. Ultimately, no single speaker does it all, though some come remarkably close to checking all the boxes. There’s no substitute for listening, and if you like what you hear, no wrong choice, either. These three loudspeakers take wildly different approaches in the way they make music, and each is highly recommended.