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Unspeakables — Worst Speakers You Ever Heard, And Why?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Cyclone Ranger, Apr 5, 2021.

  1. kt66brooklyn

    kt66brooklyn Senior Member

    brooklyn, ny
    How about this:

    The worst sounding speakers I ever heard were a pair of Klipsch K-Horns.


    The best sounding speakers I ever heard were a pair of Klipsch K-Horns.

    The first time I heard them was in a store demo. A small room powered with a high watt solid state integrated amp (Adcom, I think). Terrible!

    The second time was in a larger room and the early 50's vintage K-Horns were powered with a pair of McIntosh MC-30's. Much better!
    hi_watt, bobbradley, McLover and 5 others like this.
  2. Francois1968

    Francois1968 Forum Resident

    In terms of bad bad, awful to listen to, it must have been Bose speakers, but I'm not sure which model they were. When it comes to value for money I feel B&W speakers are pretty bad. I listened to several B&W speakers with high price tags in different systems and none of these speakers were able to convince me. To me those speakers sound dull, muffled, have a narrow sweet spot......as if all life is sucked out of it. Of course, it's relatively and in comparison to other loudspeakers.
    Glfrancis2 and Tim 2 like this.
  3. doctor fuse

    doctor fuse Forum Resident

    B&W DM302 bookshelves.

    OK, they are bottom of the rung for the brand. But they should never have been released on the free market.

    These loud little whiners are as bright and annoying as your sibling's know-it-all little sh!thead 8-year-old dufus.
    majorlance and Khorn like this.
  4. progrocker

    progrocker Forum Resident

    A pair of Cerwin's my friend would blast at his parties.
    Tim 2 and Cyclone Ranger like this.
  5. EdogawaRampo

    EdogawaRampo Senior Member

    I love the sound of vintage ARs, but amplification is a huge factor in getting them to sound good. They are very power inefficient. I just looked up the 4's -- 85 db. High watts / high current an absolute must.
    action pact and Khorn like this.
  6. McLover

    McLover Senior Member

    Athens, Tennessee
    Did you hear the B&W speakers with quality amplification and source components, placed right? I've heard the B&W 801, powered by Bryston monoblocks, with a vinyl playback source. Sounded really fine. Also, the UK Classical monitor speaker in the era.
    caracallac likes this.
  7. The Pinhead

    The Pinhead SUDACA ROÑOSO

    How about best sounding ones ?

    Altec Lansing (vintage with exponential horn tweeter)


  8. Tim 2


    Alberta Canada
    Worst by far were Bose 901's. Can't remember if I sold them or used them for firewood.
    BruceS likes this.
  9. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger New old stock Thread Starter

    Best Coast USA
    That would be a different thread. Let’s not confuse ppl. :(

    Tim 2 likes this.
  10. Jack

    Jack Swollen Member

    This sounded terrible. And I used to have to put a nickel on the tone arm.
    BruceS, majorlance and Tim 2 like this.
  11. You wouldn’t believe the insanity I went through with them. Funny thing is there were people lined up to by em when put up for sale it only took about 5 minutes.
    VinylSoul and Tim 2 like this.
  12. eflatminor

    eflatminor Forum Resident

    Stock speakers in a new BMW. Godawful.
    Tim 2, Helom and Diapason like this.
  13. Francois1968

    Francois1968 Forum Resident

    Yes, all top notch. If I had any doubts concerning those things I would not make such a statement.
  14. McLover

    McLover Senior Member

    Athens, Tennessee
    They did drunken fraternity parties and SenSurround very well.
  15. 16hz lover

    16hz lover Forum Resident

    Cornelius, NC
    Sundown Audio 3 inch full range dash speakers- harsh limited range bastards
  16. Tim 2


    Alberta Canada
    I wouldn't want to subject any music lover to there screeching, lol.
    Cyclone Ranger likes this.
  17. Way back in the beginning when they first came out a friend of mine had the first iteration. They were quite in efficient and he drove them with a Crown DC-300 or something like that. He swore by the sound although from what I understand he blasted them out from a hilltop in Bermuda. The later models grew progressively worse by leaps and bounds.
  18. The Pinhead

    The Pinhead SUDACA ROÑOSO

    Cyclone Ranger likes this.
  19. motorstereo

    motorstereo Forum Resident

    Peavey sp3's were the worst speakers I've actually brought home. Thankfully they were free as they weren't even worth that.
  20. Ctiger2

    Ctiger2 Forum Resident

    I use a restored pair of AR4x's as 1 of my daily drivers and you're correct about the boxed-in, wooly, dull sound they can produce using low power to drive them. However, if you use a high powered SS amp with tons of current then they open up and are pretty hard to beat. I've side/side compared the AR's with Harbeths and they sound nearly identical except the Harbeths have a more refined and pleasing hi-fi-ish sound to them. I actually prefer the more straightforward AR's sound but could live with either. But yes, without the proper power to drive them AR's are just terrible. A true jekyll/hyde speaker but a nice vintage tube pre mated with a nice 100W+ SS amp will make them sing.
    action pact likes this.

    TEA FOR ONE Listening to the world one note at a time

    How do you really feel? There's no need to sugar coat it.
  22. dividebytube

    dividebytube Forum Resident

    Grand Rapids, MI
    [QUOTE="I also have strong feelings about Quads, even going so far as owning a pair of 57s for a while to see if I could figure out what all the fuss was about. In fairness I grew to admire aspects of them, but as one of the guys at my local dealer put it: "they're a glimpse of heaven and a glimpse of hell".[/QUOTE]

    My friend has ESL-63s, back in 1990-ish, and he had the same problem. With the right material they were sublime, but with 80% of his record collection, they were too damn revealing.

    That, and the limited bass response, was his eventual reason for selling.
    Tim 2 and Diapason like this.
  23. Randoms

    Randoms Aerie Faerie Nonsense

    Speakers that did absolutely nothing for me (all other staff and people who heard them in three shops) were the Celestion SL600.
    These were used on the recommended stands, full of lead shot as recommended and tried on every power amp in the shops and a few others that were borrowed to try and replicate the holographic imaging and depth that some magazine reviews raved about. There wasn't much of the floor that wasn't used positioning them so they would reveal at least some of the dynamics and tuneful music as heard on several other speakers.

    I'm sure there are many worse sounding speakers available, but back around the mid-eighties, the Celestions caught my attention for reproducing music in the dullest manner in the shop.
  24. JakeMcD

    JakeMcD Forum Resident

    So Central FL
    Those 80's mid-fi Infinitys with the polypropylene drivers were truly heinous.
    nwdavis1 and Cyclone Ranger like this.
  25. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger New old stock Thread Starter

    Best Coast USA
    Amen. Wish I’d known beforehand.

    In a way, they weren’t truly ‘awful’ so much as they were crushingly and consistently mediocre (or a bit worse) in EVERY. single. aspect.

    It was kinda amazing... again, in a way.
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2021

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