My hifi journey
It's been an interesting journey, and my first pair of speakers was the TDL RTL 3. Capable of deep bass, the cabinets were massive. They showed me what a deep soundstage was. Easy to drive too.
But home theatre (HT) beckoned and I knew that this will be where I spend most of listening diet subsequently. So each speaker I bought had to have a matching Centre speaker.
The Kef Reference 100 followed, partnered with the q30 and a sub30. Great centre speaker. Doesn't play too loudly but it had a great smooth voicing. The Q30 was a bookshelf speaker in a bigger box.
Then came the dynaudio audience 50 and the c120+. Great bass from a rather small speaker and what a soundstage. Hard to drive though. It was neutral to smooth allowing partnership with most gear if it had the ability to drive them.
As I journeyed into ht, I explored Monitor Audios which provide more excitement and decent bass.
The journey began with the BR, moving to the Silver RS and the Gold GS. Each bringing more resolution. But they were brighter and required proper partnering to tame that treble.
An opportunity to try the B&W 805s was something I always wanted to do, they were one of the best bookshelf speakers ever. The 805s is one smooth operator, with mid bass that is quite meaty, and vocals that rival any floorstander. In due course I also acquired the HTM4s and then the 804d in search of scale. The diamond series afforded even more resolution but the price was that treble. And in my small place floor standers couldn't perform at their best.
In between, I also used Usher for a smaller setup, and for a mini system for the bedroom. It's a quiet pocket rocker, with a nice sound that far exceeds it's cost. Add the corresponding centre, and you have a very impressive yet value system. If you are looking for something to match a budget amp, you can assemble a HT system for under 2k with the Usher S520, 525 and a sub.
So I knew that even as I enjoyed HT, the next speaker setup will be based on a solid Centre accompanied by a pair of bookshelf speakers. Good ones with a more neutral balance.
So with that, I went back to the brand that stayed with me the longest : my Dynaudio audience. I owned that for five years, trying new stuff and each time I gained new insight into my music and movies, going from Dolby surround to Dolby digital in the process.
Now with the Confidence series, I am hoping my speaker journey can come to a stable state and I can try out different sounds and gear with these lovely speakers.
So if I may give a crude overall summary of the sonic signatures:
Neutral, transparent, but needs power
- smooth (Reference series), transparent (haven't tried the newer ones except for the X300A)
- Monitor Audio
Vivid, exciting, great for music and HT, just watch the treble
- Usher S520
Pocket rocket, superb value, expressive, but lacks deep bass, so it may sound a little bright
(S series, and CM series)
- smooth, music friendly, easy to drive
- although, not hard to drive, they need power to bring out the best
- treble lifted up
- floorstanders and even the 805 gives solid bass, giving music a great deal of scale