Do you think a speaker manufacturer's 'sonic signature' is consistent throughout its line?

It’s getting late, and I feel like I may struggle to get this thought across…Was thinking about speakers I’ve owned, but more importantly - speakers I want to own. Some of them won’t fit into room configurations I have today, so smaller versions come into play. Which is where this question arises from:

Does the ‘sound’ of a particular speaker manufacturer (bright, fast, warm, laid back, transparent, etc, etc, etc.) exist throughout the line? As in an entry-level bookshelf will exhibit the same sonic DNA as the top-of-the-range standpoint.

I was thinking back to all the B&W speakers I’ve owned and listened to, and none of them ever did it for me. Nor do the ones at the top end that I’ve auditioned. And recently, the little pair of Neat Iota’s I have continue to make me want to go through the rest of the range because ‘I like what I hear’

So the question stands: if you like the sound of one, is it reasonable to expect the same sound of the rest?

I don’t believe it necessarily has DNA through the range of a speaker manufacturer.
A few stinkers from several makers where the sound signature quite simply didn’t run through the range.
Look no further than Naim for example, SBL and Arriva were poles apart to my ears.
Not all Linn speakers are equal.
Royd A14 did not have the magic of the A7.

There are too many variables that change as speakers get more expensive. Drivers, Cone material, cabinet construction etc. I don’t see how the same sound characteristics could remain. I think what can remain is the way the manufacturer tunes the speaker. Bright/natural etc. that might be why you aren’t keen on all B&W. They tend to tune bright.

I think so. Assuming that it’s the same Team that’s doing the designing

Some manufacturers have more than one range, aimed at different markets, and I would not necessarily expect commonality between ranges, though it would not be surprising if there were at least some similarities. Within the same range, particularly when tweeter and, where a separate midrange driver, that, and type of bass loading are common features I would certainly expect a “house sound”, though of course it will vary through the range, and I’d generally expect sound quality to improve going “up” the range. This has certainly been true in the case of the small number of manufacturers where I have heard more than one from a range.

As for B&W speakers, I’ve only heard the 802D2, and it sounded quite good, but not as good as the PMC MB2 at similar price that I auditioned on the same occasion.

If you look at current Rega speakers, it’s like they were all designed by different people who had never met each other. I’d not expect a “house sound”.

I find a house sound with Spendor floor standers

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I think that any consistent house sound over generations of products is unlikely.
I’ve said this before in a different context, for example good components will ‘do PR&T’, whether they are Naim or otherwise. For balance the same is true for ‘playing the tune’. Just my opinion though.

It’s not impossible. Although few will admit to it, I’ve heard many (smaller) speaker manufacturers bring in outside consultants/designers. Although you’d think they’d bring the same one in every time.

They actually don’t, they tend to have a dip in the upper mids instead, this makes the treble stand out a bit more, making people perceive them as bright when actually that frequency range has been tuned completely normal.

That’s the key, I think. Perhaps more likely to happen with smaller makers, maybe…? The proverbial One Man & His Dog sort of company.

With a large company. I could imagine a team being assembled to design the ‘new speakers’ - and then dissolved once that phase was completed.

I suppose bright sounding speakers can result from an incomplete frequency response. I find a lot of smaller speakers bright because they miss the deep bass.

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It’s quite possible manufacturer’s design philosophy and the acoustic compromises they choose to make create a house sound.

Give Neat a call and ask them.

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I can see why that could be true but I have a set of A5 speakers from around 2008/2009. I also have a set of D9.2 speakers from 2022. In other rooms I have other floor standers. I can walk from the A5 room to the D9.2 room and the sound signature is the same. I walk from either room to another speaker room and my ears and brain have to adjust.

…I would think that there are also other factors at play…for example, I now know just how vast an influence the room has, and how very much better the music is if this influence is removed. On the other hand, the use of the same driver is ‘likely’ to have a similar effect across a range of speakers, depending on XOs.

this is the point I was thinking about - and as others have chimed in, probably only in a shop small enough to drive it consistently through the range

So, what size of outfit is that? PMC, as an example, make a lot of speakers, with three domestic hifi ranges, pro speakers, and some in-walls, but I believe their design team is small, possibly very small, led originally by the company’s founder, now I think taken over or virtually so by his son, and I think with the same design goals (such as low distortion and minimal colouration), ensuring at least some degree of consistency over time. There has been continuous development, with new successful ideas embodied into new or revised ranges over time, so across time I would expect to see (hear) evolution with continued refinement, and different ranges having at least a slight different sound signature such as when new drivers or other design changes are developed and released, perhaps with a different approach to styling (e.g. shape).

I can only speak from personal experience in my own lounge.

In the context of the same room but with different system components and room treatments/furnishings over the last 30 years:
Spendor e series - a kind of familiar presentation particularly in the mid and high, but wide variations in staging, bass performance and bass extension.
Neat SL series - some similarities some differences. Airy presence of top ribbon easy to hear and appreciate, mid variable, bass very variable.
B&W various levels - not remotely the same. Presentation ranged from awful to amazingly life like.

B&W were the last company who’s products we would ever consider based on past experience - right up to the point when we heard a pair that worked perfectly in our room.

There’s just no knowing how a speaker will sound at home until you’ve taken it home and optimised the placement.

so yeah, i would say like that. maybe less about size and more about consistency of design philosophy. which is easier(?) to do when the founder / family is running the show vs a big corporation. Think Neat and ProAC like your PMC example…

I’m only familiar enough with Linn speakers to comment. To my ears, their speakers have largely shared the same signature but only within the generations, which is to be expected due to shared design approach, drive units, and evaluation techniques. Across the generations their sound has changed a lot.

I wouldn’t buy a new speaker from any vendor without a dem though.