Speaker choice based on music type?

Do you guys chose speakers based on the type of music you predominantely listen to?? If you frequently listen to rock / blues, would you pick something specific to that type versus listening to classical / vocals and choosing something else?? Just curious on a cool Monday evening, smoking a cigar and listening to the Sonos in the garden pre-next-heatwave…:slight_smile:

No. I believe great speakers should be able to play all things well. Blues, vocals, rock, jazz l, classical


I chose my P3ESR especially for vocals and acoustic , it delivers superbly . i suspect that other speakers with the LS3/5A background are equally capable .

Also i discover it is really good with chamber music.

I certainly didn’t buy it for Grunge and Bass Line

If I did so, I’d be shooting myself in the foot. I listen to a ridiculous variety of music, from the 12th to the 21st century, small choirs to huge orchestras, jazz trios to heavy rock, compressed techno to simply-recorded singer & guitar…if I had different speakers for every genre, there wouldn’t be space enough for me in the room.



In principle, @opus must be right. The room will typically matter much more than musical preference.

If you really only listen to (say) violin quartets, you’ll probably miss deep bass slam a lot less than a headbanger who has noticed that ‘this goes up to 11”, so a Linn Kan or an LS3/5 might well suit you better than him/her. Big JBLs might suit them better than you.

In the real world, I doubt there are many people with taste narrow enough tastes that music type will narrow down your choices much.

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I take music I normally listen to to a speaker dem, so probably yes. On the other hand I’m always surprised at just how good the speakers are when something I’m not familiar with is played on the radio, or streaming. Speakers exhibit their own characteristics so I’m guessing that acoustic guitar, or flamenco might sound better on one set, while Deep Purple in rock might sound better in another.

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My first foray into Naim, back in the 1980’s, reflected my predominant interest in choral, violin and classical music. I moved from Mordant Short Pagent II (?) to Linn Kans. As my musical tastes diversified into folk and prog rock the Kans continued to deliver, albeit without predominant bass.

My next step was to go active with SBLs, which I auditioned with a cross section of my music. The music that clinched my choice was Allegri’s Miserere, but the SBLs handled everything.


I listen to many different types of music, so it would be a bad decision to try and optimise for any in particular. I chose speakers able to cover as much of the audible range as possible that also worked well in my room. I then went on to further fine tune the room/speaker interface through various acoustic treatments.


Had Harbeths. Great for some music but horrible on other. Got tired of being forced to listen to certain music to enjoy them and sold them for Tannoy. Never looked back.

On what specific genre do you think they were horrible?

Most kind of rock music. Got listening fatigue. I guess the mids are great pushing forward voices and acoustic instruments. I’ve never heard Leonard cohen so real. But music is more than Leonard. This was SHL5 Plus. Also found them rather thin sounding.

It depends. If you only listen to specific genres it may be better to go for a specific speaker or a specific speaker technology. If you listen to all kinds of genres i doubt you will find a speaker which does all types of music equally well, no matter how expensive it is. So it is more a matter of what music do you want to sound best in your system and choose something along these lines instead of chasing for the ultimate allrounder.

Interesting. I can only speak for my c7es which is a terrific speaker in its latest iteration and does most genres really well if the recording is done right. The problem is that some rock records are mixed quite poorly but i guess you were not speaking about these anyway :slight_smile:

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To me speakers should be able to play all types of music well, and if they don’t they’re not good hifi speakers. The system should never be fatiguing - if it is there is something wrong - either with the music or the system. (I listen mainly to to prog rock, heavy rock, solo piano, chamber music, symphonic music, opera).

I’m drinking Aperol Spritz in the garden where it is still just warm enough, having just cleared up after a pizza party. (I don’t have a Sonos, don’t play music in the garden, and can’t stand inhaling any form of smoke…)


This was my problem with Harbeth. In my opinion you should be able to listen to all kinds of music and recordings on a speaker. There is no point having a speaker that has such a narrow sweet spot that it force you to listen to music of a certain genre or recording quality :slightly_smiling_face: That said it is my understanding that the 5s are the most forward sounding in Harbeths range. But me and two friends that have had Harbeth all ended up with Tannoy. Tannoy are awesome in making all music and recordings sound great. They might not measure super great as Harbeths but in the end it is hours spent with the speaker that counts and all I can say is my Tannoys have given me a dramatic increase of joyful playtime compared to Harbeths. PS: I have the Legacy Eatons.

They look like a very interesting speaker indeed! Glad you found something you enjoy, that is easier said than done :slight_smile:

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Perfectly possible. Of course, if you like your speakers to add their own sound to that in the recording, perhaps to exaggerate some aspect, then that is another matter.

I believe we do pick speakers that perform the best with music we like. Just about everyone shows up at a dealer with a list of songs they want to hear when they demo speakers. My experience with my dealer is that he will configure the system being used as close as he can to my home system. With the use of streaming it is easy to access the music at your fingertips. If wanting to hear from a turntable then some will bring their own records.

If left to the dealer they will play the music they know sounds the best with the speaker that is set up.

I wanted to add, speakers can only reproduce (or try) what they are fed. I’ve heard ProAc D2R driven by Ayre Mono’s and the sound was huge, wall to wall! I’ve heard great speakers sound like hohum because of the gear in front of them. Oh and for those that haven’t heard a well setup and driven pair of Wilson’s , YG’s, or Magico’s there are speakers that play everything with gusto!

Maybe less the type of music, as many have said a good speaker should make a decent fist of any type of music. But volume may be a deciding factor. For example i have Russell K speakers. Love them to bits, but its generally felt that at very high volume they can loose a little control. Not a problem for me as i rarely play at concert levels, and that level of energy in my small living room is rediculous!

However plenty o this forum who do claim to listen very loud, and have chosen suitable speakers for just that.

Equally some speakers are not great at low volume, something to consider if you like background music, say whilst working. People rarely try low volume when demoing speakers!