Speakers for rock

I have a SN3 /Hicap DR /ND5XS2 (soon to be upgraded with an Ndac or Qutest) and Proac DT8 speakers.
I am going to upgrade the speakers soon and would like to get a few tips into which ones are worth an audition.
I had the PMC twenty.5 24i on demo for a few weeks and I like their bass but their treble and midrange could be bettered if you spend that amount of money.
I mainly listen to Dire Straits, Queen, Fleetwood Mac, AC/DC, Rolling Stones, Chris Rhea but at the same time also a lot of Andrea Bocelli, Celine Dion, Hans Zimmer soundtracks and other pop classical / easy listening.
I LOVE the huge soundstage of the PMC’s and think their low bass is awesome but the kickdrum with rock is missing a little slam. Also, they can be a tad sharp sometimes and mids stay a little behind the bass and treble.

Any advice on which speakers I should audition in this priceless? They need to have speed and drive but also let me relax when I want to listen to some more vocal music.

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I’d be looking to upgrade your source, better speakers will just expose the XS2’s weaknesses (good as it is).
An NDX2 would be good, or follow the current trend of a used nDAC. :slightly_smiling_face:


I will do both (upgrade source with a dac and speakers)but changing the source will not change the character of the pmc’s. And FIY I did have a Qutest and NDAC on demo for a while and didn’t rate this upgrade as highly as everyone here. I thought my HICAP DR did so much more for my system than either of those DAC’s.

Other than the source comments, if you love the speakers, add a sub or two (being sure to set it up right).


You may be surprised at what most speakers have to give with a decent source. The XS2 outclassed by your amplification and possibly your speakers too.
Kick drum is round about 60hz so even small speakers can sound decent albeit missing the harmonics through the lower frequencies of larger speakers.
The nDAC responds well to PSUs, even an early XPS adds significant power and authority.

As a fellow owner of a SN3 (waiting for the hicap dr to arrive) I would strongly recommend for rock,metal & electronic music, the Ovator s-600.
Good synergy between the two (for sure better results with nac282/nap250dr).
I really love the character of the s-600 with the above kinds of music-fast,great punch,great bass & mids.
Just for the record, I only listen to music through vinyl & have invested for vinyl reproduction:

  1. Turntable 1500€
  2. Interconnects 500€
  3. TT Mains cable 350€
  4. Phono pre 650€
  5. Phono psu 650€
    So it would be best to upgrade both source & speakers.
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No Brainer!!



How big is your room and do you listen above 10 o’clock on the SN3? ATB Peter

Bigger PMCs! To me there is no such thing as speakers for rock: I want speakers that do everything well. The best speakers I’ve heard - which can rock like a live gig, or play classical like the orchestra is there, or realistic solo piano, etc - are PMC MB2 (in SE guise). But then I haven’t heard the MB2XBD, or BB5/BB5XBD!

Buying secondhand would maximise your buying power.


I think you mean missing the fundamentals, as it is the harmonics that small speakers can do!

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I’m a huge fan of PMCs but sure, maybe not everyone is going to love them. If you want better upper range, you might see if you can listen to an older pair of plain old Twenty.24 instead. The mid-treble is quite a different presentation (smoother).

A number of forum members have found love in the arms of the re-released JBL L-100. I confess, though not yet hearing them, this is a speaker that hits the right emotional notes appearance-wise and is from the era of the music you are playing.


Haven’t heard anything touch the DBLs for rock, suitably driven even in passive mode. Till today.

Many do not take to the brutish looks of the DBLs but they are the only “boxy”exception I’d love to have for their sonics.

Then again, a sea of speakers out there… enjoy the search! Would love to hear the larger PMCs.

I have found that well-designed and fast (minimum) 10” drivers to give some semblance of gravitas but if we had a suitable room, for real wallop, at least a 12 to 15” driver if the speaker is voiced for rattling speed and you have a good punchy fast amp to drive rock music.

Heard the ATC SCM 50A to good effect. Not as deep but still punchy with lovely mids.

Waiting to hear the 100 SE towers which have softer more palatable baffled front edges - the significant half nor I do not take to large square boxes…. It’s fortunate I don’t have to contend with my other half since good DBLs are not readily available, what with their driver challenges and foam condition with age.


Phil P


There is a widespread opinion that rock music is a test element to speaker performance,
On the other hand, classical symphonic music poses the real challenge to the speaker’s abilities to transmit the recording, closest to the original.
To your question-
A speaker that conveys a certain type of music better, from other styles, it’s a speaker, which I would not buy …
Good speaker = conveys “correct” all styles of music.


Well, that’s the theory anyway…. :thinking: ATB Peter

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Without a doubt PMC fact8.
I auditioned the fact 8 on a SN3/NDX2 with metal and was blown away.

I have the ND5 XS2 (with admittedly a 282 / 250DR amp) and auditioned the PMC range of floorstanders, including those you have. Our musical tastes are similar but I used Rush to test kick drum definition. (Neil was the Professor). Female vocal and piano (Tori Amos etc) are also very important.

I found the PMCs boomed too much for size of room I have (6m x 3m) and ended up buying a pair of Audiovector SR3 Signatures. There aren’t many dealers but I am really glad I found them. You can also send them back for upgrade and pay the difference - I will be taking advantage of this to go to the Arette eventually. The higher up the range you go, the better they get

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In my humble opinion no speaker can sound the best with all genres of music.
It’s the same with motorcycles:
Some are for good for race track,others for road trips, etc.
Before buying the Ovators I also auditioned the Audio Physic classic 35,which was not good for my music taste.
Does this makes the Classic 35 a bad speaker?
It is a great speaker but no for my taste.


So room and system synergy dependent. In our last house with an 8x5x3.5m room Epos ES14 worked but S600 were awful. S400 were OK.

When we moved here 5.4x3.8x3m the Proac Tablette 10 Signature rocks the best of all the previous ones!



Couldn’t agree more about room & system synergy.