High end speakers for heavy metal

April 13, 2022
 by Paul McGowan

23 comments on “High end speakers for heavy metal”

  1. Noise exposure and noise pollution cause all kind of damage to health. Paul, you also mentioned to frequently use devices for noise protection. Thus do you wear these noise protections when cranking up your audiophile stereo system playing heavy metal? 🙂

  2. Hi Jan,
    IMO heavy metal is the hardest job to reproduce by speakers in general. High transients and much guitar distortion at high volume levels requires very good quality speakers to avoid adding or suppressing things to the original sound.
    I strongly recommend planar type transducer to give the right punch at the right speed.
    To improve dynamics in your listening room choose speakers with rather narrow radiation and use absorber to keep the reverberation time as short as possible.
    I am a die-hard fan of heavy metal using direct driven electrostatic speakers. To give you the right feeling of musical pressure is not a question of output power but of dynamics.

        1. Strange. I don’t like their fries at all but their grilled cheese sandwich, while certainly unhealthy, is delicious if you get it on the right day. I give them about 80% for consistency. What’s not to like about fresh tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, cheese, and sauce?

          1. It has been so rare for me to eat from there. Only under very unusual circumstances. My son is the “expert”.

            Maybe I have bad recall of the fries. Possible.

            1. The good news on their fries is that they are fresh cut potatoes. The bad news (for me) is the kind of oil they use. The thing about In and Out and Chipotle is that they use only fresh ingredients. I don’t eat meat so I can’t comment on that.

              I will say that having been a part of the Chipotle organization for a few years (we handled all their audio systems) that walking into their color was a real treat. Everything fresh. Avacados (they are the single biggest purchaser of them in the US), herbs, onions, etc. Nothing processed, nothing from Sysco, just good, healthy, produce. That’s hard to find in a fast food restaurant these days.

              1. I trust you.

                I just never (extremely rarely) eat at Fast Food places. I’d rather take the time and eat well. We do so much of it that it is not worth it to eat poorly.

                At home I tend to prepare the protein and the missus prepares the vegetables. She’s excellent at it.

  3. Steve, best fast foods are typically not found in the USA, but strangely every culture has fast food. Crepes, stuffed grape leaves, fish and chips, egg rolls, some sushi, falafel‘s, fish sticks, jerky, and so on. Oh, and Turkey legs and steak on a stick, both fondly found food at any Renaissance festival, which is indeed a culture all its own.

  4. If you really, really want speakers only for heavy metal and loud rock, with very minimally other types of music, you should go to Guitar Center and rent a pair of QSC K12.2. You can rent the cables and a pole if you need to, so you have them at your ear level. No need for amps or subwoofer.

    Connect your DAC or preamp directly to them and enjoy! As close to a concert level and better quality than most concerts as you can get.

    A few hundred dollars for a day or two and you will be hooked. They are relatively cheap too. You could even splurge to the top model made of baltic birch.

    True heavy metal audiophile solution!

    1. Good evening CTA!
      If you really want to rock out, get a pare of JBL LXR-835A speakers.
      They are a 3-way design, with a 1600 watt amp built in to each one.
      They can crank out a wopping 135DB.
      And the 15inch wooferrs, have very punchy bass too.

      1. John,

        Similar concept. I have not heard the JBLs but I know they tend to be designed and built well.

        I did listen to the QSCs at home, and oh boy, you can crank them up well for that music! They were outside, not indoors. I was shocked (shocked!) at how good they sounded with rock. All giggles.

        1. Good morning CTA!
          I’ve heard of QSC, but I never had a chance to check any of their products out.
          I pretty much grew upon JBL.
          So, I’m very familiar with their sound and quallity.
          But aside from that, the local music store here in Lake City florida, only carries brand names like Crate Yamaha and York Ville.
          I yoost to own a quod of Peavey SP-3G and a pare of SP-4G speakers.
          I also had a stack of Peavey 2000 power amps to drive them with.
          This may be a little old fashion on my part, but if I were to get a pare of QSC speakers, there are two things that I would be looking for concerning them.
          #1. They would have to be passive.
          I said passive because, I like to pick and choose my own amplifier or amplifiers.
          #2. They would have to match the sound quallity that I’m a custom to.
          PS. You told me in a different post, that you’re not that much older then I am.
          Just out of curiosity, how old are you?

          1. Passive is your bias. There is no specific reason to have that preference except bias.

            My office system has Neumann 310s and two 750 subs, all amplified directly from the DAC and they sound excellent. With very few wires around.

            When I heard the QSCs was at home for our wedding. From a DAC straight to them. My missus chose Sinatra’s Fly me to the Moon to leave the ceremony part and it sounded amazing! The dance music that evening was terrific too.

            Maybe my expectations were limited and this is why I was so impressed. But the founder of QSC come from experience too.

            As you like or prefer JBL, they tend to use a lot of proper research for design. I don’t have personal experience with McI, except that I recall they used to send a list of FM stations around the country decades ago…

            1. Good afternoon CTA!
              I don’t mean to start an argument, I’m just giving you a little background on how I grew up.
              I was just a 2 year old baby boy in 1974.
              That’s when I got in to this audio thing.
              But back then, there were no such things as active speakers.
              You had to have some kind of an amplifier to drive them.
              I didn’t see or hear active speakers until I was 18.
              But then, they were on a much smaller scale then what they are now.
              They were designed for computer use back then.
              So, it’s not bias as you suppose, it’s just the way I was brought up.
              And, aside from that, I like the sound of tubes a whole lot better then what’s to offer in active speakers.
              And that’s the problem right there.
              The market is flooded with active speakers.
              But none of them, and I mean, none of them have tube amps built in to them.
              But one of these days, I’m going to change that.
              I own a pare of active speakers.
              They are the Klipsch R-41PM speakers.
              They do work for me in a pinch, but they’re not my everyday speakers.
              Transistor amps, racks my nerves at times.
              Especially, if they’re turned up a little too high.
              I can crank up the volume on any tube amp.
              it won’t bother me.
              I guess that’s the difference in odd order and even order distortion.
              Most transistor amplifiers, have odd order distortion.
              But tube amps, just because of the fact that, there’s a transformer between the amp and speaker, tube amps will yield even order distortion.
              But this isn’t just science, there’s a lot of psychological applications applied here too.
              A word to the wize.
              To each their own!

  5. suppose metal is the hardest genre from the point of speaksers. same time jazz, pop hardly cause diffuculties and sounds pretty good almost everywhere.

  6. For years I heard heavy metal using JBL professional speakers. To have the same feeling of musical violence I have to crank up at least 20 db more compared to my electrostatic speakers. Not a very good idea in respect to the hearing organ and neighbors. The reason for this effect is the much higher dynamics achieved by massless diaphragm and the sound beaming to the listening position instead to the room walls. The keyword is “waterfall diagram” of the complete audio system including room acoustic.

  7. Science — you run a club for millenials who know there is no future so why worry about going deaf in old age.
    1) But you care and you know about Fletcher-Munson and use it to make their music ‘louder’ … by tweaking up the bass and the trebles.
    2) Second lurk, add distortion. Even more ‘louder.’
    We know about that, from experiencing a big speaker that doesn’t feel like its playing loud…unless you try talking over it

  8. The guy with the drill? Paul might be talking about Anvil. Though I am a huge metal fan, that doesn’t mean I listen to it all the time. The same system that plays a large symphonic piece well (think kettle drums, upright bass), or Rush, Led Zep, or Primus, then it will play Pantera.

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