Why don’t musicians use audiophile speakers?

November 18, 2018
 by Paul McGowan

12 comments on “Why don’t musicians use audiophile speakers?”

  1. Martin Audio (Pro Speakers and Amps) are the best sounding pro gear across the board that I have heard. I think I would like to have it in my home as it sounds that good. I was invited to a Zac Brown concert by a long time customer and friend quite a few years ago and the sound was so good I thought they were ribbon drivers. While not the case- Martin Audio speakers are amazing in my opinion.

    Paul- Keep up the passion and get those bands into your studio!!!!
    Maybe you should take requests on who we would like to get in and we could sign some petitions so we can get some of these bands to let us hear them at their best! No doubt there are a lot of horrible recordings out there (especially of late)- I am surprised that some of them haven’t destroyed the systems that I put in for people. Sometimes the bass is so hot and out of control the woofers should leave their baskets- I don’t know is that shit supposed to enhance a 1/8” iPhone speaker or something? WTF?

  2. Paul I look forward to more good recordings. I recently learned about Blue Coast Music, they seem to know what they are doing, I got hooked and look forward to a really good DAC, to play native DSD. The counterpiece to that: I bought a great piece of classic music, Kreutzer from Beethoven. It’s a a piece where a violin interacts with a piano, very dynamic. It is an old Philips recording from the times that company still cared more about quality then stockholder driven mega margins on plastic pizza boxes with some do it all but poor chips in them. But even then, the person at the mixer must have calibrated the sound level to the violin, as when the pianist starts to play forte it is destorted, I cleaned the record, the needle etc, none helps. Well it simply ruins the music. Don’t know how that could have ever gone to the vinyl or put those recordings to the market, it’s like nobody listened or worse, even cared or the company was already managed by bookkeepers that pushed the records to market regardless. I am all for making money, but you’ve got to earn it, and in my book that is by providing quality, that does not need to be out of the world expensive.

  3. The headline here is most misleading, Paul. The more relevant question would be why do most mastering engineers use studio monitors, cables and mains power supplies that are far from Highend audiophile standards? Or: why do audiophiles not use in wall speakers offering the ideal of an infinite baffle and follow the standards for studio room acoustics? Thus the gap between both realms will remain eternally. Regards

      1. My point is that recording engineers control the recording via their studio monitors and mastering engineers the mix via different monitors both not using speakers following highend audiophile standards and both having specific listening (control) rooms far from the room acoustics found in consumers’ living rooms. Thus there is no way to get the sound and sound effects the professionals intended reproduced at home, unless … (see above). Regards

  4. Hey Paul – couldn’t find a Lumineers cover of “Africa” (as I’m quite curious what this awful guitar sounds like, as it would appear to be the Audiophile Crime of the Century ; ) – though I did come up with this Weezer/Wierd Al version, about which NPR states:

    “If you’ve ever wanted to see the Internet fold itself up into a burrito and consume itself hungrily over the course of four minutes, you’ve come to the right place. You see, Weezer made a video for its already-viral, ironic-but-maybe-not-ironic cover of Toto’s iconic-but-maybe-not-iconic 1983 hit “Africa,” and it’s got… “Weird Al” Yankovic in place of Rivers Cuomo, parodying the video for Weezer’s 1994 hit “Undone — The Sweater Song.” So, to review, what you’ve got here is a video of a left-field cover that doubles as a “Weird Al” Yankovic parody of a different video by the band that performs the left-field cover.”


    Sorta wonder if this is what you heard – it’s typical good production as with most Wierd Al parodies with Weezer-style guitar sound.

      1. Makes sense. The rest of the production could nearly fool you into thinking it’s a version by Toto, and is otherwise completely Un-Weezerish, but the guitar is Sorta Weezer-ish, though quite a tame version of it.

        It is a signature aspect of their sound that I would not particularly want anyone attempting to record in an audiophile way, as it is what it is. It is already recorded perfectly for the genre on their original recordings.

        1. So – a bit more backgound on this, as I hadn’t heard it until this morning:


          It apparently was an extant cover by Weezer, and Wierd Al is just in the video (which was done later) taking the Rivers Cuomo role (think that may be him in the wig on keys?). The internet and YouTube are an interesting ecosystem for sure ; )

        2. Well, we can agree to completely disagree on this one. While the guitar is by design grungy, that doesn’t mean it has to be poorly recorded. Well recorded grunge is something amazing to hear and very distinct from grunge plus bad recording.

  5. On the subject of the post – I think it has to do with the Audiophile recording standard being some version of “The Absolute Sound” of Acoustic Music in a space. Neither Weezer nor Toto (polished as their sound is) are that sort of band, though you could do “unplugged”-style recordings of them playing acoustic versions of their songs.

    For most music, an audiophile monitoring system would be difficult to implement and expensive, and may not translate well to other genres than acoustic or classical music. I don’t listen to my studio monitors for pleasure, because, while “accurate”, they don’t give me what I want for that purpose.

    I did in fact just recently work on mixes for a friend’s pop album, using both my Harbeths (which are actually BBC-monitor based speakers) and my small Genelecs. The Genelecs don’t sound as “good”, but gave me a more accurate picture of the balance of the mix. Via the Harbeths (with their supertweeters, etc.) I found myself struggling mightily – and unnecessarily – to make certain aspects of the original tracking “correct” from a purist perspective. To the extent that at one point, I suggested re-recording several things, some of which may or may not have ultimately gotten done, as I wan’t involved in the tracking or subsequent fixes for the album. I reasoned that if it didn’t sound good on my good system – it didn’t sound good, period (a common misconception).

    The Harbeths were more revealing of the Dreaded Use of Compression, and the inherent distortions, particularly on the vocals in some places. In the context of the music, and on the systems, YouTube, car systems, phones and earbuds that make up the vast majority of where the album will be heard, it was a huge waste of time. Audiophiles (and I consider myself one) will cringe when I tell you that the well-known and oft-used studio compressor in question is called a “Distressor” ; )

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