When it comes to Speakers, Bigger is Better!
Lighter. Smaller. Faster. We are bombarded with these keywords everyday. Whether you are looking to upgrade your car or your computer, these attributes seem to imply new technology makes it possible for things to perform better even when they are made smaller.
Sure, that has been the proven case with microprocessors, hard drives and even light bulbs. But while the tech giants still clamour to attain Full Frame DSLR level of optical capture quality from small sensors, and car manufacturers fail to achieve V12 or V8 levels of performance from smaller engines, a similar battle has been waged in the audio industry.
Since the advent of Sub Sat speaker sets, speaker designers & manufacturers have been trying to cope up with a constant consumer demand for smaller speakers. Somewhere along the way, great advertising and clever product design gave into the demand for speakers that are 'invisible'.
While this has been mostly a welcome direction for commercial applications and background music, audiophiles and music lovers alike have been disappointed with the more compact offerings on the market.
At their simplest, loudspeakers are a combination of drivers that work together to move 'air'. Much like a fan or an air conditioner, the efficacy of a speaker is limited by its application. In a very small room, a small air conditioner can serve well but in a large room that same machine will be useless.
Similarly, loudspeakers should be chosen as per your application. A small speaker with small drivers will simply not move enough air to deliver a realistic experience if you're sitting 15 feet away. If you have a big room and want a realistic, immersive sound you either need a lot of small speakers working in unison or a pair of large format speakers. Now while multiple speakers around the room work well for Movies and Surround Sound, they don't quite fit the bill when it comes to 2 Channel Stereo.
Enter LFHE Speakers. Large Format High Efficiency speakers are what we call speakers which have at least an 8inch or larger (10, 12, 15inch) woofer and higher than 90dB sensitivity. Up till a few decades ago, all speakers used to be LFHE speakers because that was the norm. Amplifiers were expensive and inefficient and often produced only a few watts. So speakers had to be efficient and that was only achieved by size.
Back to present time. After a few decades of toying with small drivers and many iterations and combinations, speaker designers are back to using large drivers and high efficiency designs. These speakers find favour with folks using valve tube amplifiers due to their efficiency and sound quality, while others for their vintage and retro looks.
Either ways, we at The Audio Co. are only too glad to see (and hear) this resurgence. Not only have we always been fans of the format, we use a lot of such gear ourselves.
Here is a curated collection of some of the best options available today. Do reach out to us and an expert will be happy to discuss your options.