Speakers are speakers, and the difference between the best and the worst is barely noticeable, right?
Wrong. With all the style options and wide range of prices, choosing speakers and audio components can seem daunting. Choose correctly, and you will hear and feel metal exactly as it was recorded with every detail as clear as day. Choose wrong, and you are robbing yourself of the visceral experience that makes each band (and each album) unique.
Most metal bands put a lot of work into both the artistry and acoustic engineering of their recordings and fans should want to hear everything the musicians intended, without compromise, from the bone-shaking thud of the bass drum to the stomach-churning guttural vocals to the attack and bite of the guitar riffs.
While there are a number of reasons why a high-quality speaker system adds to the listening experience versus a cheaply made one, here are a five of the most important:
1. Less distortion at higher volume
Granted, there is some amount of purposeful distortion in metal, but there’s a difference between intentional distortion, like on guitars or growled vocals, and unintentional distortion on the entire song due to cheap components. A good speaker system reproduces the intended distortion accurately without adding its own. Plus, musicians don’t add distortion to everything; some sounds are supposed to be super-clean, but you might not hear that on a lesser system which can smear notes together and muddy up the soundstage. Metal is generally enjoyed best at high volumes, which causes cheap systems to distort badly and even sound grating on the ears. A good system will sound clear even at peak volume, so it pays to invest a bit more in higher quality gear to hear all that aggressive output cleanly.
2. Wide dynamic range
Dynamic range refers to a system’s ability to go from a whisper or soft musical note to a blood-curdling scream or pounding blast beat at the drop of a dime, which is simply not possible from a soulless smart speaker or soundbar. While most metal is meant to be played loud, there are some exceptions. Bands like Opeth have built a career on the juxtaposition of death metal and quiet, acoustic passages, a formula that’s since been copied ad infinitum. A great speaker system should be able to render wide dynamic range to provide a wholly convincing experience.
3. Pristine clarity
Quality audio gear should accurately reproduce the full range of audible frequencies, from the deepest, darkest, thundering bass lines to the shrillest guitar shredding, with no sloppy transitions or over-emphasis on specific notes. A speaker system’s job is to get out of the way and unleash playback of the recording exactly as the artist or musician intended. Poor systems over-emphasize the midrange and crap out at the extreme ends of the frequency spectrum, so they sound dull and wimpy, robbing you of the immersive experience metalheads crave.
4. Heart-pounding bass you can feel
Speaking of bass, to get the most out of your audio system, you definitely need a subwoofer in addition to the main speakers. Subwoofers are dedicated solely to playing low frequencies, making it essential for any metal fan’s system. Subwoofers produce that chest-pounding we crave that allows you to feel as close to the live experience as possible.
5. Pinpoint soundstage and imaging
A great speaker system creates a wide and detailed sonic image, so it doesn’t feel like you’re just listening to sound coming from boxes in front of you. Imagine a three-dimensional soundfield that envelops you in the music with sound coming from all around instead of the traditional left and right channels you’re accustomed to. That so-called soundstage lets you feel like you’re in the recording studio or at a concert, with sound coming from all directions. A system with a broad soundstage typically offers solid imaging, letting you pick out each musician as their sounds appear to come from different locations.
A premium speaker system is a benefit not only to metal, but to all types of music, not to mention movies and video games. Of course, you can spend virtually limitless amounts of money chasing sonic perfection, but with a little research, metalheads can easily identify which components will deliver the best bang for their buck.
When it comes to speakers and subwoofers, SVS offers thrilling and immersive sound and unmatched performance for the price. All the qualities listed above; ultra-low distortion, wide dynamic range, crystal-clear sound, exceptional soundstage and imaging, and kick-ass bass from its subwoofers, all for far less than you would expect for such high performance.
SVS also offers a Customer Bill of Rights, which includes a 45-Day in-home trial, free shipping and returns, 5-Year unconditional warranty and more so you can make the decision in your own home if the gear is right for you.
Once you have a good audio system up and running, it’s time to thrash your way to sweet oblivion!
This post is sponsored by SVS.