What Is the Best Way to Audition Loudspeakers?

There's nothing worse than hearing a pair of speakers in a controlled listening environment with damping and whatnot and then bringing the speaker home and having it sound nothing like what you heard.

What Is the Best Way to Audition Loudspeakers?

Many camps out there say auditioning loudspeakers or another audio component has to be done in a certain way. But, the best way to gauge how loudspeakers will perform for you and how you will feel about them is to audition them in your own home with the system that it's going to be used in. 

How to Test Loudspeakers? 

The best way to audition or test loudspeakers is to look for a brand that offers an audition period. 

Luckily, many manufacturers, including Axiom, offer an audition period. You can take home the speakers and audition them with your system. If they don't work out in your environment, you can return them for a small fee for shipping. 

No demonstration outside of your existing system and the listening room will ever apply to how it will sound in your room. If you're looking at a manufacturer that offers that home trial period, take advantage of it. 

Why Should You Audition Loudspeakers at Home? 

Demo Room is Optimized

Some people say they can judge a loudspeaker's basic performance in just a couple of minutes. Well, that's a very dangerous environment because you have to remember that the distributor or the dealer, whoever's set up the demo room, wants to make sure that the equipment is performing at its best. 

Music Track Accentuates the Loudspeakers' Qualities

And, you're going to be hearing a curated list of music tracks, ones that probably accentuate the excellent qualities of the system and stay away from problems that there might be. Are you really hearing anything like it would with your own music?

You can only get a rough gauge. If it sounds dull, it's probably reasonably neutral in a quick listen. If it's very flashy and in your face and really jumps, and it's very bright and clear sounding, something is going on there.

Auditioning Loudspeakers FAQ

Should You Test Loudspeakers for Months? 

Some people say you have to live with a speaker for several months or years to have them fully broken in and get used to them. And if you don't listen to them in that sort of environment, you're never really going to know how the speaker will perform. 

Here’s the thing: Reviewers, and most people, don't have the luxury to spend months or multiple weeks auditioning a loudspeaker. For one thing, we have the rest of our lives to contend with.

Do You Need to Break-in Speakers?

Even some manufacturers will say you need hundreds of hours of playtime to settle down the tweeters or whatever. From my experience, though, with measurements and all kinds of other things is that with a couple of good tracks, your speakers are pretty much broken in this. 

If we go through days or weeks of listening to a new audio product, your brain, auditory system, and ears will get used to the sound - in the context of your listening room and audio system. 

Basically, all that's happening is that your ears are adjusting to the sound.

Final Thoughts 

What do you think? Have you ever experienced where you've borrowed or purchased a pair of speakers that you listened to at a dealer demo and got them home and found they weren't up to what you were expecting and had to return them, or were you surprised? 

Or, you had a good demo for you to buy the speakers, and then they sound way better in your room? 

We'd love to hear your feedback! And if you want to tell me I'm full of nonsense about the break-in thing based on your own experience, you can try to convince me. Unlikely, but you can try.

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