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Speakers That Sing

Choosing the best audio gear for vocal jazz

Revel Performa3 speaker series
Pioneer SP-BS22-LR speakers
Sony SS-CS3 speakers
Audeze XC headphones

Vocals might be the toughest part of a jazz recording to reproduce. We all know what a human voice sounds like because we hear them every day from the moment we’re born. If a tower speaker is mangling the delicate timbre of Lady Day, we know it-and we’ll end up focusing more on the audio system than on the music.

Why, then, do reproduced voices so often sound unnatural? Because it’s easier to dazzle the listener with the spectacle of things like stereo imaging and deep bass. When we hear a pair of speakers get Cassandra Wilson’s voice right, it seldom amazes us. But when we hear Elvin Jones’ cymbals ringing out all the way across an audio dealer’s listening room, we tend to whip out the credit card. The designers of audio equipment realize this.

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