Best Speakers for Classical Music for an Immersive Listening Experience
Classical music usually has a much wider dynamic range than most other styles of music. The tone can almost seamlessly change from deep bass to vibrant treble in a matter of seconds.
But, short of attending a live concert, it can be very tricky to fully experience the immersive quality of classical music, especially in a home setting.
Most speakers on the market aren’t very efficient at reproducing the nuanced sound of classical masterworks.
That’s why some leading manufacturers have started developing new models that offer a much richer sound palette.
Yet, because these speakers target a very niche market, they tend to be somewhat expensive, so it’s important to make the right choice.
4 of the Best Speakers for Classical Music
I have carefully examined the features of some of the most popular models currently available. Here are my top four choices for the best classical music speakers.
1. Bose 201
A compact model, the Bose 201 speakers improve upon other similar models by using the proprietary Direct/Reflecting technology. Namely, instead of delivering the sound to the front, they disperse it in all directions across the room. That way, the sound reflects off the walls before arriving at your ears, much like it does at an actual live concert.
For a speaker this size, the Bose 201 has a surprisingly large 6.5-inch driver and a 2-inch tweeter. Its frequency response extends from about 30 Hz all the way up to 20 kHz, resulting in a very rich and colorful sound. Each speaker can handle a maximum output power of 60W.
At low-to-moderate volumes, you’ll get a clear, vibrant sound without any noticeable distortion. Yet if you like to listen to beat-heavy music at high volumes from time to time, these speakers might not perform that well. Still, they can give you a pretty good value for your money if you’re a classical music enthusiast.
2. KEF LS50
The small size of the LS50 mini-monitors from KEF might make them seem like just another pair of desktop speakers, but they’re much more than that. These high-end 100W speakers pack a surprising amount of power in a small body, which is why they’re so popular among studio professionals.
These speakers have a wide frequency response that ranges from 79 Hz to 28 kHz. Because they have a mechanism that improves resonance, the sound delivery remains equally good across all three frequency ranges. As a result, you get a deep and atmospheric bass, a crisp mid-range, and a colorful treble.
The secret to their power is in their unique construction. For one, they use the proprietary “tangerine waveguide” technology that creates sphere-shaped sound waves. In doing so, not only does it extend the frequency response and increase resonance but it also protects the tweeter of the speakers.
If you’re on a tight budget or have a limited space in your room, the XD5 from Cerwin-Vega can be a good choice for your classical music listening needs. These sleek, compact-sized speakers will take up very little space while offering superior sound quality.
These 50W speakers have a frequency response that ranges from 60 Hz for bass to 21 kHz for treble. They also have a built-in amp with a crossover rate of 80 Hz for a more accurate extended bass delivery. To ensure an even richer bass response, which is something most small speakers can’t achieve, this model has a solid wood case.
Both speakers have a large 5-inch magnet driver and a 1-inch silk tweeter to create a richer sound. There are two 1/8-inch slots on the front of the speaker – one for headphones and one for an input source. And if you like to turn the lights off to minimize distractions while listening, you might like the fact the speaker also has an illuminated volume toggle.
Focal is a fairly new player in the audio equipment market, but their products have already received a lot of acclaim from audiophiles. Their Aria 905 speakers promise a superb delivery of classical music and they certainly live up to it.
With a frequency response that ranges from 52 Hz to 28 kHz, these shelf-friendly speakers can capture the lows, the highs, and everything in-between with a lot of clarity and crispness.
The quality of these speakers’ construction is what enables them to perform so well. They have a 5-inch driver with sandwich cones that allow for accurate, high-definition sound. To deliver distortion-free treble, they also use an inverted tweeter with shape memory suspension.
Each speaker has a maximum output power of 60W. They also have wall mounts on the back so you can install them more easily. And while some may find the design a bit busy, their performance more than makes up for it.
How to Arrange Your Speakers
With classical music, the sound quality is of utmost importance. It doesn’t matter if you go for the most expensive speakers in the market – if you don’t arrange them the right way, the sound delivery will likely be subpar. So how do you organize your speakers for an optimal sound quality?
As a rule, if you’re working with two speakers, they need to be symmetrical to each other. What’s more, the distance between them should be the same as the distance between the speaker and your preferred listening position. That way, when you sit down and listen to your favorite classical masterwork, the speakers and you will be in a triangle-shaped soundstage of sorts.
For a better high-frequency delivery, you must not place the speakers on the ground. Instead, the tweeter – and thus the whole speaker – should be at approximately the same height as your ears while you’re listening. To achieve this, you can either place the speakers on a shelf or a cupboard or buy a pair of speaker stands.
At the same time, make sure that there’s nothing standing in the way between the speakers and your ear. Otherwise, whatever is there will be blocking the signal from traveling freely and hamper the overall sound quality. As such, you’ll get a muffled sound that doesn’t live up to the full potential of your speakers.
Setting Up a Listening Room
If you’re a serious listener like me, you don’t just listen to music while you’re doing other things. Instead, you like to sit down, focus, and experience the music the same way you would if you were watching a movie. If that’s the case, you might also want to consider setting up a listening room for yourself.
The first thing you should do is cover the windows with curtains and set up some shelves against wide flat walls. That’s because sound reflects off of flat surfaces, especially if they’re hard. As a result, you get the annoying echo that will dull the sound of your favorite classical recordings.
Furthermore, you should also consider the furniture you’re putting in the room. Make sure to avoid materials like metal, glass, or marble. Instead, opt for wood and soft materials that will help absorb the reflected signals and thus allow for a more immediate listening experience.
A good pair of speakers will enhance the way you listen to music regardless of the style or genre you prefer. But if you’re a classical music enthusiast, only high-quality speakers can deliver all the subtleties and nuances of your favorite composers’ works.
Depending on your budget and the amount of free space you have in your home, any of these four models will do the job. Whichever model you opt for, follow my tips on how to set up your listening room to ensure you get the most out of your speakers.