ELECTROSTATICS: Why aren’t electrostatic speakers more popular?

JOSH HILL writes ...

Large planar panels, and large speakers in general, haven’t been selling well in recent years.

They have what’s known in the industry as low wife acceptance factor, or WAF — namely, not everyone (and this includes more than a few guys) wants their living room to be dominated by monoliths out of “2001”:

OK, they aren’t all as big as Sound Labs (or monoliths), but they still don’t fit between the sofa and the end table.

Also, while electrostatics offer unparalleled clarity and excellent imaging, they typically have some practical limitations, such as SPL limitations or seating limitations. For many, dynamic speakers, which are usually smaller, are fine, even though you typically have to spend much more on dynamics to equal the sound quality of planar transducers.

Even in their heyday, electrostatics like the Quads, the KLH-9’s, and the Acoustats were considered somewhat esoteric, and were beyond the budgets of the typical hi fi buyer. And today, many people have never heard a high end audio system at all, and have no idea what a spectacular experience it can be.

I well remember when a friend scored a pair of KLH-9’s in college. I had never heard sound like that — the orchestra in its full dimensions, reproduced with such clarity that you could hear the proverbial pin drop.

It’s too bad more don’t have that opportunity.

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