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audiophile2000
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New Speaker Help - 10 to 20k Range

I’m looking to upgrade my speakers and am probably looking for a good pair in the 10 to 20k range. My current setup is PSB Synchrony one towers paired with an REL G1 subwoofer that is powered via a simaudio dac and amp (digital audio based system). I am also listening in a fairly acoustically control room, but the room does have me concerned since its not an ideal setup but basically have add panels and treatment in the room to do the best I can with it, without doing major construction.

 

I’m looking for a speaker that has similar characteristics as the PSB, but just at a more refined level (cleaner and more detailed highs, tighter mid&low range, cleaner lower end extension), all of which I think the PSB does very well but at the end of the day its not a 10 to 20K speaker. I also have the REL G1 so as long as the speaker rolls of cleanly, low end extension is less of a concern.

 

I know there are a lot to look at but I’m try to focus my attention on ones that fit my profile a bit more. Basically I want to demo a speaker that can sit nicely in a living room but that you would also be at home in a high end mastering studio. Basically as strange as it sounds I’m looking for a speaker that gets out of the way and really focuses on what the music and brings forward what’s on the recording. I don’t want it to hid anything, if it’s a bad mix I want to know it. 

 

Please let me know if you have any suggestions.

I’ve been looking at B&W 802’s, Wilson Audio Sash, Dynaudio Confidence series, Sonus Faber Olympica and the B&W has been standing out, but I think that’s mainly from the tweeter that’s catching my attention. Also really like the Wilson Audio, but for some reason I felt it was a bit more laid back then I would like. I listened to the Dynaudio briefly but haven’t really given them a good listen yet so I’ll hold my comments. Also has anyone head the new Sonus Faber, I’ve always found sonus faber a bit to laid back for my taste.

 

Thanks in advance

commsysman
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The Vandersteen Quattro is what I would recommend.

I have the Vandersteen Treo and think they are the best thing for under $10K; love them. Sound to die for...lol.

If you can afford over $10K, the Quattro might be just what you want.

The Treo is essentially the same speaker, for $6500, except for the subwoofer and its equalizer/amplifer. I think it is a real steal at that price.

On the other hand, since you have a good sub, the Treo might be exactly what you want. I listen to them with my subwoofer off most of the time, because they go fairly low, but for the lowest pipe organ or huge kettledrums, I turn it on for that extra bit of low low bass.

Either the Treo or the Quattro are IMO hard to beat at any price for some incredibly likelike sound.

Since you are in Los Angeles, you can go to see Randy at Optimal Enchentment in Santa Monica to listen to them.. He has specialized in Vandersteen speakers and Audio Research electronics for many years, and will go out to install and fine tune as needed by advance arrangement. He is a great guy and can probably give you some good advice if for any reason the Vandersteens are not right for you.

BTW- If you want a great amplifier, I highly recommend the Musical Fidelity M6PRX power amplifier, which is an amazing bargain at only $3500. It is one of the best  I have ever heard, except possibly the Audio Research 120 watt vacuum tube power amp (which I have no room for; a monster...lol).

audiophile2000
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Thanks

I'll try to go down and take a listen to the Vandersteen. I've seen a lot of reviews on them, but really haven't sat down and listened yet.

Wanted to get peoples thoughts on the B&W 802 and the Focal Electra 1038. I demoed these two speakers last weekend and found the that focal had great low extension but I had trouble hearing the speaker as the room it was set up in had very little treatment and had a bad reverberation issue. Really liked the highs on B&W 802, but not sure if that would be fatiguing over time and I also felt that low end extension wasn't as good as I suspected. Again the room wasn't great (both had flutter echo problems) so its hard to truly judge.

Also heard the Revel Ultima Salons, which was very nice, but a bit more than I wanted to spend. Also wasn't exactly a fair shootout as it the Revel was in a decimated acoustically controlled room.

As I get closer the dealers can do an in house demo but want to narrow the field a bit and would be great to have input from anyone that has these speakers or spent time with them. All sounded very good, just couldn't get a great demo in the show room

commsysman
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Speakers

At that price level, I would certainly not buy anything without a firm agreement that they can be returned if they don't work out in your home/system.

Either that or get them on a 3-day loan or something of the sort.

There is no other way to really tell what you are going to hear until you try them at home.

Catch22
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I've never heard Wilson and laid back used in the same sentence

Wilson does the things that matter most to me in recreating a live event and are the most dynamic speakers I've ever heard. It would be an easy choice for me if the room allows for them.

drblank
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Just some suggestions

I would look at Joseph Audio Perspecitve, Acoustic Zen Adagios (less than $10K) as a couple of others to listen to.  Obviously, you have to be able to live with them for a while, so I would listen to them first since it's a pretty big investment.  Oh I forget, Revels are nice as well.

you can always get room treatment and there are a couple of places I would look, but it's best to give them the dimensions of your room with photos and figure out what your budget is and to what level you can add room treatment and still have that WAF factor (if that's important).  But for me, I would actually spend less than what you are planning on speakers and put that money in room treatment.  But that's just me.

I would look at Acoustic Fields and RPG.  Talk to the companies directly and they might be able to best figure out the biggest room problems that you have to deal with.  Absorption of the mids and highs is pretty easy, but the low end isn't.  That's usually the area that we most have problems with when it comes to small rooms and there are only a couple of companies (listed above) that I feel have the best product to address the low end problems below 100Hz.  If you have parallel walls, then you'll have flutter echo which is easy to deal with since diffusors are best for that.

The thing that you have to realize is that if your room is less than 30 or 40 feet, you really don't need to have speakers that go down to the 20Hz range.  For smaller rooms, once we go down below 30Hz, much of that energy goes through walls and bounces back into the room causing muddy bass.    I would actually spend more on acoustic treatment than speakers if you really want the system to sound great.  It's amazing how much of the room we are actually listening to until we get the room problems addressed.  I've heard rooms that made less expensive speakers sound better than more expensive speakers in an untreated room.  It's kind of amazing when you have the room dialed in as you don't have to crank up the system or get larger drivers to get better bass.

 

audiophile2000
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Room Setup

Thanks for all the responses, I’ve been out listening the last couple of weekends and trying to narrow the field. As I’m just starting to look I’m assuming it will be a couple of month process if I decided to make the upgrade.

 

Drblank, I read your post and couldn’t agree with you more. I think room treatment is one of the best upgrades you can make to your system. That’s actually been the problem I have faced when looking for new speakers is that most hi-fi stores in my area don’t heavily treat rooms so a true comparison is difficult (recently moved out of LA, the shops in LA by comparison were much better).

 

Still think the 802D is the front runner (liked the revel a lot but it’s a bit more than I wanted to spend). Also given it is a small room I’m also worried that either speakers won’t have room to breath and the additional speaker quality will be lost on the room. 

musicaddict
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Be careful on the 802D

Unless you consider your electronics a bit warm, I'd be real concerned about listening fatigue with those diamond tweeters.  I listened extensively to the 802Ds and finally decided to give up (and they were hooked up to good electronics).  There sure are a lot of good choices out there though and I highly agree with the Joseph Audio and Acoustic Zen recommendations.  I have heard and really enjoyed both speaker lines.  With your G1 I'd also consider the Joseph Audio Pulsars as well-they've stunned me with their great sound quality.  Your G1 should mate extremely well with most speakers (a most excellent sub! wish I had one but stuck with a B1, which I do enjoy).

DRblank's comments on room treatment are very good and should be highly considered.  And Commysman is totally correct on a home audtion or an agreement that they are returnable for speakers in that leage.

Your prospective lineup is full of good choices.  I enjoy the Sonus Faber but agree that they generally are too fat (except for demo of the new Elipsa which put needles in my ears at Rky Mtn Audiofest).  Keep auditioning and good luck.

audiophile2000
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Same Conclusion on the 802

Thanks for everyone’s post here. Thought I would give a quick update. After listening around I decided to hold off on the upgrade. Mainly, my electronics are well matched to my current speakers and I am truly very happy with the sound I’m getting. Also any sort of upgrade is also going to require an electronics upgrade to get more power so I’m starting down a path I don’t want to go. 

 

Also just wanted to add that I reached the same conclusion on the 802’s after extensive listening. The highs really grab you at first but after 20 or 30 minutes that do get a bit harsh, hard to say if this improved in a more controlled room but still concerning non-the-less. I can say out of all the speakers I demoed my favorite all around speaker was the revel ulitma salon, seemed very balanced and natural. Truly fantastic speaker, but its way to big for my space right now and a more than I wanted to go.

 

Thanks again for everyone’s help.

commsysman
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AMPLIFIER

Wheter you should decide to upgrade your speakers or not, I ant to put in a plug for the Musical Fidelity M6PRX amplifier.

I have listened to amplifiers from $10K on down (Audio Research, Krell, Classe, etc.), and this is the best-sounding amplifier I ever heard. It only costs $3500, and it powers my Vandersteen Treos beautifully. 

It has enough power for ANY speakers (my Treos need a LOT), so it will serve any speakers you might buy; it puts out over 300 watts per channel at 4 ohms.

wkhanna
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My best friend bought the 802

My best friend bought the 802 Diamonds ~ two years ago.

I have spent many, many hours listening to them.

Room & the paired electronics are obviously a V significant factor as they are some of the best speakers I ever heard, IMHO.

BTW, they are used by Abbey Road Studios as their monitors. 

But one should always buy based on thier personal preferance.

audiophile2000
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802D

Wkhanna,

Don't get me wrong, I think the 802 sounded great but some reason it seemed like it did not to want to extend into the lows. (the 800 seemed to solve this but was out of my budget). Also was worried if my impression of the highs would shift after living with them.

How did you fine the lows on your friends setup. For instance if I listened to Dire Straits - You and Your Friend I felt the 802 couldn't hit the low bass guitar note in the intro where the 800 did a much better job. Also do you know if he did any sort of acoustic treatment in his room.

I'm still looking to hear that speaker in a properly treated room where it could shine. The showrooms are very hard to get a true representation.

rbbert
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Why not check out the

Why not check out the Acoustic Zen Crescendos? The Adagios were recommended above, but the Crescendos are still in your price range, and they are made just down the road from you in San Diego. They have been garnering Best in Show mentions at most shows for the last few years.

wkhanna
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Curious Assesment
audiophile2000 wrote:

Wkhanna,

Don't get me wrong, I think the 802 sounded great but some reason it seemed like it did not to want to extend into the lows. (the 800 seemed to solve this but was out of my budget). Also was worried if my impression of the highs would shift after living with them.

How did you fine the lows on your friends setup. For instance if I listened to Dire Straits - You and Your Friend I felt the 802 couldn't hit the low bass guitar note in the intro where the 800 did a much better job. Also do you know if he did any sort of acoustic treatment in his room.

I'm still looking to hear that speaker in a properly treated room where it could shine. The showrooms are very hard to get a true representation.

The high-end with the diamond tweeter is something that may be perceived as unusual at first. i find it V realistic. For instance, when cymbal is reproduced its subtleties of stick-to-metal, then shimmer, then sustain are quite accurate & realistic to my ear. However, if the source material or hardware are not up to par it will be evident. Poorly made digital recordings or sub-par DACs will be revealed easily by harsh fatiguing character.

For over two years, there has never been the desire to incorporate the subs already in my friends system and they reserved for AV home theater effects only.

I will venture poor system matching & room characteristics where influencing your audition.

JMHO YMMV

Happy Hunting,
Bill

commsysman
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Best in Show?
rbbert wrote:

Why not check out the Acoustic Zen Crescendos? The Adagios were recommended above, but the Crescendos are still in your price range, and they are made just down the road from you in San Diego. They have been garnering Best in Show mentions at most shows for the last few years.

I think the Vandersteen 7 speakers almost always end up with the majority of the 'Best of Show" votes. That has been happening for several years.

commsysman
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Vandersteen

The Vandersteen 7 speakers are $52,000 per pair, but the Vandersteen Quattro speakers are actually quite similar in design and performance, and I think they sell for around $12,000.

I would certainly want to hear those before I spent over $10K on a set.

rbbert
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[quote=commsysman]I think the
commsysman wrote:

I think the Vandersteen 7 speakers almost always end up with the majority of the 'Best of Show" votes. That has been happening for several years.

You might have some problems with reading comprehension? I wrote "Best in Show" mentions, not awards. For that matter, there are plenty of "Best in Show" speakers over the last 3 years that are not Vandersteen 7's either. BTW, those 7's cost more than 3x as much as the Crescendos, which kill the Quattro's IMO (and many reviewers and listeners agree). In any case, it was only a recommendation to consider them, not a demand to buy them.

iosiP
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A pair of Raidho C2.1 is all you need

And there is nothing further I can comment, except you give them a listen!

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