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bifcake
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Opinions and impressions

I am considering a speaker purchase in the $3500 range on the USED market and I've been having difficulties deciding. There are quite a number of speakers in that price range used that I haven't heard, so I was hoping for some recommendations.

These are the speakers that I heard and liked albeit not in that price range:

Avantgarde Duos and Trios - simply lovely. The trios are the best speakers by far I've ever heard.

JM Lab Utopia - I like the original better than the Be. Although the Be version is an objectively better speaker, the original spoke to me.

Revel Salon - Albeit not the most detail or articulate speaker, it was very enjoyable and musical

Gallo reference 3.1 - Pretty decent, although I think I can do better by spending a bit more.

NHT 3.3 and 2.9 - Very nice speakers for the money albeit a bit on the bright side

Monitor gold and silver lines - very detailed and articulate, but a bit thin and lack bass

Paradigm - Nice speakers for the money. I would prefer a bit more detail and bass

Speakers I heard and didn't like:

Genesis all models - too dry for my taste

Avalons various models - Sloppy bass, piercing highs

B&W - I've yet to hear a B&W speaker I like. Really dry and lifeless. I have no idea why they're so popular

Hales - Too bright

I've heard others that I've been ambivalent about.

This is my criteria:

Full range speakers. I want tight, articulate bass down to 25 hz

Err on the side of warmth. I'm hypersensitive to bright sounding speakers

I listen to rock, classical and some jazz

Current electronics:

Rega Planet 2k CD
Cary SLP-88 preamp
PS Audio 200c amp

The electronics might get upgraded sometime in the future if the speakers warrant it.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

RGibran
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Re: Opinions and impressions


Quote:
This is my criteria:

Full range speakers. I want tight, articulate bass down to 25 hz

You should be able to buy a nice subwoofer for that budget.

RG

Jan Vigne
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Re: Opinions and impressions

The Gallos will accomplish what you've set out to find. You will have to buy the Gallos sub amplifier to get the full extension from the second voice coil of the Gallos woofer. And, if you are sensitive to "bright", ditch the PS Audio. The Gallos will show the flaws in that amplifier as will most contemporary speakers of any merit.

Otherwise, buy a pair of Spendor S3/5se's or Harbeth HL-P3's and a Hsu subwoofer. Unless you demand the system pin your ears back, this should be a more balanced system than the Gallos. But not with the PS audio amplifier.

cyclebrain
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Re: Opinions and impressions

Bose!

Sorry, couldn't help it.

Sounds like you have been doing your homework.
Personal preference.
Vandersteen?

jackfish
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Re: Opinions and impressions

Just get some Vandersteen 3A Signatures and be done with it.

jkalman
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Re: Opinions and impressions


Quote:
I am considering a speaker purchase in the $3500 range on the USED market and I've been having difficulties deciding. There are quite a number of speakers in that price range used that I haven't heard, so I was hoping for some recommendations.

These are the speakers that I heard and liked albeit not in that price range:

Avantgarde Duos and Trios - simply lovely. The trios are the best speakers by far I've ever heard.

JM Lab Utopia - I like the original better than the Be. Although the Be version is an objectively better speaker, the original spoke to me.

Revel Salon - Albeit not the most detail or articulate speaker, it was very enjoyable and musical

Gallo reference 3.1 - Pretty decent, although I think I can do better by spending a bit more.

NHT 3.3 and 2.9 - Very nice speakers for the money albeit a bit on the bright side

Monitor gold and silver lines - very detailed and articulate, but a bit thin and lack bass

Paradigm - Nice speakers for the money. I would prefer a bit more detail and bass

Speakers I heard and didn't like:

Genesis all models - too dry for my taste

Avalons various models - Sloppy bass, piercing highs

B&W - I've yet to hear a B&W speaker I like. Really dry and lifeless. I have no idea why they're so popular

Hales - Too bright

I've heard others that I've been ambivalent about.

This is my criteria:

Full range speakers. I want tight, articulate bass down to 25 hz

Err on the side of warmth. I'm hypersensitive to bright sounding speakers

I listen to rock, classical and some jazz

Current electronics:

Rega Planet 2k CD
Cary SLP-88 preamp
PS Audio 200c amp

The electronics might get upgraded sometime in the future if the speakers warrant it.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

The best speakers for cheap that I would still consider high-end sounding are Joseph Audio.

A lot of people like Vandersteens, so you should check those out as well. Personally I don't think they sound so great....

I would recommend others, but they are out of your price range, likely even if used.

Yiangos
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Re: Opinions and impressions

I too hate overbright loudspeakers.Here's two brand ro consider:ProAc and Spendor.

jkalman
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Re: Opinions and impressions

These are exactly in your price range: Joseph Audio RM25si. Joseph Audio speakers have been known for being very fairly priced, so if you get a chance, perhaps check them out.

These go down lower in bass frequency without deviating as much off of a flat FR, but they are almost twice the price. If you find a pair used though, perhaps you could get them for around $3500. RM33si

For the price range you are shopping in, I think you might have to be forgiving of "tight articulate bass down to 25Hz," or expect the rest of the speaker to not be high-end. IMO, I would save up and get a pair of Dynaudio Confidence C1 speakers and then add a parametric EQ subwoofer eventually, like the Revel B-15a.

To kill any brightness I would treat the room well, with OC 703 made yourself, or get some of those Real Traps with the stands that you can move around easily if WAF or kids are an issue (I recently recommended those to a friend of mine in Stratford CT ). A bright speaker issue is often a problem with the room, though not always...

bifcake
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Re: Opinions and impressions

I have never seen a nicely integrated sub/sat setup. There's always the hole in the frequency response where the sats cut out and the sub picks up. I prefer full range speakers.

I heard the Gallos, they're good, but they exhibit a wall of sound, rather than an articulated 3d image. Perhaps I'm asking too much, but I'm trying to see what can be done with this.

I've never heard the Vandersteens or Spendors. I'll check them out. Any Spendor models specifically I should look into?

Edit: I heard the Joseph Audio speakers, their top of the line and I wasn't impressed in the least.

jkalman
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Re: Opinions and impressions


Quote:
I have never seen a nicely integrated sub/sat setup. There's always the hole in the frequency response where the sats cut out and the sub picks up. I prefer full range speakers.

I heard the Gallos, they're good, but they exhibit a wall of sound, rather than an articulated 3d image. Perhaps I'm asking too much, but I'm trying to see what can be done with this.

I've never heard the Vandersteens or Spendors. I'll check them out. Any Spendor models specifically I should look into?

Edit: I heard the Joseph Audio speakers, their top of the line and I wasn't impressed in the least.

Try a sub with a lot of Parametric EQ options such as the Revel B-15a. It is seamless if you can figure out how to set it up properly (360 degree phase matching, level matching, three parametric EQs, high and low crossovers, plus software to set it all up to integrate properly). This includes measuring for the best sub placement prior to setup, i.e. finding the spots in the room where you will have the least low frequency boundary interference with a Radioshack SPL. You need the right features and you have to do the work to get the rewards. Then again, doing it properly is out of your budget anyway, so it is a bad recommendation unless you choose to save up more money to get the right sub.

As far as Joseph Audio goes, I wasn't impressed either (or I would have bought something of theirs myself), but it is the best you are going to do with your budget IMO.... I felt the same way about the Vandersteen 5a speakers at HE2007. To me they sounded grainy and dimensionless (yet other people continue to rave about them).

I don't think you will be happy with anything in your current price range, I could be wrong though, but that is why I recommended you wait and buy something you will truly cherish rather than waste money now and lose a lot of it when you upgrade later. I wouldn't recommend waiting if I hadn't gone through this myself at one point.

Buddha
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Re: Opinions and impressions

AlexO, that was a great set of information to accompany your question!

If only there were a way to get you some time with these speakers, I suspect you'd be happy...

http://cgi.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cl.pl?spkrplan&1190493379

For the money, you could add the extra amp needed to drive the woofers.

The broken power supply should be a cheap fix. There's actually an entire forum dedicated to Apogee speakers that would be a cool source for getting these babies running just right.

Apogee User's Group:

http://audioworld.com/cgi-bin/sw/forumdisplay.cgi?action=topics&number=1

Those speakers exhibit light speed performance and are very dynamic. The best part is that they image like mofo's and have that certain je ne sais pas that gives the listener that "live" feeling.

_

Someone mentioned Proac, which also seem to fit right in with the descriptions you gave, and every now and again some Sonus Fabers will pop up on the used market. I saw a pair of Extremas for sale for around 4K a few years ago and still mourn not having been able to buy them at the time.

Used speakers in the Audio Physic line may treat you right, too. The Virgo III might be priced in your range and is pretty sweet.

The Vienna Acoustics speakers could be worth your time, but I'm not sure on the cost of each model. I personally like the Sonus Fabers a little better, but it may be different for you.

Lastly, you owe it to yourself to check out some Magnepan speakers, just to see if that type of sound is up your alley. It's purely subjective, but be sure to take one bite to see if you like.

If you really wanna go against the grain, for under a grand you could get a pair of used Klipsch La Scala speakers and go whole hog with the horn and crossover mods. They can really be something!

This place does killer mods for Klipsch.

http://www.alkeng.com/

The further along I get in this crazy hobby, the more I'm convinced that I should be looking at these things as toys, first, not tools, if that makes sense...I mean, after all, we "play" music on them, right? There is no definitive product, so look at this as a stop along the path of Hi Fi fun.

You already mention your own listening biases/preferences, which is showing deeper insight than many people in the hobby can do! So, "play" the field and let us know if you've run into any of the speakers we've mentioned!

Cheers!

Jan Vigne
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Re: Opinions and impressions


Quote:
I heard the Gallos, they're good, but they exhibit a wall of sound, rather than an articulated 3d image.

I'm not sure how "articulated" you desire if you want more than the Gallos can manage at their price range. IMO you will need a single driver design to better the Gallos in soundstaging and "articulated" images and stay under $3k. But, single drivers come with their own set of compromises and you should be aware of what you will trade to get single driver benefits. There are more than enough single driver designs available on line that start with top notch Fostex or similar drivers. You can get a good sense of what a full range Fostex can do and the options you might choose by placing either "Fostex" or "full range driver" in a search engine. If soundstaging and "articulation" are high priorities, a full range driver is difficult to beat.

I've been listening through the Gallos at a friend's home on newer and higher priced gear than yours. I don't know what you heard the Gallos played with but I would go back and ask for a better demonstration. The speakers must be set up correctly and you can't just plop a chair into the room if you want "articulation".

The Gallos I've listened through are anything but a "wall of sound". Most reviewers seem to agree the Gallos are not two dimensional. Actually most tend to see the Gallos as a quite good value in high end speakers. Definitely not a wall of sound speaker. They easily disappear with images well beyond the room boundaries when positioned properly and driven by high quality gear. Read the reviews, see if you find anyone stating what you claim to have heard. Either you heard wrong or the dealer didn't want to sell a pair of Gallos.

I would tell you the problem you've encountered with sat/subs is largely in the LP filter of the sub. Most plate amplifiers are using a second order filter which demands the sub work too high up in frequency. The Hsu subs use a fourth order LP filter with an adjustable crossover that can be set as low as 30Hz. The Hsu sub integrated well with my LS3/5a's which are notoriously difficult to mate with a subwoofer. And it did so in my room which has a bit of a lump at 80Hz that isn't kind to satellite/subwoofer pairings. If your reference for sat/subs is a home theater system, then you have the wrong reference.

My personal preference is for the sat/sub combination. But, if you don't care for the Gallos and you don't like sat/subs, you'll have to decide what is important to you. Just how tied you are to flat response to 25Hz? High quality bass with extension is costly. Or to your budget? You can get what you want, but you'll have a very difficult time staying in your budget and the floor standing speaker that accomplishes 25Hz will very likely have compromises that won't exist in the sat/sub. Possibly a current NHT model might suit you. Or, other qualities? Most floorstanding speakers, with deep bass extension, will tend to sound like floorstanding boxes. At least at this price range. That is one of the advantages of the Gallos, they have a reasonably tight integration of very deep bass with a mini-monitor-like upper range. Exceptionally good for this price range.

Listen to the Vandersteen and the Joseph's if you have dealers available. But I would suggest you listen to the Gallos once more and the Spendor and Harbeth 3/5a clones before spending money on a big box. I like what I hear from the Gallos but I would still take the monitors. Personal preference.

bifcake
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Re: Opinions and impressions

Thanks for all the responses.

I have heard the Sonus Amati and I loved it except for the bass. I thought it was a bit thin and not articulated. I assume that the higher priced models address this, but that's way out of my price range.

Re: Gallos, it's not that I didn't like them, I did. I just thought that I was missing some nuances and depth of the images. The images were wide, but not deep. I think that they're really good for the money, I was just wondering if I could do better.

Someone mentioned the sub/sat with a parametric equalizer. That's way too much work for me. I don't want to spend months tweaking the thing. I want to listen to music, not really spend my time at the helm of starship enterprise.

I'll check out the proac, vandersteen, apogees and the others mentioned. Thank you for your recommendations.

Re: Magnepans, a friend of mine told me that he thought they couldn't deliver the bass and the dynamic range. Does anyone agree? I also went to the magnepan web site and the 3.6R, which is the one I can afford only goes down to 35hz, way above the 25hz I'm seeking. Any thoughts on that?

Also, what about Legacy Focus? Anyone have an opinion on that thing?

Thanks again. Keep 'em coming.

jkalman
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Re: Opinions and impressions


Quote:
Someone mentioned the sub/sat with a parametric equalizer. That's way too much work for me. I don't want to spend months tweaking the thing. I want to listen to music, not really spend my time at the helm of starship enterprise.

It is fairly simple as long as you can follow directions and have a computer to run the analysis software on (at least for the Revel Sub30). You set some initial parameters with test tones (such as levels and phase alignment) and then punch the frequency response SPLs to a certain octave fraction accuracy into the computer as per the test CD and computer program (it is fairly well automated except for having to punch in the numbers) and then you turn the knobs to the settings that the computer program figures out will integrate the FR properly between the sub and the speakers. It is even easier than it sounds IME.

Of course, if you prefer, you can spend weeks or months trying to do it by ear. It took me about an hour to set mine up using the programs.

Elk
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Re: Opinions and impressions

It appears that you appreciate that you have set forth a near impossible set of criteria to meet at the price you are willing to pay. I believe you will ultimately be faced with deciding what compromises you are willing to make.

The Maggies are nice and should meet your requirement for articulate - lots of detail comes out of these speakers. They are dynamic in the sense that they can produce dynamic nuance - they cannot play gut-wrenching loud however and will not satisfy those that need to feel as well as hear their music. Similarly they are not bass monsters.

For articulation, depth, dynamic nuance you may find it well worth the effort to check out Klipsch speakers. They are very nuanced. Again, not bass monsters and you need to properly set up a sub if you want deep sound.

Given that you really liked the Avantgarde speakers it seems worthwhile to seriously consider Apogee, Maggies and Klipsch. Different from one another but all are detailed and capable of tremendous dynamic nuance.

Not questioning your determination, but just so I understand your criteria: how did you decide on needing response to 25Hz? What do you listen to that requires this? As you know there is little musical energy down there so I assume you have a habit of listening to music that truly requires this, yes?

Buddha
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Re: Opinions and impressions


Quote:
Thanks for all the responses.

I have heard the Sonus Amati and I loved it except for the bass. I thought it was a bit thin and not articulated. I assume that the higher priced models address this, but that's way out of my price range.

Re: Gallos, it's not that I didn't like them, I did. I just thought that I was missing some nuances and depth of the images. The images were wide, but not deep. I think that they're really good for the money, I was just wondering if I could do better.

Someone mentioned the sub/sat with a parametric equalizer. That's way too much work for me. I don't want to spend months tweaking the thing. I want to listen to music, not really spend my time at the helm of starship enterprise.

I'll check out the proac, vandersteen, apogees and the others mentioned. Thank you for your recommendations.

Re: Magnepans, a friend of mine told me that he thought they couldn't deliver the bass and the dynamic range. Does anyone agree? I also went to the magnepan web site and the 3.6R, which is the one I can afford only goes down to 35hz, way above the 25hz I'm seeking. Any thoughts on that?

Also, what about Legacy Focus? Anyone have an opinion on that thing?

Thanks again. Keep 'em coming.

Hi, Alex!

I obviously agree with Elk, and reading this thread reminded me of something...

If you can get to any shows, that could be a totally fun "shopping trip."

The Rocky Mountain Audiofest in October is in Denver, and may be populated by the nicest, most enthusiastic audionuts on the planet.

CES/THE is in January in Vegas.

If you are in no hurry, and the trip would be cheap enough, either show may be the place to really sink your teeth into this purchase.

Also, there may be a great audio club in your area and you could listen to dedicated set-ups by dedicated audio geeks and get a feel for the limits of performance of many speakers and see just how many of your criteria could conceivably be met!

I've attened San Francisco and So Cal events. The San Diego group is mind blowingly friendly and knowledgeable.

As you search, there will always be some aspect of your expectations that isn't met, so I look forward to seeing what speaker hits it off with you the best.

If you like, let us know what part of the country you're in an we may know someone who knows someone.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Opinions and impressions


Quote:
Thanks again. Keep 'em coming.

That would be difficult since we've pretty much exhausted the supply of full range speakers that suit your requirements. Raise the low frequency cut off one half octave or the selling price by a month's pay and you'll get plenty of suggestions.

And you don't need a parametric EQ on a sub at this price range. Listen to the Hsu subs and decide if you require more in your room than they provide. If so, there are more effective ways to tame a room than with a two band parametric EQ on a sub. The room is what you will hear in this frequency range anyway. If the sub excites room problems, so will a full range speaker with extension down to 25Hz. One way or the other, you'll have to deal with the problems this sort of bass extension brings with it. Don't think you can just plop a pair of speakers with deep bass extension down in a room and get smooth sound without spending some money on room treatments and "fixes" for the type of bass response you desire. Your $2500 will grow expotentially for each half octave of bass extension you buy in order to treat the room to support this sort of response.

Yiangos
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Re: Opinions and impressions

I'd say the S-8 or even better the S-9 and if you are willing to take off your "audiophile" hat,try the SP-100.

bifcake
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Re: Opinions and impressions

Hi guys,

Thanks again for all the suggestions.

I'm in NYC, so I have access to various networks, shows and dealers. What I listed are my impressions as a result of various gatherings and demos. I was hoping that someone would know of some speaker that I haven't heard that would be within my price range and that would meet the criteria.

Re: 25hz requirement, there is fullness and richness to speakers capable of deep bass. Even though there may not be all that much musical information that deep, there is enough to give all music a greater dimension than limited frequency speakers can produce.

I keep asking about Legacy Focus because these speakers seem to have the specs I'm looking for, so I was wondering if anyone had any experience with these since they fall within my price range.

What about Hyperion 968? Anyone have experience with these speakers?

Someone mentioned S8 and S9. I'm afraid I'm not familiar with these model numbers. Which manufacturer makes these?

Oh, and the budget is $3500 not $2500

59mga
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Re: Opinions and impressions


Quote:

Someone mentioned S8 and S9. I'm afraid I'm not familiar with these model numbers. Which manufacturer makes these?

Oh, and the budget is $3500 not $2500

I believe Yiangos may be refering to Spendor loudspeakers www.spendoraudio.com
- the S8e, $3,200
- the S9e, $5,000
- the SP-100, $6,500

Having listened to the S8 and S9 I can say they are most enjoyable. Not sure why he would say that the SP-100 would be taking off one's "audiophile hat", or something to that effect. Granted, it is the old box style speaker but has tremedous sound.

jackfish
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Re: Opinions and impressions

I bet you couldn't tell $3000 worth of difference in bass output between the Legacy Focus 20/20 and the Vandersteen 3A Signature. As long as your amp can handle a 4 Ohm load, I'd give the Vandersteens a listen if you haven't already.

In 99.9999% of recorded music it is unlikely that anything approaches the 27.5 Hz of the lowest note produced by the piano. And I'm not sure just because a loudspeaker may be able to produce frequencies lower than that that program material above that will sound any better. How often do you listen to music containing sound produced by a BBb contrabass sarrusophone or a B

59mga
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Re: Opinions and impressions

I'm not familiar with Legacy or Vandersteen so I can't comment.

As for being able to hear 27.5 Hz...at my age I'm lucky to hear at all. Why do you think I stick to entry level audiophile gear.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Opinions and impressions

There's a lot to be said for low bass extension. Most of it has dollars signs in front of it. First, your room has to support that sort of bass extension. You can't just cram a 30' pressure wave into a 12' room. You don't need 30' to manage the response but you can all too easily buy too much woofer for your room and end up with less bass rather than more. I'm far more in favor of reasonable response in the main speakers and using a very good sub to get the last octave. A sub will give you more control over that last bit of extension. A sub can be placed where it sounds best allowing correct placement of the main speakers. Asking a full range speaker to extend beyond 35Hz is always costly, sometimes just plain dumb and most often difficult to balance with the rest of the frequency range where the music actually occurs.

Before you make any decisions, you might want to run a check on your room's ability to fit very deep bass in and the room problems you'll likely encounter with any speaker capable of such response. I believe Rive's Audio has such a calculator on their web page.

Monty
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Re: Opinions and impressions

I don't think you have to limit your selection of speakers to those that will go down to 25hz. Even speakers that only manage 35hz will likely produce 25hz at satisfying levels if positioned in the room well. I realize that isn't the whole story to deep extension, but just look at JA's measurements of the PSB Alpha B1 in Wes' room. The little booger is banging out 32hz with a little help from the room.

bifcake
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Re: Opinions and impressions


Quote:
I bet you couldn't tell $3000 worth of difference in bass output between the Legacy Focus 20/20 and the Vandersteen 3A Signature. As long as your amp can handle a 4 Ohm load, I'd give the Vandersteens a listen if you haven't already.

Did you prefer the Vandersteens to the Focus? I've seen Focus on Audiogon for $2500, so we're not talking about a $3k difference. In fact, they would be about the same price as the Vandersteens 3A signature. Given a choice, which would you prefer?

Thanks

Buddha
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Re: Opinions and impressions

I've heard both and thought the main differences were:

Vandy's had a more "laid back" image (which I like.)

Focus had a more up front, at the speaker baffle imaging plain.

Focus had a tad bit of midrange emphasis, but were' "punchier" than the Vandersteens.

I'd call the Focus more "rock and roll" than the Vandy, if that makes sense. I mean that term neutrally, not as a compliment of condemnation.

This has held true on several different systems.

You know, it's been a long time since I checked the prices, but maybe VMPS speakers may be to your liking.

Maybe some used Edgarhorns, too!

Cheers.

jackfish
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Re: Opinions and impressions

I wonder why the Vandersteen 3A Signatures appear to have retained about 58% of their value in the used market while the Legacy Focus appears to have only retained around 38% of its value? I have not heard the new Legacy Focus HD which has augmented bass alignment that the Legacy Focus 20/20 didn't and which I have heard. I don't remember feeling that there was any lack of bass from the Vandy 3A Signatures compared to the Focus 20/20. Overall, I preferred the 3A Signature to the Focus. But my ears/brain may hear things differently than someone else.

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Re: Opinions and impressions

Yes Mike,i was refering to the Spendor brand.Personally,i agree with you about the sp-100.it's just that everyonr else thinks it is not as "audiophile" sounding as other loudspeaker but i quess it is up to Alexo to decide if he likes it or not.I would purchase a pair anytime !

bifcake
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Re: Opinions and impressions

Thanks guys. You've been most helpful. I'll start planning an itinerary to preview various suggestions. It'll take a while since there are quite a few suggestions, but I'm not in a rush. I'd rather take the time and purchase once than going on a constant upgrade spree.

Yiangos
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Re: Opinions and impressions

BTW Alexo,someone mentioned Legacy Audio Focus,earlier in the post.Do try this one as is a great value-for-money loudspeaker and quite "adjustable" in almost any room.Also, in the secondhand market,another great value should be a pair of ProAc response 3.8.

cyclebrain
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Re: Opinions and impressions

Don't get to cought up in just frequency range.
The in room response of my Definitive BP7002's measured good down to 20 Hz, but after replacing with Watt Puppies that also measured good at 20 Hz, I was amazed by the difference in the quality and detail in the bass.
Don't sacrifice quality for range.

quadlover
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Re: Opinions and impressions

i agree with a couple of the earlier contributors. proac 3.5 or 3.8's should fit the bill nicely. also there is currently a set of vienna mahlers on audiogon for under $4000 if you have the room. i don't know if the bass will satisfy you but you might also consider shahinian obelisk's which you can pick up well under what you are looking to spend. i use a pair in my room instead of my quads when i feel the need for power and volume. good luck on your journey!

bifcake
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Re: Opinions and impressions

Just to throw a monkey wrench into this whole discussion, do you guys think that I would be better off just saving another $4-$5k or so and get either the Avantgarde Duos, Revel Salons or one of the other speakers I mentioned in my initial post?

I was pondering that, but then I figured that if I were to get those speakers, then I would have to get a different amp, preamp and CD player all at once, and then it would turn into a $15k proposition. Any thoughts on that? Should I get speakers in the $3500 price range and then do my upgrades little by little or should I save, get the speakers I want and then do the electronics little by little? I'm afraid that I won't be able to enjoy my system with the better speakers because they'll reveal all the flaws of my current setup.

Buddha
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Re: Opinions and impressions

Hey, Alex!

I admit to being really fond of the Avantgardes, and I bet they'd be more tolerant of your current gear than you expect.

For almost no money (and you'd easily be able to re-sell them at what you paid,) treat yourself and head out to listen to some Klipsch La Scalas and check out the Klipsch forums, as well as the Audio Asylum Hi Efficiency forums. Take a look at the mods people do, and maybe they would be a perfect "cheap" toy while you ponder the fututre. I find them to be very placement-flexible and there's loads of little things you can try tweaking to see what you notice.

In fact, there is so much to do, I wouldn't even know where to tell ya to start! Your dilemma is giving me a whole bunch of ideas!

Time for some exploration...

jackfish
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Re: Opinions and impressions

If you are adding to your speaker budget you owe it to yourself to listen to the Sonus Faber Grand Piano DOMUS.

bifcake
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Re: Opinions and impressions


Quote:
If you are adding to your speaker budget you owe it to yourself to listen to the Sonus Faber Grand Piano DOMUS.

How's the bass on these things? I heard the Amati Homage and I loved it except for the bass, which I thought was substandard. These seem to be of a different configuration. Do they sing like the Amatis?

jackfish
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Re: Opinions and impressions

I wonder about the room and its treatments in which you listened to the Sonus Faber Amati HOMAGE and how the ports were tuned. If there is a loudspeaker that does most musical material justice it is the Amati. Even the Grand Pianos exhibit satisfying bass extension to me. If the bass was an issue to you with the Amati, then perhaps you heard them in a lousy room and the ports were plugged.

bifcake
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Re: Opinions and impressions

I heard it in a dealer showroom. I don't know if the port was plugged. I assume it wasn't. It would make no sense for a dealer to plug the port.

jackfish
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Re: Opinions and impressions


Quote:
I heard it in a dealer showroom. I don't know if the port was plugged. I assume it wasn't. It would make no sense for a dealer to plug the port.


Actually, one might depending on the listening room and their sonic quality preferences.

bifcake
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Re: Opinions and impressions

Has anyone heard Zu Definition Pro? How do they stack up?

KBK
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Re: Opinions and impressions

Find a speaker where the designer has opted to use the Morel MDT-33 tweeter. Smart designers know it is the most ballsy and brassy (in the proper proportions) and lowest distortion tweeter, with the largest dynamic and frequency range. Overall, once again, the best compromise of sonic 'components', lowest distortion, and the best overall tweeter in existence, at this time.

Anyone using this tweeter and then keeps using it, will be building speakers the way you want them to sound. They will tend to use Dynaudio, Morel, Audio Technology (Skaaning) or similar drivers. The kinds where the internal resonance issues that are inherent to the driver design, is the most balanced and requires the least amount of 'correction', or taming (via the crossover).

This is possible to find on the used market.

For example, buy an older 3-way Dynaudio system..and open up the box. Look at the crossover. If there are any electrolytic capacitors in there, have them replaced with polypropylene capacitors.

Done. Happy Alex, is the result.

dcstep
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Re: Opinions and impressions

I love this thread. The OP listed several speakers that he was considering and asked for opinions. No one discussed any of those speakers and all suggested their own favorites. Now someone's suggesting that we select speakers based on the tweeter maker. I'm sure that's a fine tweeter,but it's only one element of a relatively complex model.

Oh well...

I think Alex knows what he likes anyway, as he seemed to lay it all out pretty well in his original post.

Dave

bifcake
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Re: Opinions and impressions

I heard the Magnepans 3.6R today. Oh my!!! I was blown away. I haven't heard anything under 20k that could even remotely touch this! At $4400, it's downright steal! It doesn't do the bass as low as I would like, but it does everything else so well, I almost pooped in my pants. These are a major contender now.

Elk
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Re: Opinions and impressions

Maggies have a wonderful sense of life to them. I heard their big 20's a couple of years ago powered by Atmosphere amps which produced the most lifelike piano attack that I have heard. Piano is a percussion instrument after all.

What was powering them? Have you head them with a tube amp?

Where did you hear them? I find that Maggies have to be set up carefully to sound good.

Don't be afraid of the bass limitations. Oddly enough, they can mate quite well with a subwoofer.

I should have thought to suggest these to you. I too find the Adventgarde horns very attractive and understand what you like about them. Now if there weren't so expensive...

bifcake
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Re: Opinions and impressions

This was the first time I heard the Maggies. They weren't powered by a tube amp. It was some sort of a setup that I haven't seen before. Amps looked like pyramids, don't know what they were.

They weren't setup in an ideal space. The room was rather small, they were perhaps 3-4ft in front of the back wall, and 3-4 feet away from the side walls and there couldn't have been more than 4 feet between them. They sounded absolutely wonderful.

KBK
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Re: Opinions and impressions

You know you are finally at that audio point, that states that you are a real audiophile when this happens:

A pair of friends hold a set of Maggie SMGa's up in the air, with the bottoms about 3-4 feet off the floor, with the panels perfectly vertical.

Then, Maggies image and float the sonics 'correctly' (Whatever that means), instead of the image trying to head into the floor.

It's kinda like the priests holding the idols up, and you genuflect in front of the proffered twin god(s).

And their glorious countenance radiates down upon you, and you receive the message you came there to hear. And there was. Etc.

Now go wash your pantaloons.

As for pyramids, they would be either the Nagra units (small, two part-two tone), or if tall and all aluminum with wiggly heat sinks, they'd be the 'Edge' units.

KBK
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Re: Opinions and impressions


Quote:
I love this thread. The OP listed several speakers that he was considering and asked for opinions. No one discussed any of those speakers and all suggested their own favorites. Now someone's suggesting that we select speakers based on the tweeter maker. I'm sure that's a fine tweeter,but it's only one element of a relatively complex model.

Oh well...

I think Alex knows what he likes anyway, as he seemed to lay it all out pretty well in his original post.

Dave

In all seriousness, as someone who builds such, I can tell you that: folks who know that tweeter, almost, to a person..know how to make the kind of speaker that Alex speaks about. No joke. Too many folks design speakers by the numbers or by the technology's 'newness' or 'cool factor'. Folks who use that tweeter are highly educated designers who -in all seriousness- know shit from shinola.

bifcake
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Re: Opinions and impressions

Yep, it was Nagra amps.

Nagra pre-amp and some Italian CD player, I forget the name.

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