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stuart1927
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Recommended floor standing speaker up to $5k

Hi Folks...I'm new to the forum and wanted to get some ideas about the best Floor standing speaker for a $5k budget.

I currently have a Denon PMA 1500ae amp (matching SACD player) and Acoustic energy Aegis 3 floor standers. As budget speakers go, they've been great, but I'm looking to upgrade.

Into the mix, I'm also looking at getting the Line Magnetic 219ia tube amp. Although a SET amp with moderate power (on paper) ...I don't think this will have any problems driving virtually any speakers.

So.....I've started my research and here are the suspects I've rounded up so far for my budget:

1. Kef R900 (killer deal to be had currently!))
2. Revel F208
3. Sonus Faber Venere 3
4. Vienna Acoustic Beethoven Baby grand
5. Paradigm Signature S6 (prob too expensive!)
6. Focal Aria 948

I've also been intrigued by the offerings from Definitive Technology (ST-L) and Golden Ear Triton 1's, as well as some of the off track options like the Tektron Pendragon and Zu Audio Omen Def.

The problem (if it really is a problem) is that you find great reviews for everything so it's tough to really make a distinction of what would really fit better.

The speakers are very much for 2 channel Hi-Fi, I already have a home cinema system upstairs with the Acoustic Energy Radiance speakers, which are great BTW, but I want a really great pair of speakers for the new amp I'm getting.

I like the idea of big old school speakers that really excel in delivering a great sound. Speakers that will last a life time potentially. I have a pretty large listening space, so big speakers are no problem for me....in fact I tend to like the idea of big heavy speakers.

The music I listen to is primarily instrumental, ranging from Jazz / Fusion and Progressive. I'm a bass player so want to be able to hear and feel the bass, but I also want things to be accurate and subtle. A lot of the music I listen to has piano, bass and complex drums in the mix. It's usually very dynamic.

So really I'm just looking for some feedback as to the selections above, any comments or alternative suggestions? There are so many speakers on the market it's almost impossible to cover them all.

As mentioned, I am intrigued by the def Technology and golden ear speakers, but not sure if people here consider them to be serious in terms of audiophile quality. I'm also not too convinced by on board / powered subs and long term reliability?

Anyway...hope some of you guys can help me out and help me focus a bit more!

Stuart

bierfeldt
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I love the Revels

I am biased in that I own a pair of the Performa3 bookshelf speakers but got a chance to demo the F208s powered by Levinson equipment and agree completely with the Stereophile review. They are amazing. They offer a great level of detail with the tiniest bit of warmth. Tight, clear bass. They sound great off axis. The Revels are just amazingly good speakers.

I have never heard a Def Tech speaker I like, even at the higher price points. Everyone of them is bright. It is just the nature of their sound. If you like them, you might seriously consider some of the higher end items from Kipsch.

I have heard those Kefs and am not a huge fan. I found them very fatiguing. I would take a pair of B&W CM9s over them any day which really aren't a bad value at $3K a pair.

I would also check out Monitor Audio Gold GX200's, the Dynaudio Excite X38s and the Wharfedale Jade 7s.

The Dynaudio's have extremely tight, clean bass and that Excite are just awesome speakers. I am continuously impressed every time I hear a Dynaudio speaker.

The Monitor Audio Gold's remind me of the old Infinity Renaissance line which is one of my favorite speakers of all time. The Wharfedale Jade's are distinct and are kind of the anti-Def Tech. Ultra detailed but warm. By far the warmest high end speaker I have ever heard.

I have not listened to the others and can offer not point of view.

Regarding reviews, you are right. They are not helpful unless you have a frame of reference. You need to get out and demo these. Better would be to demo them in your home.

wkhanna
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Zoology .....

If yu are leaning toward lower-power (relatively) valve amplification & still want dynamics along with low-eng grunt, you may want to consider Zu.....

For example:

http://www.zuaudio.com/loudspeakers/soul-superfly

Bill – on the Hill
Practicing Curmudgeon & Audio Snob
– just an “ON” switch, Please –

stuart1927
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Zu and Tektron

Yes I mentioned both the Zu and Tektron speakers, which are interesting, but there seems to be a lot of positive and negative discussion on them, which I guess you get with everything, especially on forums. I think they would deliver the power and bass response I'm after, but maybe not the subtlety? It's also not really possible to trial these particular speakers as they are internet purchase only....not so many people of forums with actual experience with these it seems. I guess the problem is I want audiophile quality in terms of clarity and openness, but I also want strong dynamics and taught / fast bass response. I guess my $5k budget is a tough one in terms of ticking all the boxes, but I must admit, the Focal aria 948's are doing pretty well in terms of my wish list. The Dynaudio speakers do look good also, so maybe I will see if I can have a look at them.

The other speakers that did look interesting were the Klipsch Palladium P-37F's. These are more expensive, but look good on paper. Very little in the way of reviews though. If I start pushing the budget to that level then it opens up many more contenders!

Thanks for the replies so far....very helpful....stuart

bierfeldt
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One other thought

If a dealer is near you, the Acoustic Zen Adagio is a magnificent speaker. Really magnificent. $4300 for the pair is a great value. I went specifically to listen to the Adagio Jr but my dealer only had the adagio's to listen to. I also listened to the Kef LS50s at the same time. I am thinking that the Adaio's might have been why I found the LS50's underwhelming. Might be the most neutral, balanced speaker I have ever heard. Your desire is to have tight, crisp, bass and they will deliver. I might like these better than the Revels or the Dynaudios. They are awesome but tough to find.

The only caveat is that I listened to them with a Bryston power amp and pre amp driving them. I am not sure how they will perform driven by the more modest power of your integrated.

commsysman
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Amplifier Choice
stuart1927 wrote:

Hi Folks...I'm new to the forum and wanted to get some ideas about the best Floor standing speaker for a $5k budget.

I currently have a Denon PMA 1500ae amp (matching SACD player) and Acoustic energy Aegis 3 floor standers. As budget speakers go, they've been great, but I'm looking to upgrade.

Into the mix, I'm also looking at getting the Line Magnetic 219ia tube amp. Although a SET amp with moderate power (on paper) ...I don't think this will have any problems driving virtually any speakers.

So.....I've started my research and here are the suspects I've rounded up so far for my budget:

1. Kef R900 (killer deal to be had currently!))
2. Revel F208
3. Sonus Faber Venere 3
4. Vienna Acoustic Beethoven Baby grand
5. Paradigm Signature S6 (prob too expensive!)
6. Focal Aria 948

I've also been intrigued by the offerings from Definitive Technology (ST-L) and Golden Ear Triton 1's, as well as some of the off track options like the Tektron Pendragon and Zu Audio Omen Def.

The problem (if it really is a problem) is that you find great reviews for everything so it's tough to really make a distinction of what would really fit better.

The speakers are very much for 2 channel Hi-Fi, I already have a home cinema system upstairs with the Acoustic Energy Radiance speakers, which are great BTW, but I want a really great pair of speakers for the new amp I'm getting.

I like the idea of big old school speakers that really excel in delivering a great sound. Speakers that will last a life time potentially. I have a pretty large listening space, so big speakers are no problem for me....in fact I tend to like the idea of big heavy speakers.

The music I listen to is primarily instrumental, ranging from Jazz / Fusion and Progressive. I'm a bass player so want to be able to hear and feel the bass, but I also want things to be accurate and subtle. A lot of the music I listen to has piano, bass and complex drums in the mix. It's usually very dynamic.

So really I'm just looking for some feedback as to the selections above, any comments or alternative suggestions? There are so many speakers on the market it's almost impossible to cover them all.

As mentioned, I am intrigued by the def Technology and golden ear speakers, but not sure if people here consider them to be serious in terms of audiophile quality. I'm also not too convinced by on board / powered subs and long term reliability?

Anyway...hope some of you guys can help me out and help me focus a bit more!

Stuart

There is NO WAY that any SET amp can even begin to drive any of those speakers; that is absolutely ridiculous. Anyone who tells you anything to the contrary is extremely ignorant. Only speakers with a sensitivity of 92 db/watt or higher will give possibly adequate sound levels with that kind of power. The Steve Huff review of that amp, by the way, is so full of outright BS that it made me want to throw up. Many of his claims are outrageous and fly in the face of objective provable facts. It's sort of like someone claiming that they pulled a 20,000 pound trailer down the freeway with a Fiat 500.

Most of those speakers will not perform at their best unless you have at least 80 watts of power to drive them. It would be really foolish to buy that amplifier without first consulting with some knowledgeable professionals in the audio field about the problems you will have..

The Vienna, Revel, and KEF speakers are the ones I would consider, but forget that amplifier.

There are two amplifiers I would recommend to you; the Musical Fidelity M6INT, which costs $3000, and is one of the best I have ever heard...and the Audio Research VSi75, which is $8000, and also excellent (and is a tube amplifier).

My speakers are the Vandersteen Treo speakers, which give sound to die for, but They are $6500.

The Vandersteen Model 3A Signature speakers are $4500, I believe, and I would recommend them to you.

Demondog
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Reviews and opinions won't take you far.

Looks like all the usual suspects have been mentioned in the original post, and subsequent responses. I've listened to over half of them including the KEF, Revel, Focal, Golden Ear (2's), Sonus Faber (venere 2.5), and thought they all sounded very good to excellent. If I were you, at this point, I would narrow it down to speakers I could audition in person, and then start listening. It sounds to me though that you are still in the speculation phase.

BTW- Regarding the comment "There are so many speakers on the market that it's almost impossible to cover them all." So true, but it looks like you are giving it your best!

And, "...in fact I tend to like the idea of big heavy speakers." I guess that rules out Evolution Acoustics MMMicro One. Claimed -3dB bass extension is only 35Hz, but you wouldn't know it by listening.
http://www.evolutionacoustics.com/loudspeakers/microone/

And, "I'm also not too convinced by on board / powered subs and long term reliability?" This I wouldn't worry about. Should be no more or less reliable than any electronics / speakers.

Having been through a similar speaker search not too long ago, I think I know what you are going through. (I chose one of the speakers on your list in the end.) Even though I don't think it's a good idea to make a choice without listening to all the candidates, I believe that the decision is often largely based on factors other than sound, whether people realize it or not.

Good luck, and enjoy the process.

P.S. I wasn't going to say anything about the amp, but I did get the impression that the traits desired in the new amplifier, and in the speakers mentioned, are not aligned. Typically people decide on speaker first, then an amp to mate, or at least they should. Personally I'm looking for 300 watts or so for my big heavy speakers.

wkhanna
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Demondog wrote:
Demondog wrote:

......people decide on speaker first, then an amp to mate, or at least they should.....

Sage advice, IMHO.

Bill - on the Hill
Practicing Curmudgeon & Audio Snob
- just an “ON” switch, Please

bierfeldt
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on a side note

that Denon does have pre-amp outs and is rated for 105w into 6 ohms which is the impedance on a bunch of these floor standers. With the pre-outs, it is easy to add an external power amp if additional power is wanting.

I would 2nd commsysman's recco on Musical Fidelity. The M6PRX is a mind bogglingly good power amp at $3500. Best sounding power amp for the money.

If that isn't in the budget, a Marantz MM7025 for $799 is 140w into 8ohms, 170w into 6ohms would deliver a big step up in power and is a very good sounding power amp for the money. I have am MM8003 which is an 8 channel version, and it sound great. It powers my home theatre. It isn't in the same league at the Musical Fidelity, but it is less than 1/4 the price but delivers way better than 1/4 of the quality in sound.

Alternatively, you could get two 200w monoblocks from Outlaw audio, an Emotiva XPA2 for $899 or a Parasound Halo A23 for $995. All would be a step forward in power and will deliver high quality sound.

The beauty of all of these is that they offer both balanced and unbalanced connections. It could be connected today to the Denon, but would offer the flexibility to add a balanced pre amp in the future.

stuart1927
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commsysman...really??

You seem to be very negative about the Line Magnetic amp and of Steve Huff's review in particular. Are you coming from this from the perspective of personal experience? I've found that specs and figures, although useful as a baseline / reference, can often be completely misleading also. Nothing should take precedence over actual listening experience. I read a lot of hifi forums and I think some people get so hung up on the specs that they don't actually listen to the music. How the music sounds is priority no 1 for me. Thanks for the other suggestions...I have checked them out before, but the LM 219ia seems to offer a lot more amp for the money IMHO...sbb

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