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smrex13
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Speaker recommendations for my entry-level system?

Hi everyone,

I appreciate the feedback you have given me on other posts here.  After much indecision (and drooling over high-priced separates, DAC/transports, etc.) I decided to start with a basic, high-quality, affordable system - CD player, integrated amp, speakers (and one set of good speaker cables and good interconnects).  So far, I have the CD player and amp on the way:

Amp:  Rogue Sphinx Integrated 

CD:  Oppo BDP-105

So, now I need to make a speaker decision.  I don't have a good audio shop in my area, so I'll have to buy these and deal with the return shipping if I don't like them.  I'm looking in the sub $2,000USD range, and so far I have read extremely positive things about the following:

Monitor Audio Silver Rx6 ($1,000 on sale) - Stereophile Class B

Golden Ear Triton 7 ($1,500)

Tekton Lore-S ($1,400)

And a couple of good sales:

Focal Profile 918 (reg 5k, on sale for $2,000)!

Focal 826W ($2,100) - Stereophile Class B

I'm leaning towards the Rx6 because of the low cost and reviews seem overwhelmingly positive without any significant negative points.  I really want the most neutral, transparent speaker possible.  Due to the fact that I listen mostly to CDs, I'd prefer to avoid "hot" sounding tweeters.  

Any thoughts on the above or others I may have missed?

Thanks again - what a great time to get back into this hobby after many years.  So much good, affordable stuff out there!

Scott

Milhouse
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rx6

From what I have heard of the RX6 with a NAD home theather amplifier, they do have hot sounding tweeter. There is also a lack in bass for home theather. Braveheart movie, there is a little boy at the beginning of the movie and he was making the tweeters go wild (in a bad way). I prefered the Silver 8 with a Marantz Amp for stereo, and took the bass off one dot. But when trying to get it loud, the Marantz 8005 was laking in power so it didnt sound right anymore

But im not an audiophile it any way. I just hear it when it sounds good or bad.

audiophile2000
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Listen First if You Can

I would recomend taking a listen to the PSB line up as many of thier speakers are in your price range you are looking at. I think PSB has done a great job in general hitting above thier price point.

Also one thing to note, speaker choice is very personal so i would try to avoid buying one without listening to it.

I'm currently looking into a potenital speak upgrade (somewhere in the 10 to 20k range and can tell you thate i have heard speakers i prefer to mine, but i have also heard speakers that dislike. The point being, speaker manufactrues focus on different items when they desgin their speakers and you need to hear which company/line balances what you are looking for. Also, I would also recomend looking at bookshelf / sub systems as those can be great value for money, but again its all taste. I have speakers now that can acually play fairly low but still find you need a sub to fill the bottom octive so i would keep that in mind as well

bierfeldt
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I listened to Monitor Audio 6's over the weekend

I listened to the new Monitor Audio Silver 6 line.  The dealer I was at also had the Wharfedale Jade's, PSB Image & the Revel Performa3 F206. 

These were being powered by an NAD Master Series integrated.  The Revels were by far the most transparent but they are way, way more expensive at $3000K per pair.  I thought next best sounding was the Monitor Audio Silver 6s followed by the Wharfedale Jade 5's  and then the PSB Image T6. 

I was using two primary track's to test, Only the Young from Journey as a brightness test.  The opening of that song is just painful on certain speakers.  All 4 passed that test as there was no raspiness.  The second song was Don't Give Up from Peter Gabriel's Secret World Live.  As I said, the Revels were by far the msot detailed, and to me, neutral.  Not a touch of brightness but not too much warmth.  The Silver 6s had the same, neutral sound but with less detail.  The great thing about a live track is you can hear the crowd in the background at times.  Additionally, Paula Cole's voice can sound a bit bright on the wrong speaker.  Both speakers were balanced in sound, but the crowd was more apparent on the Revels.  The Wharfedale's were warm to me and much less efficient.  They sounded good, lots of detail, but very warm.  They were also the most expensive pair at $3199.  I though the PSBs were still neutral, but relative to the others in this set, just a tiny bit bright.  To be clear, I am not saying they were bright, just a touch brighter than the Silver 6s or the Revels, but not bright like Deffinitive or Klipsch.  Roughly the same level of detail as the Monitor Audio Silver 6s. As a side note, both are far superior to the B&W 6XX line. 

I did get to listen to the older Silver Rx1 which was the bookshelf.  To me, the tweeter sounded just a touch brighter than the Silver 6s, but that isn't a really fair comparison. 

That may not be all that helpful, but I can say that if you are looking for a neutral speaker with good detail and clarity, you will be very happy with the current line of Monitor Audio Silver 6s or the PSB Images. 

 

 

commsysman
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Speakers

I had the PSB Image T6 speakers for two years, and I would not call them bright at all; maybe a bit mellow, actually. They are excellent speakers.

I suspect that the recordings you were listening to had a slightly "hot" mix, and that the T6 simply reproduced that accurately. Don't blame the messenger...lol. Most "pop" recordings are a bit hot in the mix.

I understand that you need to listen to what you are ultimately going to listen to, but in general i find that "pop" recordings are so artificially miked and mixed and vary so much that they are a poor standard to use for evaluating the tonal characteristics of speakers.

I find that acoustic instruments such as violin, banjo, guitar, flute, clarinet etc. come much closer to a standard reference that you can use for a more objective evaluation. The main thing is to pick a few tracks you know well and use them repeatedly for evaluation.

One recording that I use a lot, because it has such a wide variety of instruments and vocals, well recorded, is "JAZZ" by Ry Cooder. That is a very good test, from very low bass to some unusual instruments to most standard ones.

Another thing I always listen to is a classical guitar recording I am familiar with. If you can hear the left hand sliding on the strings, that is almost certainly a very "hot' or bright speaker (or system). That is a good test. You should not hear that very much.

I would also look at some of the Focal speakers that Music Direct has discounted now. I assume that this is because a new model line is going to come out, but Focal makes some very nice-sounding speakers.

The Focal 816V is a really good speaker, which normally sells for $2200/pair, but Music Direct is selling them for $1319 now.

For the best-sounding speakers money can buy (for under $10k), the speakers I have now are the Vandersteen Treos. Superb!

Catch22
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I agree with Comm

And only add that I am super picky about the piano and the human voice when evaluating speakers. A speaker should get the piano right from top to bottom.

musicaddict
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Agree on PSB (but there are others)

First, I think you're off to a good start with your integrated amp and disc player selections.  I'm sure you'll enjoy them (I have the BDP-105 as well).

Aside from the Tekton speakers, which I do not know, your list borders on the analytical side to me.  I sure think the Monitor lineup is a bit hot and strident for my liking.  I recall wanting to turn them down during the audition.  However you'd never catch me with a pair of older Vandersteens either-too mushy.  Vandersteen's newer items are great and I also thought the Treos were wonderful speakers but a bit high for your budget. 

I strongly agree with the PSB recommendation.  Based on all my listening to different models I think you'd be hard pressed to find a better budget speaker for the money (but I'm sure there are some out there).  I've heard some Golden Ear models though and have really enjoyed them and do feel they are a strong contender as well.

If you truly are looking for accuracy then during auditions you ought to be listening to acoustic instruments (assuming we know what they should sound like) and I agree wholeheartedly if the speaker can't make a piano sound like a piano, keep looking.  Better though, might be listening to music or soundtracks that you like and would be using in the future.  If your speaker is highly accurate and you hate the sound nothing has been gained.

My original good speakers were Martin Logan SL3s, which were my two channel speakers for 16 years, before acquiring a pair of Dynaudio Sapphires a few years ago.  Those SL3's could be strident or beautiful, depending on the amplification.  I listened to a lot of speakers before the Sapphire purchase and a key criteria for me when listening (aside from detail, soundstage, etc., etc.) was whether I wanted to turn the volume up or down.  B&W 802Ds were listened to a lot but they are not for me for the long haul (clarity bordering on stridency makes one leave the room).

Good luck with your search and auditioning!

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