bierfeldt
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Starting a search for a speaker upgrade
commsysman
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You say your amp is rated for 200 watts at 4 ohms. That is good for the Treos.

I am using a Musical Fidelity M6PRX to drive mine and I have more power than I need. I previously used a Bryston 3BSST to drive it and that worked fine too.

I used to have the Vandersteen 3A speakers, but they were simply too wide for my current setup, which has the speakers on either side of a base unit with a 60-inch Sony TV on it. The Treos are so much easier to fit in, with a much smaller base and tapering to the top.

The 16" width of the Vandersteen Model 2 and 3 really has a lot of wasted space, and while that was OK at my huge old house, it is too much at my current abode. The Treo gets essentially the same stuff in a much more space-efficient package.

For extensive measurements, details and comments read the John Atkinson review of the Treos from a couple of years ago.

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In the referenced article, from 2013, John states that he recommends an amplifier with at least 100 watts per channel for the Treos.

Since the Treo is rated for 85 db/watt, that means that 100 watts will deliver a 105 db sound level. My SPL meter indicates peaks of around 100 db when I listen to something with really loud peaks like The Firebird Suite or Night on Bald Mountain (played VERY loud), so I think 100 watts is quite adequate to reproduce some serious peaks at live orchestra levels through the Treos.

Your amp should easily handle it.

bierfeldt
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commsysman,

Thanks for your POV on the Treos. I wanted to make sure that I wasn't going to be underpowering them. Because of the foot print and the aesthetic, these and the Verity Finns are at the top of my list. Those and the Wilson Beneschs (if I can find them). I just need to trek out to NJ to hear them and see if I can arrange getting an in home demo.

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I'm really interested in following your journey. It's always nice to read your impressions and it's also fun spend money vicariously...

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I am also looking for an upgrade from my existing loudspeakers which are a pair of Quad 21L. I would like to hear John Atkinson'c comparison of Spendor D7 Vs PSB Imagine T3, since he has listened to both of them. Revel F208 is also on my list. I plan to visit a dealer soon to listen to some Focal Olympica, but that would be a bit beyond my budget, unless financing is an option. You are correct in choosing a list of speakers that are more efficient. I have a TVC with the Parasound A21 amp and efficiency of the loudspeaker is important to me. That is why I am not considering the PMC Twenty 26 which is supposed to be a very neutral loudspeaker. Have you given a thought about the ProAc D48R? Tone Audio review indicates that even though they are rated at 4 Ohms, they can be driven efficiently by a tube amp. Again this is a bit above my budget, but I hear great things about ProAcs. The PSB and the Revel are the only 2 loudspeakers I was able to audition, in 2 separate systems.

bierfeldt
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I haven't heard those. I based my list on the speakers I can audition. I will look into those and see if I can find dealers to audition. The Verity Finns are my favorites at this point but I haven't listened to the Vandersteen's yet. I will post here as I get to listen to each speaker.

bierfeldt
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I have given this some thought and realize what I am trying to accomplish is getting as close to Wilson Audio's sound without actually spending $16 to $22K.

So, I have shifted a bit and am going to do some additional auditions. Any thoughts on -

Raidho X-1 - Absolute sound raves about them but I have been told you HAVE to be in the sweet spot for them to sound great
Wilson Benesch Square 1 Series 2 - Very different sound profile and presentation. I am curious
Endeavor E3s - Recommended by the dealer. I know nothing

Additionally, I am looking into:

DeVore Gibbon 3XL was recommended by a friend as a must listen
Acoustic Energy Reference 1 - same

They are quite a bit less expensive than the above speakers but given my stated desire, they were suggested as worth while listens that may be superior to the Revel's.

I am going to try the B&W 805 D3s a second time driven by a solid state amp but am thinking they may be a poor choice.

I am still considering the:

Verity Finn's - Very musical and the best sounding speaker I have heard. Was driven by McIntosh equipment and am curious what they will sound like driven by my Rogue/Ayre combo.
Vandersteen Treos - I need to schlep out to NJ to listen to them but will at some point.

The other option is to buy a used pair of Wilsons like the Watt/Puppy 8s or Sophia IIs. Or sucking it up and saving my pennies to get a new pair of Sabrinas.

Anyone who has a POV on this would be a help.

bierfeldt
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So I demo'd the Raidho X-1s today. Holy crap!!!!!! What an amazing speaker. I can't believe that tiny pair of speakers produces that sound. I get why Raidho is said to produce the best tweeter in the world. I literally had chills listening to Peter Gabriel's Don't Give Up and Roger Waters Perfect Sense.

The level of nuance and detail was jaw dropping yet no fatigue. Sitting there listening to them I just kept wanting to hear more and more songs. And it was like they had no discernible sweet spot. The sound stage was massive on and off axis. In a smallish say <500 sf room they are mind bogglingly good. These are my next set of speakers, no question.

I listened to the Endeavor E3s as well and they were great and in a much larger space would be an incredibly good choice. A clear step above the Revel Performa Line but just not as magical as the Raidhos.

cb5300
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Have you checked out Legacy Audio's line of speakers? You might be pleasantly surprised at how well they match up against other speakers.

www.legacyaudio.com

bierfeldt
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I just saw that Legacy introduced the Calibre in the notes from the NY Audio Show. I unfortunately didn't make it this year and didn't get to hear them. That being said, I see two issues:
- the side firing portion of the speaker will be too close to the wall in my room. My room is best suited to front firing speakers.
- it looks Soho Audio Source, the NYC dealer for Legacy is out of business. The website is gone, the suite they used to have is now a recording studio so I am not going to easily be able to hear them.

I could overcome issue two but that side firing portion of the speaker is an insurmountable issue for me. It is the same reason I didn't get the Sunfire Cinema Ribbons in my current price range.

Right now, I love the Raidho's and they are the best sounding speaker I have heard in the sub $10K price range. I still am trying to hear the Vandersteen Treo's but that is really the only other speaker I think will work in my space, is in my price range and has a reputation for a monster soundstage. That was the thing about the Raidho's. It feels like they defy the laws of physics the sound was so big.

bierfeldt
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I listened to the $16K Revel Ultima Studio 2 over the weekend driven by a Mark Levinson integrated. it was a very interesting experience. In the sweetspot all I can say is wow! What a spectacular speaker The soundstage is wide and the speakers just disappear. The level of detail, nuance and separation on certain instruments was just amazing. Aesthetically, they are gorgeous.

What was interesting is moving just out of the sweetspot the soundstage fell apart. Off axis performance was very poor. Sound became highly localized at the speakers and was both distracting and fatiguing. I was surprised by this since the Performa3s are so good off axis.

Incidentally, while I was in the store I listened to the new Concerta2 line along with the Performa2 F208s. Revel may have made a mistake and killed off the Performa3 line. The Concerta2s are spectacular. The soundstage was wide and deep and off axis performance was even better than the Performa3s which is saying a lot because that speakers stands out for having spectacular off axis performance. They are a bit inefficient but if you have the power to drive them well, they are a steal.

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bierfeldt

I,too, would like following you on this journey. I was in the same spot last year (2015). I chose Thiel loudspeakers and would be remiss if I did not extend an invitation for audition. Models CS 2.4 or CS 2.7 will match your gear and integrate well w/ the Sunfire (wonderful sub).

Another brand to add;
Sonus Faber that will match your system.

bierfeldt
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Thanks for the note.

I had a great experience recently listening too Magico S1s, Scansonic MB-6 and Kaiser Chiara's. In that conversation I came to realize I seem to really like sound from monitor's vs. floorstanders but am continuing to explore.

I really liked but didn't love the Magico's. They are a great speaker and I can see where people could really love them. I literally had to ask the dealer which speaker I was listening too as the sound was not localized to the speaker at all. The soundstage was great and imaging was special but to me was just a small step down from the Raidho's IMO. If I was going to get a floorstander from what I have listened to thus far, the S1 MKII would be it however I have yet to hear a few others.

My favorite speaker by far I have heard thus far was the Kaiser Chiara but at $24K is 50% more than I wanted to spend. The floor model at that retailer was available for a more modest $17K but it is still an awful lot. The most spectacular soundstage I have heard from a speaker that is not $50K. The nuance and detail combined with a totally enveloping sound stage was magnificent. I truly love this speaker.

At the moment, for the money Raidho's are my 1st choice and am not sure if I would go with the X-1, XT-1 or if I can find a floor model, the C1.1. That being said, I am going to definitely listen too:

1. Devore 3XL - a good friend raves about them and aesthetically they are beautiful
2. Wilson Sabrina - I love Wilson's sound and the Sabrina is at the high end of my price range.
3. Sonus Faber Olympica 1 - same friend and this is his favorite speaker manufacturer and your recco seals it. Seems like a must listen too.
4. Acoustic Zen Crescendo Mark II - I love the Adagio for the money but can do better. This is parity to the Sabrina and a local dealer has it for me to listen too

Brands I would like to listen too but pose a challenge:
5. Vandersteen Treo - certainly highly regarded but going to be difficult due to the dealers location
6. Acoustic Energy Reference 1 - same friend said they are worth my time but I have no idea where to go to find a dealer
7. Joseph Audio Prism & Pulsar - challenging because I need to go to their offices to listen and that is inconvenient but seems like it may be worth my time.
8. Thiel has two local dealers I will call but am not confident that they will have display units as they don't feature Thiel on the websites. We shall see

Wilson Benesch has fallen off due to my inability to find the speakers I want to hear. Additionally, several dealers I have talked to soured on them. The Bryston Middle Ts don't seem to be worth my time as they are in the same league as the Revel Performas. And I may still try and hunt down the Kef Reference 1s.

Finally, I plan to revisit the B&W 80X series. Having a conversation with my friend, that PrimaLuna may have been a poor choice and that makes sense as I feel like they are designed to be driven Classe, solid state gear.

This should all be done in the spring and I am hoping to have a decision and something in home (with an option to return) by around the first of April.

caphill
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Bierfeldt, try to get some home demo if possible and drive them with your own electronics (Ayre/Rogue combo) in your own listening area in order to get a sense of how they will perform or sound driven by your own electronics in your own listening room. Some speakers might require more current than your amp can provide in order to perform optimally.
And the synergy between speakers and your electronics is also important. I believe in system synergy as a whole in one's own applications.
For example, the B&W speakers are designed to best match or sound their best driven by the Classe or the Rotel amps.

Btw, how are you? It's been a while since we last spoke. Did you finally get to upgrade your streamer/DAC as well as your home theater gears?

Out of the speakers lists that you mentioned above I've personally heard the following speakers :

* Wilson Audio Sabrina in three different setups : D'Agostino Momentum integrated/Linn Klimax DS streamer/DAC; Classe CA-2300 amp/Classe CP-800 preamp/DAC; Mcintosh tube preamp/Mcintosh power amp.
The Sabrinas are phenomenal sounding speakers for the money and IMO are one of the best sounding in its price range. The Sabrinas threw a massive soundstage with precise and solid imaging with the levels of focus and authority that IMO are the best in their price points. Very transparent and with excellent rhytmic drives and pace. I found them to sound their best driven by D'Agostino Momentum integrated/Linn Klimax DS streamer/DAC combo.

* Vandersteen Trio driven by some ARC pre/power amp combo. I really liked the Vandersteen. Very smooth refined delicate and very musical driven by the ARC pre/power amp combo. Very articulate.

* B&W 805 D3 driven by the Classe Sigma SSP preamp/Classe Sigma Amp2 power amp combo as well as the Rotel RC-1590 preamp/Rotel RB-1582 MKll amp combo.
Very refined and I found the new B&W 800 series D3 to be more natural and organic sounding than their previous 800 D2 series and the new 800 D3 series is quite a bit better than their prodecessor D2 model.
I wouldn't pair the B&W 805 with tube gears. They might sound pretty good with your Ayre/Rogue combo. The B&W 805 D3 aren't difficult to drive but you will have to find the right electronics to drive them with in order to sound their best IMO.

caphill
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Almost forgot about the Vienna Acoustics. I couldn't exactly remember the model that I've heard couple yrs ago I believed the Beethoven something. They are very compact floorstanders and I believed they retail for around $6500/pair. At the time they were driven by the Rega Osiris integrated (high end Rega) with the high end Rega cd player (flagship model). I really liked the pairing very much.

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I use Treo CTs with a Rogue Audio integrated amp that produces 100 wpc in a rather small room, and have way more power than I could ever use.

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JohnG, thanks for the feedback. I do intend to hear them...just wish I didn't need to go out to Jersey to do it.

bierfeldt
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Good to hear from you and happy holidays. Things are good in my world but different. Am going through a divorce and am in a new space which like I said, is good but different.

I did finally upgrade my network streamer/DAC to the Marantz Reference NA-11s1. I am pretty happy with it. I am fine with the Marantz interface and find that it sounds great. It sounds very refined and delivers on the review from Stereophile and the associated A+ rating. It takes mediocre recording and makes them sound very good and good recording sound great. I am listening to more CDs than I have in years and hi res tracks really shine. Wish I would have done it sooner.

With the change of space, home theater gear is not relevant.

When I get closer I am going to do an in-home demo but the way most of these guys work, I am committing to spend the money with them. They will let me return for credit so I want to narrow it down to a couple choices with one I think I will like best first.

Synergies are important which is one of the reasons I am leaning toward Raidho. One of my local dealers sells Rogue and Raidho and said he has paired my amp with Raidho speakers several times with a great result. Pricing is good, aesthetics are good and I loved the sound when I listened to them.

I will check out Vienna acoustics and I am going have to listen to those Wilson's but I feel like I am close.

caphill
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Good to hear back from you too Bierfeldt. And happy holiday. Sorry to hear about the divorce. After all we all have to move on with our lives at some point, right? I've been out of the radar for a while cause I've been occupied with other stuffs. Btw, is your new listening area at your new place bigger or smaller than your previous one?

Good that you finally got the Marantz reference series network streamer/DAC. That unit received great reviews. I think you made the right choice.
Cause if you hadn't bought the Marantz NA-11s1 streamer/DAC, I knew someone who's selling his Linn Akurate DS streamer/DAC and his is the latest current Akurate DS model with improved and tweaked master clock but using the same DAC but I think they also made a slight improvement in DAC architecture. The reason he's selling it is because he just upgraded to the Klimax DSM Exakt system.

Anyhow, did you by any chance sell your home theater equipments altogether?
Are you still using the same turntable and the phonostage preamp etc?

As for your speaker selection, although I've never heard the Raidho speakers before but I've been hearing great stuff about them. I think IMO it's all about personal preferences or tastes when it comes to speaker choices.
I forgot to mention about the Focal Sopra no 1 bookshelf speakers and Sopra no 2 compact floorstanders. I've recently had a chance to listen to these speakers driven by Devialet 440 pro at my local dealer and I was impressed with their performances. I found the Focals to be pretty neutral tonally with a slight hint of brightness depending on the sources. I can see they are probably not everyone's cup of tea but they are worth exploring.

As for myself, I've made some changes with my dedicated 2ch setup as well as my dedicated home theater gears. I sold the Linn Klimax DS and the Chord Reference ii cd player and got the DCS Vivaldi stacks instead, which consists of the master clock/streamer unit, upsampler unit, DAC unit and cd/sacd transport unit. But I'm still using the D'Agostino Momentum linestage analog stereo preamp with the Momentum monoblock amps driving the Wilson Sasha series ii speakers.
I also sold the VPI direct turntable and the D'Agostino Momentum phonostage preamp and bought the Linn LP12 Klimax version turntable with all Klimax upgrades that include the Linn Urika phonostage fitted internally and two Klimax Radikal power supply units, one for the dc motor of the turntable and the other for the phonostage. Sonically I preferred the Linn LP12 Klimax version turntable with all Klimax upgrades and accessories to my previous VPI direct turntable with believe or not the D'Agostino Momentum phonostage.
I also replaced all the Shunyata Research PLCs with the Audioquest Niagara 7000s. I've noticed an improvements with all my setups since then.

As for my home theater room I'm still using the Classe SSP 800 preamp processor with 3 Classe CAM-300 monoblock amps for front left, front right and center channel. I'm using the Classe Sigma Amp2 power amp to power my surround speakers. I've also upgraded my B&W 802 D2 to the new 802 D3 model along with the matching D3 center channel but kept my B&W 805 D2 for surrounds. Still got the Oppo bdp 105 bluray player and the Pioneer Kuro plasma tv (1080p). I think I'm gonna use my Pioneer Kuro plasma until it dies on me. Really love this tv.

As for my bedroom setup I'm still using the Wilson Duette series ii stand-mount speakers with the new Devialet 440 pro. Previously I was using the Linn Klimax DS with D'Agostino Momentum integrated amp but have sold them both and got the Devialet 440 pro instead.

bierfeldt
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I did not get the home theater gear in the divorce which stinks but is fine since I don't have the space for it at the moment.

I am still using the Rega RP3 with Exact2 and Vincent Pho8. I am looking at a used Ayre P-5xe which is what I really want. I may get that in the spring but until I upgrade tables I am not sure if it is worth it.

I reached out to a dealer and will be auditioning the Sabrina's. This will be key in that it is going to reground me in Wilson's sound. If I go with Wilson's I am certain I will need to get the Ayre V-5xe.

Some of your changes are interesting. I know Linn turntables are spectacular but I hear they can be a bit temperamental. Any POV on that? One of the appeals of the Rega RP8 is how super easy it is to setup and use.

caphill
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bierfeldt wrote:

I did not get the home theater gear in the divorce which stinks but is fine since I don't have the space for it at the moment.

I am still using the Rega RP3 with Exact2 and Vincent Pho8. I am looking at a used Ayre P-5xe which is what I really want. I may get that in the spring but until I upgrade tables I am not sure if it is worth it.

I reached out to a dealer and will be auditioning the Sabrina's. This will be key in that it is going to reground me in Wilson's sound. If I go with Wilson's I am certain I will need to get the Ayre V-5xe.

Some of your changes are interesting. I know Linn turntables are spectacular but I hear they can be a bit temperamental. Any POV on that? One of the appeals of the Rega RP8 is how super easy it is to setup and use.

Wilson Sabrinas are outstanding and are probably one of the best performing speakers for under $20k/pair. Their direct rivals that are exactly the same retail price of the Sabrinas ($17k/pair) that I can think of will be the new B&W 803 D3. The new B&W 800 series D3 is actually a big step up sonically from their previous D2 models, particularly true with the 803 D3, 802 D3 and 800 D3. The new 802 D3 or the 800 D3 or the 803 D3 IMO sounded more natural or organic and more accurate than their previous D2 models. They are more refined and smoother too and more musical IMO. The new D3 series don't possess a typical B&W signature sound found in their previous D2 models.
But it is after all about personal taste or preference when it comes to speaker choices. I personally slightly preferred the Sabrinas to the B&W 803 D3. And the Sabrinas are not that hard to drive but I think you will might benefit if you upgrade your power amp in order to fully optimze the performance of the Sabrinas.
I've personally heard the Sabrinas couple times driven by different sets of equipments and they always sounded great. Highly recommended!

Sorry to hear that you lost your home theater gears in divorce. You know what you could do in the meantime if you want to watch bluray or dvd movies.....I would get the Oppo bdp 105 and downmix everything in the Oppo setting to stereo and connect the Oppo 105 via its stereo analog out to your Ayre preamp. You will still be able to fully experience the lossless bluray formats like DTS HD-Master or Dolby True HD in stereo instead of multi-channels. It will do it for now. The reason I suggested the Oppo 105 is because the 105 has better sounding DAC and analog audio section than the Oppo 103.

Yep I agree with you that you should upgrade the turntable first if you want to get the Ayre 5xe, otherwise it would be pointless or isn't worth it. But if you get the Sabrinas you should definitely get the Ayre 5xe and upgrade your table & tonearm etc.

As for my Linn LP12 Klimax turntable....so far I really like it and am very happy with it. I have no problem fine-tuning it or whatsoever. I've gotten used to it by now.

bierfeldt
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I know Ayre and Wison pair nicely together and is a very strong option for me. The B&Ws are interesting and I need to reevaluate. Without hearing them driven by a solid state amp, I just can't judge them effectively. However I know they are best driven by Classe which makes me wonder how they will pair with Ayre. Methinks the Rogue Hydra is closer to Classe than the Ayre will be in sound profile.

That being said, I have to wonder whether they will outperform the Raidho or Magico's I have heard. Even the Revels were spectacular, albeit with a narrower sweet spot. We shall see. Going to hopefully get the rest of the demo's in by end of January so I can decide on next steps.

caphill
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bierfeldt wrote:

I know Ayre and Wison pair nicely together and is a very strong option for me. The B&Ws are interesting and I need to reevaluate. Without hearing them driven by a solid state amp, I just can't judge them effectively. However I know they are best driven by Classe which makes me wonder how they will pair with Ayre. Methinks the Rogue Hydra is closer to Classe than the Ayre will be in sound profile.

That being said, I have to wonder whether they will outperform the Raidho or Magico's I have heard. Even the Revels were spectacular, albeit with a narrower sweet spot. We shall see. Going to hopefully get the rest of the demo's in by end of January so I can decide on next steps.

The Wilson will pair nicely with Ayre, Classe, McIntosh, Audio Research and D'Agostino. I've heard them driven by these electronics and sounded faboulous. I preferred the Sabrinas to the B&W 803 D3 and both speakers retail for $17k/pair. Have to admit the new B&W 800 series D3 are quite a bit better than their previous D2 models.

The B&W 800 series are indeed best driven by some Classe amps as well as flagship Rotel amps. I've heard the B&W 802 D2 driven by Ayre pre/power combo before and they were pretty spectacular. Yes, IMO the B&W will pair quite nicely with Ayre. Never heard Rogue Hydra paired with the B&W before so I can't comment. But I wouldn't pair the B&W with tube amps. I never had a chance to hear any Rogue gears but if like you said the the Rogue and the Classe have similar sound profile I would think that they will pair nicely with the B&W.

Regarding the big B&W 800, 802 & 803, while these speakers' nominal impedances are rated at 8 ohms but they can easily dip below 3 ohms at certain frequencies, which can be hard on amplifier. They are unpredictable and their specs are somewhat misleadings.
Both Classe and big higher end Rotel amps were designed to be able to handle frequent drops in impedances of the B&W 800 series speaker loads very well. And not to mention that the Classe and Rotel always sounded great with the B&W. They have great synergy together IMO.

caphill
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If you go with the new B&W 803 D3 you have to make sure that your amp can handle low impedance speaker loads and is stable all the way down to 2 ohms as the B&W 803 D3 impedance can easily drop down to 3 ohms and below at certain frequencies.

bierfeldt
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I don't have a classic tube amp, the Hydra is a hybrid Class D with a tube input. Rogue calls it Tube D. It sounds like a slightly forward solid state amp where the straight Class Ds sound like very forward solid state amps. Output doubles as impedance is halved down to 2 Ohms so as long as my power output is adequate to deliver desired volume, I am good. Not worried about impedance with this amp.

caphill
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Bierfeldt, happy new year!
How's your loudspeaker search going so far?
Last week my buddy and I went to my local dealer to demo the new B&W 800 D3 cause my buddy wanted to upgrade from his B&W 683. I know that's a huge jump going from the 683 to the new 800 D3. He was driving his 683 with the Marantz PM8005 integrated and the Marantz 6005 cd player.
He ended up buying the new 800 D3 but he hasn't upgraded his electronics yet.

When we demoed the new 800 D3 at the store the speakers were being driven by a pair of Classe CA-M 600 monoblock amps and Classe CP-800 preamp/DAC. It sounded phenomenal. This was the first time I got to listen to the new 800 D3. Big improvement from its 800 D2. I personally own the 802 D3 in my dedicated home theater setup that I use strictly for home theater purposes. But these new 800 D3 is a clear step up from my 802 D3 sonically.
If you have the space and the budget I would recommend the new 800 D3.
But you will need a big spacious room for these speakers and you will have to upgrade your power amp in order to drive the 800 properly and optimize their performances. They retail for $30k/pair.

My buddy is pretty happy with his new 800 D3 except he's still using his Marantz PM8005 integrated to drive them but he will upgrade to the Classe CA-M 600 monoblock amps and Classe CP 800 preamp/DAC very soon. Cause his Marantz PM8005 integrated is far far from ideal to pair with these speakers. He's also going to get rid of his Marantz cd player. His Marantz integrated clipped when pushed given the task driving the 800 D3. It sounded awful, nothing like what we heard at the store when the speakers were driven by the Classe monoblocks + CP 800 preamp.

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Trying to power those 800 D3s with a PM8005 is like trying to drive a big, heavy Maserati with a Honda Civic engine. I am not surprised that it clipped.

My next demo is going to be the Wilson Sabrina's and the same dealer does Dynaudio and Vienna Acoustics. I will likely listen to the Duet IIs while I am there as well and whatever Dynaudio and Vienna Acoustics have in the appropriate price range. I then intend to reassess the 800 D3 line with either Classe or McIntosh equipment driving it. I particularly want to hear the 805 D3s again.

The reality is, I am finding I have a general preference toward stand mounts with subwoofers vs floorstanders. I was having a discussion with someone over on the TAS website and a dealer here in the city and my feeling is that without tuning the room, it is easier to setup and achieve an optimized soundstage with stand mounts and two subwoofers vs. floorstanders. This is due to the likelihood that optimal placement for bass reproduction and midrange/treble reproduction will be different in most rooms without treatment. Additionally, the dealer also feels that the reproduction of bass and midrange/treble in attached boxes is less than optimal explaining why someone like Verity keeps them separate.

Given that I am in rentals at the moment and will be for the foreseeable future, I am thinking that I will probably get stand mounts with two Rel, Sunfire or JL Audio subwoofers though it feels like every dealer shows Rel. I know they don't like Sunfire and have explained why but I was surprised by the general lack of dealer enthusiasm for JL. I think I am zeroing in on my short list based on what I am willing to spend:

Raidho X line, B&W 805s, Kef Reference 1s and Monitor Audio PL100 IIs in the sub $10K range. In the $15-$17K range, seems like the Raidho C1.1s are the option for stand mounts and if I get crazy and go all out it is a choice between the Wilson Duet IIs, Magico Q1s, Kaiser Chiaras and Raidho D1.1s.

My hunch is I will likely go with one of the sub $10K options in speakers, get an Ayre V-5xe (to get balanced outputs to run to the subs) and two new subwoofers...most likely Sunfire xTec 10s. Depending on whether I can get a deal, that would be $17K-$20K without tax. Feels like plenty to spend and will be a BIG upgrade.

caphill
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I totally agreed with you. IMO proper room treatments and proper speaker placements are paramount in achieving great sonic results. Indeed stand mount speakers with a sub(s) is preferrable to floorstanders in certain room situations and accoustic dwellings. My dad put so much efforts in prioritizing these aspects before everything else. Cause your accoustic dwellings and room environments are the extensions of your speaker cabinets IMO. I'm lucky the fact that my dad has optimized in implementing accoustical treatments before he passed away so I got to inherit whatever he left behind for me to enjoy and explore further. Each listening rooms in the entire house including our home theater room have been thoroughly treated and damped for the purpose of maximizing the performances of his systems.

In regards to my friend who has recently bought the B&W 800 D3, he has a very large room for that and I've helped him with using room treatments and speaker placements. He just ordered the Classe CA-M 600 monoblock amps (600 watts@8ohms, 1200 watts@4ohms) and the Classe CP 800 preamp/DAC and they should be here next week or so. He's selling his Marantz PM8005 integrated and the Marantz 6005 cd player. Yes, using the PM8005 to drive the B&W 800 D3 is like putting a Honda Civic engine in a Masserati like you said. Sounded awful. The soundstage and imaging collapsed, lacking in transparency agility speed pace and musical rhytm. The sound was somewhat colored and compressed and congested.
Don't get me wrong, the PM8005 is a decent integrated amp more suitable for budget speakers like his B&W 683. After all you're trying to drive $30k worth of speakers with $1100 worth of integrated amp. Seemed like far from ideal so to speak.

In regards to the Wilson Duette lls, I do own these speakers in my master bedroom setup driven by Devialet 800. Highly recommended. Or otherwise the Sabrina would be another great choice.

I also own the Wilson Sasha lls in a large well treated main listening room. I would personally recommend the Wilson Sasha ll over the B&W 800 D3. I personally prefer the Wilson Sasha ll. That's just me.

But the new 800 D3 are spectacular too. IMO the B&W are great for home theater as well as for music. I found the Wilson to be more musically engaging than the B&W IMO.

Also give a listen to various Focal Sopra and Utopia lines as well as Dynaudio and Vienna Accoustics.
Happy listening!

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So, I got the right price on dealer floor models of the Raidho C1.1s. That is the speaker I really wanted and am cutting my search short. Nice thing is they will already be burned in, carry the full manufacturers warranty and evidently they pair very well with my current amp, the Rogue Hydra.

I can't pass up the deal on a hope that I might find a speaker I like better, especially when most are above my desired budget. In the short term I am sticking with my Sunfire Tru Sub but may add the Ayre Power amp in March/April.

caphill
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bierfeldt wrote:

So, I got the right price on dealer floor models of the Raidho C1.1s. That is the speaker I really wanted and am cutting my search short. Nice thing is they will already be burned in, carry the full manufacturers warranty and evidently they pair very well with my current amp, the Rogue Hydra.

I can't pass up the deal on a hope that I might find a speaker I like better, especially when most are above my desired budget. In the short term I am sticking with my Sunfire Tru Sub but may add the Ayre Power amp in March/April.

Congrats Bierfeldt! I've heard great things about the Raidho from other people but I've never heard them before as we don't have a dealer in my area. I'll be psyhed to listen to them someday.
I noticed that the Raidho C1.1s are rated 85 db with nominal impedance of 6 ohms. Does your Rogue Hydra amp handle the load pretty well?
But you mentioned that you are going to upgrade to Ayre power amp in April......which Ayre power amp do you have in mind?

Are you also going to upgrade your turntable & phonostage preamp in the near future? I think it will be worth upgrading your analog source since you have much better speakers now and soon the power amp.

Are you also going to upgrade your sub as well? I think you should get at least either the REL sub or the JL Audio sub to pair with your Raidho speakers. I found either of these subs to be very musical.

I've heard from someone who's driving the Raidho C1.1s with the Devialet and achieved very good results according to him.
I am driving my Wilson Duette ii with Devialet 800 in my master bedroom setup without a sub. I might add a rather compact sub later down the road.

Again congrats! You said you got a great deal on the speakers. How much did you end up paying for them?

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One dealer told me that it is more like 4 Ohms rather than 6 Ohms. The Rogue is rated to 2 Ohms like a Class A where output doubles when impedance is halved. The same dealer he regularly sells this exact amp with Raidho standmounts.

I am looking at the Ayre V-5xe which I think will be a great match. I will try and find a floor model.

So I am thinking of adding two subs and I am probably going to go with the Sunfire xTech 10s or 12s. I have several Sunfire subs and they are spectacular. I like them because they have normal balanced inputs (unlike Rel) and has the built in equalizer like JL but are about $1000 cheaper.

I am planning on upgrading my analog rig at some point. I am probably going to go with the Ayre P-5xe for the phono stage since it will match and am looking at the Rega RP8 w/ Alphetta or a VPI Classic with a Clearaudio Maestro.

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bierfeldt wrote:

One dealer told me that it is more like 4 Ohms rather than 6 Ohms. The Rogue is rated to 2 Ohms like a Class A where output doubles when impedance is halved. The same dealer he regularly sells this exact amp with Raidho standmounts.

I am looking at the Ayre V-5xe which I think will be a great match. I will try and find a floor model.

So I am thinking of adding two subs and I am probably going to go with the Sunfire xTech 10s or 12s. I have several Sunfire subs and they are spectacular. I like them because they have normal balanced inputs (unlike Rel) and has the built in equalizer like JL but are about $1000 cheaper.

I am planning on upgrading my analog rig at some point. I am probably going to go with the Ayre P-5xe for the phono stage since it will match and am looking at the Rega RP8 w/ Alphetta or a VPI Classic with a Clearaudio Maestro.

I would get the Linn LP12 with Linn Urika phonostage fitted internally and with Ekos titanium tonearm and Kandid mc cartridge. You will have to get at least a separate Radikal power supply for the phonostage. Adding another Radikal power supply for the dc motor of the turntable will make a big difference sonically.

Upgrading to the Ayre V-5xe power amp IMO will be a clear step up from your Rogue Hydra amp. You are on the right track.

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bierfeldt wrote:

One dealer told me that it is more like 4 Ohms rather than 6 Ohms. The Rogue is rated to 2 Ohms like a Class A where output doubles when impedance is halved. The same dealer he regularly sells this exact amp with Raidho standmounts.

I am looking at the Ayre V-5xe which I think will be a great match. I will try and find a floor model.

So I am thinking of adding two subs and I am probably going to go with the Sunfire xTech 10s or 12s. I have several Sunfire subs and they are spectacular. I like them because they have normal balanced inputs (unlike Rel) and has the built in equalizer like JL but are about $1000 cheaper.

I am planning on upgrading my analog rig at some point. I am probably going to go with the Ayre P-5xe for the phono stage since it will match and am looking at the Rega RP8 w/ Alphetta or a VPI Classic with a Clearaudio Maestro.

The Musical Fidelity M6si is only $2995, and I think it is at least as good as the much more expensive Ayre. It also has enough power to drive anything.

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Given that I can do a basically no risk trial of the Musical Fidelity I just might. If I like it better I could sell my preamp and amp and probably still have $1000 - $1500 leftover. Couple months away but I just might do that.

Linn's are interesting to me as the turntable I think of as "the best" for a very long time but I have always heard they are finicky. Great sounding when set up perfectly but tough to get that way. Alternatively the Rega is super simple to setup and the VPI is only a little harder and they sound amazingly good.

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bierfeldt wrote:

Given that I can do a basically no risk trial of the Musical Fidelity I just might. If I like it better I could sell my preamp and amp and probably still have $1000 - $1500 leftover. Couple months away but I just might do that.

Linn's are interesting to me as the turntable I think of as "the best" for a very long time but I have always heard they are finicky. Great sounding when set up perfectly but tough to get that way. Alternatively the Rega is super simple to setup and the VPI is only a little harder and they sound amazingly good.

Linn LP12 can be kinda finicky to set up properly but once you get it right it will sound phenomenal. I own the LP12 Klimax version turntable with all Klimax upgrades and accessories and had to admit that it took me a while to be able to get it set up properly.

And you will benefit greatly sonically if you get the right accompanying accessories and upgrades with the LP12.
It could take quite a bit of works in order to get it right.

On the other hand, the Rega tt is very simple to set up but IMO not in the same league as the Linn LP12 sonically.

I used to own the VPI direct tt (VPI's top of line) with really good quality Atlas cartridge and the D'Agostino Momentum phonostage that my dad purchased all before he died. IMO my Linn LP12 now with the right and proper set up and accompanying accessories and upgrades outperformed my former VPI direct tt sonically. But the VPI was great sounding too but I prefer the Linn LP12 with the right set up and accessories and upgrades.
So I sold my VPI tt but I'm still trying to sell my D'Agostino Momentum phonostage preamp as right now I'm using the Linn Urika phonostage that's fitted internally with a separate Linn Radikal power supply. That's what I think of the LP12.

I know someone who owns a small hifi store here in my area and he is an authorized Rega dealer but not Linn. He sells lot of Rega tt but he personally owns the Linn LP12 at home and he claimed that even the flagship Rega tt cannot compete with the LP12 sonically.
And he is not a Linn dealer.

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At $4250 the Linn Radikal Power Supply is more than the Rega RP8 with a cartridge and external PSU at $3995. I am sure it is spectacular but I think the Linn table is going to be, even at the low end, above my price range and is going to be a royal pain in the butt to setup and get right.

Honestly, the more I read up on a Linn the less enthusiastic I am at this point. Those Linn tables seem like a hobby unto themselves and ignoring the expense seem like a huge amount of work. Maybe some day but right now (and in the next few years) I can't see this one fitting my lifestyle. The reality is this will be a March, 2018 upgrade at the very earliest so who knows what will even be available then.

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I know.....the Linn LP12 is kinda pain in the butt to properly set up in order to get it right. I had my Linn certified dealer set it up for me.

Anyways, did you get to listen to a pair of Raidho D3 v2 floorstanders by any chance? I spotted them on Audiogon asking for $26k/pair and these speakers retail for $76k/pair. I was thinking to get them but I've never heard them before. We don't have a Raidho dealer in my area so it's very hard to demo them. I'm thinking to upgrade from my Wilson Sasha ii.
I'm currently using the Dan D'Agostino Momentum M400 monoblock power amps and the Dan D'Agostino Momentum linestage stereo preamp with the DCS Vivaldi stacks as my digital front ends and the Linn LP12 Klimax turntable as an analog front end.
I'm using all Transparent Opus speaker cables and interconnects.

Don't know how the Raidho D3 v2 would pair with my electronics and cables.
Have you heard these Raidho D3 v2 driven by the D'Agostino Momentum gears?
I was tempted to buy these on Audiogon.

I am also considering to move up the Wilson line to either the Alexia or the Alexx. We have a Wilson dealer in the area and have listened to both the Alexia and the Alexx driven by the D'Agostino Momentum M400 monoblocks and the pairing sounded spectacular. The Wilson always paired well with the D'Agostino gears. Don't know about the Raidho D3 v2 if they will pair well with my D'Agostino Momentum gears.
Any thoughts? I can't find a Raidho dealer here in my area and if I decide to buy these used pair of the Raidho D3 v2 floorstanders it would be a blind purchase not knowing whatvthe sound profilevis and how they will perform driven by my electronics.

I did a little research on Raidho speakers and they apparently will perform best without any accoustical treatments and placed somewhat closer to the walls than other speakers would. Can you confirm my findings?
Thanks in advance.

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So I did not hear them but spent extensive time discussing Raidho history with one dealer. There was a big issue with the D3 line that when it gets above a certain volume level they make a loud popping sound like the driver was hitting something. Something about the driver design was problematic. I am not sure if this problem was solved in the V2 editions. I am certain the problem was solved with the .1 editions.

My experience with the Raidho's was almost ridiculous. The dealer I was in first had a very precisely setup pair of Endeavor E-3s in place and they sounded okay. He haphazardly dropped the Raidho's in front. The right speaker was obviously misaligned by like 10 degrees in toe angle and the soundstage wasn't good, it was the best I had ever heard. No real treatment in the room other than some side panels which the Raidho's were in front of and missing the reflection point.

Everyone I have talked to and everything I have seen has suggested that Raidho's are abnormally less sensitive to placement than other speakers. I am sure that if you get too close to the wall, you may get some port noise which you are going to need to watch for but otherwise they throw out this spectacular, holographic soundstage that is nothing short of amazing. I found the sound addictive and just wanted to keep listening forever.

I remember the first time I heard B&Ws CM line and the wow those speakers delivered. But after about an hour, I found it tedious and they just were fatiguing. These Raidho's are the exact opposite. I was wowed and every minute I listened I just wanted to hear them more and more.

That being said, it is a different sound profile from the Wilson's. My experience is that there is an easy, non fatiguing quality to Wilson's that I feel just washes over you. Not so much holgraphic, but wide, room filling and enveloping. The Raidho sound feels like it creates an image that is stable. You exist within the image. It feels like the room is inconsequential as the image is completely separate. Equally non-fatiguing but quite a different experience. If you truly love Wilson's, you may not love Raidho.

For me, I thought Magico's sound was more Wilson-like and sort of a goldilocks sound between Wilson and Raidho. In fact, I really loved the Magicos I heard. Unique manufacturing process, spectacular tweeter and if you want to deviate from Wilson, they might be a brand worth considering and should work superbly with D'Agostino equipment. They need a lot of power to control the bass as they are a sealed design and your amps should literally be the perfect equipment to drive them. Something like the S5 MK II would be an interesting choice for you.

In one forum, a person said the dealer asked them if they wanted an analytic vs musical speaker when considering Magico vs. Raidho. That is sort of how I feel about Wilson. Wilson is precise and analytic and provides the absolute pinnacle in uncolored sound. Raidho's are definitely colored vs. Wilson. Magico to me is in the middle but closer to Wilson than Raidho.

Regarding amps with Raidho, again, I have heard they are not terribly finicky. I listened to them driven by high current, solid state amps but am forgetting the brands as they were obscure, Euro brands. The dealer I am buying them from is using Pass Labs equipment to drive them. I have heard good results with PS Audio, Ayre and Cary.

As I am thinking about it, Raidho's are very forgiving vs. Wilson and Magico. Wilsons or Magicos will expose every shortcoming in your system. You can get good sound with mediocre gear with Raidho where I feel that Wilsons in particular will sound mediocre with mediocre gear and the Magico's would just sound terrible. Basically, I am not nervous that the Raidho's are going to expose the shortcoming of my Rogue amp where I am nervous that the Wilsons would and certain the Magico's would. You however, need not worry about this with D'Agostino gear.

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Bierfeldt, thank you for your prompt response. Very much appreciated.
Almost impossible to demo the Raidho, Magico, Rockport, YG Acoustics here in Seattle, WA. We don't have a dealers for those brands. As for speaker selections we are only limited to Wilson Audio Focal B&W Martin Logan Maggies Paradigm Vienna Acoustics Sonus Faber Linn Naim PMC Epos PSB Wharfedale KEF Monitor Audio Proac Elac Def Tech Golden Ear Technology Tannoy Totem.

I would love to demo the Raidho Magico Rockport YG Acoustics among others, but I will have to fly to other states to do that. The seller on Audiogon who is selling a used pair of the Raidho D3 v2 is indeed an authorized Raidho dealer based out of IL. It is called Next Level AV. I will have to get in touch with them tomorrow to possibly arrange a demo there. I think I might have to fly over there. I've been hearing and reading great reviews on Raidho speakers so I don't want to pass on the opportunity to try them out and have a listen. They are asking for only one third of the original retail price of these D3 v2 on audiogon. I might like them better than my Wilson Sasha ii.....who knows.

Bierfeldt, I appreciate you warned me about the issues on the D3 model. I will have to ask them if they have resolved the issue on the v2 version. On the audiogon listing they claimed that the D3 v2 has been improved and can play louder and have better bass response and linearity. But I will have to hear them in person I guess.

This dealer also carries Magico so I get to demo them. I might be aiming at both the S5 ii or the S7 or the Q5 or Q3. But they don't carry D'Agostino gears. I'm also considering the Wilson Alexia or the Alexx as well as the Focal Utopia line. My dealer here in Seattle has the Focal so auditioning the Focal might not be a problem.

I also need to find a dealer for both Rockport and YG Acoustics.

Yes, the Wilson speakers will expose the weaknesses of your electronics. But I'm not worried about that. I've listened any Wilson speakers with D'Agostino, Audio Research, McIntosh, Classe monoblocks with great results.

I'm also considering the flagship model from Vandersteen and our neighboring city has them. So I don't have to travel far at all.

So, I will have a lot of homeworks within the next couple weeks for myself to go out there and explore and have a listen to several options even if I have to fly couple thousand miles. I will do it.

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That stinks that you have no dealers in Seattle. Surprised since Seattle is such a big city. Of course, I am in NYC and there is no dealer for Legacy in the whole metro area and there is one dealer for Vandersteen in NJ.

At first I would think flying to Chicago to hear speakers is extreme but to save $50K, might be a good trip. Good luck.

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Apparently that Next Level AV shop in IL does not carry Magico. Just went to their website again and they only have Raidho and Dynaudio. I left them a voice message and haven't heard back from them. Maybe I should just show up there.

Regarding speaker selections here in Seattle and hifi stores in general we don't have a whole lot of hifi stores like you guys do on the east coast. California has great selections of stores and products. My local dealer has B&W Wilson Audio Vienna Acoustics Maggies Dynaudio Linn Naim PSB Rega Epos PMC Golden Ear Technology Focal McIntosh speakers. The other local hifi shops in Seattle area carry Totem Tannoy Proac Elac Wharfedale Martin Logan Def Tech Cambridge speakers.

Not sure if the greater Vancouver BC area in Canada would have the Magico Rockport YG Acoustics Gamut TAD. These are other speakers thst I would love to hear as well as besides the Raidho and of course the Wilson. My local dealer here has Wilson and Focal so that won't be a problem demoing them. Actually currently my dealer has the Wilson Alexia on display driven by exact same D'Agostino Momentum M400 monoblocks & preamp with the same DCS Vivaldi stacks as digital front ends as the ones I have at home.
I have listened to both the Wilson Alexia and Alexx before driven by the same D'Agostino gears. I first heard the Alexx right when they first came out during the Music Matters hifi audio show last year at my local dealer here in Seattle.

My local dealer is also a dealer for D'Agostino Linn Devialet Rega Classe McIntosh Audio Research Rotel NAD Naim DCS Meridian MSB Datasat Audeze etc.
My local shop hosts the Music Matters event once a year. We have one coming up next thursday. Dan D'Agostino always showed up at the event along with reps from other manufacturers. My local dealer in Seattle is called Definitive Audio. Can't wait for this coming up event next thursday. Two Stereophile reviewers will be there too.
Classe will demo their new upcoming Delta series products that will be launched sometime this year at the event. The current Delta series products are going to be discontinued very soon. I've seen pictures of their new Delta series stereo preamp along with their monoblock amps, which are the replacements for their current CA-M 300 & CA-M 600 monoblock amps. Classe continues to use class AB circuitry for their new Delta series amps. Only the Sigma series amps use class D circuits.
I've heard the new Delta series products will be very promising with improved circuitry designs and parts and should perform and sound significantly better than their current Delta series products, which are already great sounding and build quality. But the price increase will be substantial as well.

Anyways, the Wilson also has something new to demo at the upcoming event next thursday.
I will keep you posted on whether or not I will be able to demo the Raidho D3 v2 in IL. I should be able to.

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Frustrating that you have a limited selection but it sounds like you have an incredible dealer. The guys here in NYC have struggle a bit. A lot had showrooms and have move to suites and several have gone out of business over the past few years. Been a really tough market post recession.

The Classe stuff is interesting. Great brand but I had a dreadful experience listening to it driving the B&W PM-1s. That was a tough speaker to listen too. It was so bright and in the end, I have found that the detail and nuance with B&W is extraordinary but I don't love the soundstage. I get why people would love them, I am just not one of those people.

Classe is a brand I need to revisit. However, I am a big fan of Ayre's sound profile and the quality of their amplification so if I do upgrade, I am not sure why I wouldn't just get an Ayre amp to pair with that Ayre preamp. But we shall see. I am probably a year away from those moves.

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I know.....couple hifi shops have gone out of business here in the last 5 to 8 yrs. Lot of people have turned to online shopping these days. Been pretty rough for those hifi store owners. We used to have dealers for Pass Labs Simaudio Parasound VAC Lamm Mark Levinson Boulder among others but the shops that carried them have gone out of business. So the true high end or high performance gears that we have now are only limited to D'Agostino Ayre Classe McIntosh Linn Naim DCS Devialet Datasat Meridian Audio Research. And the rest are just mediocre gears such as Rotel NAD Rega Cambridge Marantz Denon Integra Sony Arcam etc.

Regarding the discontinued B&W PM1 mini monitor speakers, I was never impressed with the speakers. And I agreed with you that the soundstage was limited maybe it was due to the size of the speakers cabinet itself.....don't know. I never liked the B&W PM1. At the time the speakers were being driven by Rotel separates. They also tried to drive them with different electronics such as the NAD Master series, Ayre, Devialet and had similar results....the soundstage was constraint and the tonal was bright.

Regarding the Classe gears, I always loved their gears and found them very neutral.....I meant dead neutral IMO didn't sound like anything and just got out of the way of the music. But speaker matching will have to be careful. They sound really good with B&W 800 series. IMO the Classe gears excel in PRAT (Pace Rhytm And Timing) and speed. It's fast with very well controlled bass and have good grip of your speaker drivers. And the imaging was very precise focus and solid.
However, Classe IMO lacks a little in midrange bloom and I wished it was a tad more fluid in the presentation like its competitors from McIntosh Audio Research and Simaudio.

I just discovered the new upcoming Classe Delta series amps will be class A/AB with the first 25 watts of class A output. Unlike its current Delta series amps which are pure class AB. So I think Classe is trying to go back to its roots from back in the day like the ones found in their Omega series amps, which are class A but weighs a ton and cost a fortune. I remembered the Classe Omega series amps that have been discontinued sometime ago were probably one of the best sounding amp in comparison to its major competitors at the time annd IMO was better than Krell and even the Mark Levinson at the time. That was when Dan D'Agostino was with Krell.
Classe certainly had their moments with their then flagship Omega series products. These were before Classe was acquired by B&W Group. Lot of people found them better than their current product offerings. This was before Dave Neuber era. They had different signature sound profile back then and different design philosophy as well.

Can't wait for this thursday Music Matters event at my local dealer at Definitive Audio in Seattle. I'll be psyched to hear the new Classe Delta series products that will be debuted there. They have announced the pricings for their new Delta series gears : the new Delta Pre stereo preamp $9k, the new stereo Delta 3 power amp $10k, the new Delta monoblock amps $18k/pair. And Classe will have another monoblock power amps that will be released later in summer or fall and will be their flagship monoblock amps and will retail for somewhere between $25k to $30k for a pair.
The new and replacement for the SSP 800 pre pro will be launched in the fall and will likely to retail for $14k and will have the latest current format and decoding abilities eg dolby atmos dts-x hdcp 2.2 for 4k video etc.

Anyways, I am currently using all Classe Delta series gears with the new B&W 800 D3 series speaker system in my dedicated home theater room. But one thing should be noted with all Classe pre pros....they lack of automatic room EQ calibration but Classe provided with manual PEQ instead and requires thorough knowledge and tools and equipments in order to properly calibrate the pre pro using its manual PEQ. i highly advised to have the Classe certified dealer to perform the calibration for you.
I would highly recommend to also use room treatments in order to optimize the performance of the system.

Classe Rotel Bryston pre pros aren't equipped with auto room EQ calibration softwares and especially the Brsyton SP3 pre pro does not even provide the manual PEQ. But the Bryston SP3 pre pro sounded really good for 2ch music when used as an analog stereo preamp......even better than the Classe SSP 800 & the Sigma SSP IMO.

I've also always loved Ayre Simaudio Pass Labs Devialet Linn Naim & the Levinson gears. They offer competitive rivalry for Classe McIntosh & Audio Research.

Audio Research will also have a debut at this thursday event in Seattle with their Foundation series. Naim will also debut its new entry level Unity series. I'll be psyched to hear them too.

It will make more sense to you to upgrade to Ayre power amp since you alreafy have Ayre preamp.

bierfeldt
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I struggle with the idea of buying an extremely expensive pre/pro for home theater. The technology changes so frequently that it seems like you would be perpetually upgrading and once the latest, greatest DSPs are not on a device or a new TV resolution comes out, the value plummets so they are worthless on the resale market.

For Pre/Pros, when I get a new system it will be assuredly Marantz and I will likely get a Sunfire Power amp and the Sunfire Cinema Ribbon speakers. I like the sound profile and I feel that room correction is the single most important factor in getting the sound right in a theater room once you get to adequate quality amplification and speakers.

caphill
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I hear what you're saying regarding expensive pre pros. Those expensive pre pros offerings from Classe Meridian Bryston Krell Datasat Theta McIntosh alikes offer absolute advantage in sonic fidelity for 2ch music as well as home theater. Especially when used as an analog steteo preamp, those Classe Bryston Meridian Krell McIntosh pre pros perform extraordinary and can function as high end stereo preamps. But they usually lack features and bells & whistles in comparison to lower end av pre pros and they are usually slow and behind when adapting new formats and codecs.
They are expensive partly because their sales volumes are much lower in quantities than those mass produced av manufacturets eg Denon Marantz Onkyo etc.

Examples such as the Bryston SP3 pre pro, Classe SSP 800/Sigma SSP, Krell Evo 707, Meridian Reference 861 v8, McIntosh MX160.....these pre pros were born out of high end two-channel preamps that happen to do home theater as an opposed to the other way around like those processor offerings from Marantz Denon Integra Anthem Onkyo. These processors do good to great for home theater but not so much for 2ch music.

I wished the Classe Bryston pre pros offer auto room EQ calibration softwares. Anthem has one of the best ARC (Anthem Room Correction) auto room EQ calibration in the market like the one used in the Anthem AVM60 pre pro.
The ARC works extraordinarily and is the best auto calibration software in the av market. This is a heck out of an amazing processor when used for home theater with ARC engaged. Sounded extraordinary for home theater and highly recommended and at $3k it is an absolute bargain and with the ARC engaged it performs or sounds better than the Marantz AV8802 or even the Classe Sigma SSP & the Bryston SP3 and it rivals the much more expensive Classe SSP 800 in surround sound for movies. If the person who does manual calibration using the manual PEQ on the Classe SSP 800 does not know what he's doing IMO the Anthem AVM60 will perform better but if calibrated professionally and correctly and if the room is very well treated the SSP 800 will sound better for movies. It is a high praise for the Anthem AVM60. Highly recommended!
It is a superior sounding unit for home theater with the ARC engaged to the Marantz AV8802. Its 2ch performance when used as an analog stereo preamp is on par with the Marantz AV8802. The Classe, Bryston, Krell, McIntosh, Meridian are better sounding for 2ch music when used as analog stereo preamps....hands down.

If I were you I would get the Anthem AVM60 ($3k) over the Marantz AV8802 processor. The AVM60 is equipped with hdcp 2.2 for 4k video as well as dolby atmos decoding capability but lacks of video processing/upscaling abilities.

Somebody I know, who is a pro reviewer for one of the hifi magazine, owns the Anthem AVM60 with Simaudio Evolution series monoblock amps and the Rotel RMB-1585 five-channel amp for his home theater use and he said it couldn't get any bettet than that.

If you are in the market for a five-channel amp for under $5k I would recommend the Rotel RMB-1585 and the Parasound Halo A51. The Halo A51 is superior to the Rotel RMB-1585 but not by much. The Rotel retails for $3k and the Halo A51 is $4500. They both are very heavy and huge in sizes. These aren't class D designs. They both sounded little different. The Rotel exhibited greater warmth than the Parasound whereas the latter sounded more precise and accurate and analytic than the Rotel. And the Halo A51 is more neutral than the Rotel. The Rotel has more fuller sound with its warm alluring and richer tonal balance than the Parasound. Both are great amps and both amps received very positive reviews here in Stereophile as well as other hifi magazines and sites. IMO the Halo A51 is slightly better overall than the Rotel RMB-1585.

bierfeldt
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It is interesting. I thought when I built my multi-channel system I would have split audio and video about 50-50. I was very wrong and found it was like 90-10 video audio. Basically, I listen to audio on my audio system and video on my video system and only when I was entertaining did I play music through the video system and wasn't particularly concerned about critical listening in that environment.

That is why I see absolutely no reason to consider one of the McIntosh, Classe, etc... pre pros because I am really only concerned with multi-channel. Good to know the Anthem has such great room correction and is so reasonably priced. I really like the Sunfire for what you get. The speakers I would plan on getting are the Sunfire Cinema Ribbons and they need a LOT of power to be driven well and you don't find that many multi-channel amps that deliver the kind of power the Sunfires do and certainly not at that price point and in a box that size.

caphill
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When you are ready to get your home theater setup you should highly consider getting the Anthem AVM60 pre pro and I will guarantee that you will be amazed with what the ARC can do for your room.
For multi-channel and with the ARC engaged it is better and cheaper than the Marantz AV8802 with its Audyssey platinum suite and the Classe Sigma SSP.
Its 2ch performance is on a par with the AV8802. But the Marantz has more bells & whistles than the Anthem. If I have to rank them in order of sonic performances for multi-channel I would rank them as follows :
Classe SSP 800
Anthem AVM60
Classe Sigma SSP
Marantz AV8802
The SSP 800 and the Anthem is a close tie and is mainly due to the Anthem's ARC room correction. Between the Marantz AV8802 and the Sigma SSP it is also a close tie and is mainly due to the Audyssey Platinum Suite on the AV8802.

In regards to multi-channel amp selections, the Rotel RMB-1585 and the Parasound Halo A51 would have more than enough power to drive those Sunfire speakers that you are planning to get or just about any power hungry and difficult to drive speakers.

The Rotel RMB-1585 delivers at least 200 wpc @ 8 ohms with all channels driven and is stable all the way down to 2 ohms. It is a bullet proof amp and built like a tank. Somebody I know who is a pro reviewer for a hifi magazine owns this Rotel amp to use in his home theater setup and he also did a review for this amp and when evaluating its stereo performance he was driving his difficult to drive Rockport speakers full range with this Rotel amp and he said that the RMB-1585 drove his Rockport speakers with ease and he could never get this amp to clip even when pushed really hard at extremely high volumes.
Very powerful and musical and had bottom end grunt and levels of control and authority that you wouldn't expect from $3k five-channel amp.
Sometimes you will see a used one offered on Audiogon and other sites for around $2k. I would place this amp on the amplifier stand on the floor due to its size and weight. The amp is equipped with two large toroidal transformers for all five channels with separate power supplies windings and rectifiers for each channel.

The Parasound Halo A51 delivers even more power than the Rotel 250 wpc @ 8 ohms with all channels driven and is able to cope with low impedance loads.
IMO the Halo A51 is superior sonically than the RMB-1585 especially with movies. More details and nuance than the Rotel. When it comes to PRAT the Halo A51 is superior to the Rotel RMB-1585. The amp is equipped with an oversized toroidal transformer and is a direct coupled design and its circuitry is fully balanced. Sonically this is my favorite five-channel amp for under $5k. Quite often you will be able to find this amp in a used market for around $2500. Be on the look out. I would also place the amp on the amplifier stand on the floor due to its size and weight.

I forgot to mention the NAD M27 seven-channel amp ($4k) but quite frequently I saw this amp in a used market for around $2500 or less. Sonically superior to the Rotel but not by much IMO. Overall I prefer the Parasound Halo A51.

Speaking of Sunfire gears, Bob Carver lives in the greater Seattle area and I've met with him couple times. Few years ago he used to work together with my friend who is a musician towards developing and tweaking one of his speakers.

bierfeldt
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It is going to be a long time before I make these decisions. I will be renting for at least two years which means no permanent theater install. I might get a receiver with a modest 7.1 system in the interim (7 for gaming) but am definitely not going to go high end until I buy a house and have a proper theater space.

Bob Carver is making some really cool stuff these days. Have you seen the Amazing Line Source speakers? There is a review over at The Absolute Sound. I am so bummed I missed last years NYC show. He was demoing the ALSs driven by his current line of tube amps. I have heard they are nothing short of spectacular. I have always been a fan of his. My first system was Carver, the old Carver Amazings are one of my favorite speakers of all time, I had the Sunfire HRS speakers in the theater in my ex-wife's house and currently am using a Sunfire Tru SuperJunior in my 2 channel system. Always great sounding and innovative stuff.

commsysman
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Instead of tacking all of this stuff onto a thread that was started 6 months ago, please start your own new thread and let this sucker die the natural death it is overdue for.

caphill
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bierfeldt wrote:

It is going to be a long time before I make these decisions. I will be renting for at least two years which means no permanent theater install. I might get a receiver with a modest 7.1 system in the interim (7 for gaming) but am definitely not going to go high end until I buy a house and have a proper theater space.

Bob Carver is making some really cool stuff these days. Have you seen the Amazing Line Source speakers? There is a review over at The Absolute Sound. I am so bummed I missed last years NYC show. He was demoing the ALSs driven by his current line of tube amps. I have heard they are nothing short of spectacular. I have always been a fan of his. My first system was Carver, the old Carver Amazings are one of my favorite speakers of all time, I had the Sunfire HRS speakers in the theater in my ex-wife's house and currently am using a Sunfire Tru SuperJunior in my 2 channel system. Always great sounding and innovative stuff.

Hi Bierfeldt,
I haven't heard his Amazing Line Source speakers but I believed my musician friend has. She was the one who helped Bob develop one of his speaker line up......might have been the ALS. I will have to ask her about that. I liked Bob's older gears. I will have to have a listen to his newer gears and speakers. I will have to get in touch with him for that. He's such a nice gentleman and was very easy to have a conversation or discussions with. I've only met him couple times through my friend. He lives in around greater Seattle area.

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