Full Range Towers wanted - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 49 Old 04-04-2013, 12:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Though it'll be a year or so before I'm ready to buy anything, I want to spend that time auditioning as much as I can. I've been trying to go out and listen about every other weekend or so, but haven't been able to hear a huge selection of stuff. I am buying these primarily for 2ch listening but they'll be pulling double duty for HT. I know people have their opinions that I should just get a better set of bookshelves since I have a sub, that's fine, BUT THAT'S NOT WHAT I'M LOOKING FOR. I currently have that setup and while it's ok and sounds decent, I really want full range towers. If you think I'd be wasting my money for speakers that play low when I have a sub, keep it to yourself and please don't derail the thread. I currently use a pair of Hsu HB-1s and a Hsu VTF3mk3 for music but occasionally just in 2ch if at low/mid volumes. They're great speakers but sound a little veiled and have a small sweet spot. I listen to all kinds of music - Tool, old Metallica, Chevelle, Alice in Chains, Days of the New, bluegrass, grunge, alternative, Snoop, Fat Boys, Prodigy, Zeppelin, Perfect Circle, classic rock, occasionally classical and some pop for the old lady. A little of everything.
So far I've heard these (I know they're not all towers):
Kef r300
Kef r700 - more of a sweet area instead of a spot, great sound but need to hear them again to reassess the low end with new demo material.
Kef LS50 - to me they sounded like the r300 but less extension and more expensive.
Quad 22L2 - good but nothing special
Paradigm studio 60 - really wanted these to be all I'd need but didn't have enough oomph. Really like the mids, highs are a little bright but could probably live with it. Was only a little much on a couple of my demo tracks, same as at home.
Paradigm studio 100 - same as above but had all the extension I'm looking for. Everything sounded balanced and full. Similar to the 60s but seemed to play it with much less effort.
B&W cm8 - nice sound but a little layed back. Not as bright as the studios (not a bad thing just different), low end is between the 60s and 100s, but just didn't grab me. Sounded as if I was on the 15th or 20th row vs the 3rd for the studios.
Golden Ear Triton 3 - sounded pretty good but boomy despite the treated room.
Triton 2 - same as the 3s but the low end seemed to have disappeared.

I'm not too interested in towers with built in subs since they seem to be more complicated to dial in, especially with HT. As far as size restrictions, I don't think I'd want anything bigger than the 100s. WAF isn't really an issue but I'd also like them to look nice. Really like the 100s in rosenut, just gorgeous. I plan on moving the HB-1s (which are rosenut) to the rear when I get the towers to replace a couple of sats. Eventually I'll get a matching center and surrounds but it'll be down the road since I'll have to get a new entertainment center (hopefully standout designs, but more $$$) for the center channel. Until I can upgrade my Sony 4400ES (would like XT32), I'll be using that to drive them until I can get an external amp. Room is about 26x15x8' with the tv on the long wall and couch against the opposite wall as well as faux beams on the ceiling running width wise. No way to rearrange due to a bay window at one end and fireplace at the other. It's open to the rest of the house via a walkway to the kitchen and hallway. HB-1s have been moved to either side of the tv since the diagram was made. Though the original position would be good for wides some day.
Also trying to compile a list of companies that'll allow trial periods with free shipping both ways. Was following a thread where someone else was doing the same but can't seem to find it now.
Thanks in advance for all the input and suggestions. Love that I have a place to pick the brains of people brighter than me, as most are. Max budget is about $3k.
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post #2 of 49 Old 04-05-2013, 02:14 PM
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Finding companies that have a trial period and will pay shipping both ways is going to be tough.

SVS has some new towers you might look at (they are offering free shipping both ways right now).

http://www.svsound.com/speakers

Salk offers a trial period on their standard SongTowers (excellent speakers btw!) but you would pay shipping. That said, Jim Salk can help you find a local owner who's willing to offer an audition (well worth the effort IMO).

http://www.salksound.com/songtower%20home.htm

Also, Dennis Murphy of Philharmonic Audio is working on a new tower model that looks real interesting:

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1348949/philharmonic-audio-dennis-murphy/3840

Based on Dennis' other work I've heard I expect they will be nothing short of excellent.

Hope this helps.smile.gif

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post #3 of 49 Old 04-05-2013, 03:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Saturn! All three of those were on my list to try and hear. I think the thread I was looking for was able to compare the Phils and the SVSs. Can't remember which he went with. If I remember right, the Phil's sounded a little better as far as detail in midrange but the svs was more suited to the music he listened to. Hard rock like me I think.
The Salks are very well known around here for their great sound, though are usually said to need a sub for best results. I do think I'll try to find a local owner so I can hear for myself what all the fuss is about.
Looking forward to these and thanks again!
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post #4 of 49 Old 04-05-2013, 03:35 PM
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Depends on the music you listen to also or more exactly what type of instruments the music you listen to generally plays.

Most musical bass only hits somewhere into the low 30hz (for the most part)...

Something to keep in mind.
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post #5 of 49 Old 04-05-2013, 06:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Newbie01 View Post

Depends on the music you listen to also or more exactly what type of instruments the music you listen to generally plays.

Most musical bass only hits somewhere into the low 30hz (for the most part)...

Something to keep in mind.
I guess when I said full range I should've specified as for the full range of music. Examples of what I listen to are listed above in the original post. Though organs and such go into the teens, I don't really listen to organ music. However, some stuff I listen to has electronic or synthesized bass which seems to go pretty low, just don't know how far down.
On a side note, the paradigm studio 100 says it's low frequency extension is 25Hz (DIN). What does the DIN mean?
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post #6 of 49 Old 04-05-2013, 06:20 PM
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I love my Philharmonic 2. While in my HT it's about 50/50,the speakers do well with both. They go down to about 30Hz, and while I have a sub it's crossed at 40Hz for 2 channel listening - it's not often activated. I listen to everything from Indie and alternative to classical, no hip hop, rap, or country. You'll be able to point out poor recordings and heavily compressed or low bitrate lossy files, but I suppose good speakers should.

If interested I recommend getting in touch with Dennis to see if there is a friendly owner in your area for a listen.

Good luck!

Heya Saturn! How's it hangin'? wink.gif

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post #7 of 49 Old 04-05-2013, 06:54 PM
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I know it may not get much talk on this forum but I just purchased a set of Zu Audio Omen Defs and could not be happier. They are a crossoverless design and have options to upgrade the caps to Clarity or Mundorff. I got mine with the new MK1b drivers from Druid and Definition and a B Stock cabinet. They take quite a while to break in but OMG they are awesome with the right source. Garbage in garbage out definitely applies here. Feed them a clean signal and they will amaze! They are extremely efficient at 98 db 1w/1meter. Their HT performance is equally impressive. I will say that they like wider than average placement but throw a tall, wide, and immersive soundstage image. Mine are starting to open up now and listening to Godsmack, Tool, The Eagles, Pink Floyd and such is a real treat. Lots of mid bass thump and you will here details that you may not realized were there before.

They may not be the END ALL speaker but I have buddies with high dollar Focals, Vandersteens, and Sonus Faber that are quite perturbed that they spent 3-4 times as much and favor my Zu's.

Just saying, they are worth a look. Great guys and great customer service.
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post #8 of 49 Old 04-05-2013, 06:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nethawk View Post

I love my Philharmonic 2. While in my HT it's about 50/50,the speakers do well with both. They go down to about 30Hz, and while I have a sub it's crossed at 40Hz for 2 channel listening - it's not often activated. I listen to everything from Indie and alternative to classical, no hip hop, rap, or country. You'll be able to point out poor recordings and heavily compressed or low bitrate lossy files, but I suppose good speakers should.

If interested I recommend getting in touch with Dennis to see if there is a friendly owner in your area for a listen.

Good luck!

Heya Saturn! How's it hangin'? wink.gif

Hi Nethawk. Still enjoying that "compromised" LCR......LOL! Sorry, couldn't resist. wink.gif. Btw, sent you a PM.

I thought about suggesting the Phil 2, but I got the impression the OP wanted a more traditional tower. If not, then the Phil 2 should certainly be on his short list. I'm really interested in hearing new Phil tower, assuming it makes it into production.
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post #9 of 49 Old 04-06-2013, 07:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Saturn94 View Post

Hi Nethawk. Still enjoying that "compromised" LCR......LOL! Sorry, couldn't resist. wink.gif. Btw, sent you a PM.

I thought about suggesting the Phil 2, but I got the impression the OP wanted a more traditional tower. If not, then the Phil 2 should certainly be on his short list. I'm really interested in hearing new Phil tower, assuming it makes it into production.
Didn't Dennis Murphy design the Salks? Do they sound very similar? Have impressions of both?
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post #10 of 49 Old 04-06-2013, 08:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ambesolman View Post

Didn't Dennis Murphy design the Salks? Do they sound very similar? Have impressions of both?

Yes, Dennis designs the crossovers, and I believe also has a hand in driver selection as well. And yes, they do sound similar. As I understand it, the crossover has a big impact on how a speaker sounds, so it's not surprising that speakers from the same crossover designer would sound similiar. The last time I visited Dennis (in 2010) I got to directly compare a prototype of the Phil 2 to the Salk HT2-TL. The primary difference between the two was the more open sound of the Phil 2 due to it's open back midrange design.

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post #11 of 49 Old 04-06-2013, 08:37 AM
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I recommend that you look at the Gallo Classico CL-3 speakers, which are only $1600 factory direct.

I think they may be the finest-sounding full-range speakers you can get for anywhere near their price.

They have a unique patented tweeter that is quite amazing. They also use NO crossover, which is a very good feature.

Gallo gives you a 60-DAY FREE TRIAL period, and pays shipping both ways on returns.

They are confident that no one can hear them and want to return them; and with good reason.

Check out the article on them from The Absolute Sound.
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post #12 of 49 Old 04-19-2013, 03:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Alright, so I have next week off. Finally was able to track down a Monitor Audio dealer with a showroom here in town so I'm going to try and hear some RX6s since they don't have the RX8s. Also going to try and do a second demo with the Kef dealer to A/B the R700 again with the Q900. Will see if he'll let me bring my Hsu HB-1s along to compare the R300s against as well. Might even go hear some B&W CM9s too since I found a place that has them set up in a better room.
So far, the Paradigm Studio 100s have impressed me the most as far as giving me the fullest impact with music. Gonna tweak my demo cd and should have a fun time this week!

Edit: also found a place that carries dynaudio and another with Focals. Gonna be busy.
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post #13 of 49 Old 04-19-2013, 03:34 PM
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Cool. Interested to hear your thoughts!

Panny 65st60 / Denon X1000 / EMP e55ti / EMP e56ci / EMP e5bi / (2) e1010i
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post #14 of 49 Old 04-19-2013, 05:24 PM
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+1
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post #15 of 49 Old 04-20-2013, 04:26 AM
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fwiw, would also give the dynaudio lines of speakers a listen to if possible

i'm so laid back,i'm laid out
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post #16 of 49 Old 04-20-2013, 04:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Didn't think about them. Ill see if I can find them in town, thanks!
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post #17 of 49 Old 04-20-2013, 04:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Anyone have other suggestions to add?
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post #18 of 49 Old 04-20-2013, 05:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ambesolman View Post

Anyone have other suggestions to add?
Atlantic Texhnology AT-1 towers. $3k MSRP but, clearly there should be a discount off of that. Beautiful sounding speaker.

It's also a Stereophile B recommended component (one step below "cost no object").

Lots and lots of reviews and videos for you to check out so you can decide if you want to demo. I think this is one of the better deals in upper mid-fi audio right now. It's very efficient as well, so you won't have to throw a brick at it power wise.

Here's a link, links to reviews and videos at the bottom: http://www.atlantictechnology.com/default.asp?NodeId=159
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post #20 of 49 Old 04-20-2013, 06:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlexMulti View Post

Atlantic Texhnology AT-1 towers. $3k MSRP but, clearly there should be a discount off of that. Beautiful sounding speaker.

It's also a Stereophile B recommended component (one step below "cost no object").

Lots and lots of reviews and videos for you to check out so you can decide if you want to demo. I think this is one of the better deals in upper mid-fi audio right now. It's very efficient as well, so you won't have to throw a brick at it power wise.

Here's a link, links to reviews and videos at the bottom: http://www.atlantictechnology.com/default.asp?NodeId=159
I remember when these came out a few years ago. Everyone was going nuts about them. I've always wanted to hear them but I looks like I'd have to buy them to hear them. No dealers around. I'll have to see if I can find one that has a trial period and preferably free shipping smile.gif
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post #21 of 49 Old 04-21-2013, 12:12 PM - Thread Starter
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post #22 of 49 Old 04-21-2013, 12:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Heard the b&w cm9 today. Had a really good low end, mids were decent but the highs sounded muffled or veiled as if playing behind a thick curtain. The cm8 was the same way, just no crispness I guess. The Hsus have a better high end to me, but not as bright as the studio 100. Maybe that's just the b&w sound. If so, it's not bad just not for me.
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post #23 of 49 Old 04-23-2013, 01:26 PM - Thread Starter
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No auditions today, had to make appointments :/ Will be hearing the Monitor Audios tomorrow and Dynaudios on thurs. The focal dealer will be a couple of weeks before their new place is ready, but they'll also have Atlantic Technology's H-Pas HT-1 to hear. The Kef dealer should be calling me back today as well. If anyone's curious as to what music I'm using for the demos, I have the following apple lossless tracks burned on a cd:

Kathleen - David Gray
3 Libras (Feel My Ice Dub Mix) - A Perfect Circle
Fully Alive (Acoustic) - Flyleaf
Jane Says (Live) from Kettle Whistle cd - Jane's Addiction
Sober - Tool
What Goes Around/Comes Around Interlude - Justin Timberlake
Stinkfist - Mer (this is the ONLY good Tool tribute cd I've ever heard)
Out of the Woods - Nickel Creek
Leaving - Pickin' On Series (these guys are great. They have a couple hundred albums of bluegrass covers)
Lo Swaga (Live Acoustic) - Sound Tribe Sector 9, aka STS9
Nutshell (Live at Hiro Ballroom) - Staind (an awesome AIC cover)
Echo - Incubus
One - Metallica

So a pretty wide variety I think.
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post #24 of 49 Old 04-23-2013, 01:30 PM
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Nice. Very eclectic like my music tastes

Panny 65st60 / Denon X1000 / EMP e55ti / EMP e56ci / EMP e5bi / (2) e1010i
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post #25 of 49 Old 04-23-2013, 02:14 PM
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Similar tastes...really curious how you like the Focal and Dynaudio. I have my suspicions based on what I know of these two lines...but, we'll see. Also, thus far, your reviews and my impressions when I was listening seem to align. I too couldn't get into the B&W sound.

For the record, I wound up getting Paradigms after a lot of other auditioning, however I got the 60's because they were a demo pair. It was quite some time back, so the newer speakers do sound a little different, but, IMO, not insanely. Biggest problem I've had with my 60's are they just don't have the oomph to fill the room they are now in at the levels I want to achieve -- the levels I think this sort of music deserves, lol. They don't have the bass output to keep up with my sub, and their upper end starts to fall apart as well (and/or get drowned out by the boosted sub to compensate for their bad bass...).

I'm now looking towards more efficient horn-based speakers, but still can't quite get into the Klipsch sound, too bright. I was hoping to hear their Palladium line just because the few reviews have said it's a departure from their normal overtly bright and forward sound to something a bit more neutral, but they are expensive. I'm also quite looking forward to demoing some of the JTR speakers, which may be a hair over your budget, but from all accounts people seem to say they just rock really hard!

Anyway, best of luck!
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post #26 of 49 Old 04-23-2013, 05:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ambesolman View Post

So far, the Paradigm Studio 100s have impressed me the most as far as giving me the fullest impact with music. Gonna tweak my demo cd and should have a fun time this week!

Edit: also found a place that carries dynaudio and another with Focals. Gonna be busy.

If you like the sound of the Studio 100s, you need to listen to the Paradigm Signature S6s.
The S6s are a big step up from the Studio line and will work well for HT.

I made the mistake of listening to the Signature line a couple years back while a buddy was shopping for speakers.
He initially was looking at Studios and at the time I had a pair of v4 Studio 40s.
When I got home I put the music on that we'd just been listening to on the Sigs and it was as if a veil had been placed in front of my Studios.
We both ended up with Signature speakers. smile.gif

Go give them a listen - you won't be disappointed.
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post #27 of 49 Old 04-23-2013, 06:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 519audiofan View Post

If you like the sound of the Studio 100s, you need to listen to the Paradigm Signature S6s.
The S6s are a big step up from the Studio line and will work well for HT.

I made the mistake of listening to the Signature line a couple years back while a buddy was shopping for speakers.
He initially was looking at Studios and at the time I had a pair of v4 Studio 40s.
When I got home I put the music on that we'd just been listening to on the Sigs and it was as if a veil had been placed in front of my Studios.
We both ended up with Signature speakers. smile.gif

Go give them a listen - you won't be disappointed.
Thanks but I'm not going anywhere near the sigs. If I listen to them I'll probably want them and I can't afford anything but the S2s. Hell, I can't even afford those right now, still in saving mode and I want towers anyway. If I don't listen to them, then I'll never know what I'm missing and I'll be happy with what I get. Thanks for the suggestion though. I want to hear them, but it's definitely best for me if I don't.
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post #28 of 49 Old 04-24-2013, 01:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Heard some MAs today. Unfortunately, they only had the GX200 towers. While there's no way I could afford these, they sounded great. The dealer said that the RX8 gives ~90-95% of the performance of the gx series with a similarity in the highs and midrange. Despite their short stature, the sound was projecting a couple of feet above the speakers without being tilted back. They were toed in toward me and positioned a couple of feet from the back and side walls, but were only 6 or 8' from my LP. They played very cleanly and didn't notice any distortion when it got loud. The highs were much better than the cm9 but not as bright as the studio 100. May have to find some actual rx bookshelves before deciding anything for sure, but definitely liked what I heard.
Looking forward to hearing the dynaudios tomorrow.
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post #29 of 49 Old 04-24-2013, 09:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Found another place that I know has a showroom for MA AND Paradigm as well as PSB supposedly. Hopefully they'll have rx8s or at least some of the Silver line. It's almost 40mi away but I have to drive halfway to hear dynaudios anyway so figured what the hell. Should be fun.
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post #30 of 49 Old 04-25-2013, 04:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Well that place didn't have any MAs, glad I called before I drove further north. I finally, definitely found a place that has some rx6s, but can't hear them until tomorrow morning. The rx8 has been one of my main focuses this week ever since I was offered a killer deal on them along with the matching center. We'll see how things go tomorrow.
On to the dynaudio excite x36. It's a good looking speaker, had it in gloss black. I'm personally not a fan of gloss black, not because it doesn't look good but it shows fingerprints and scratches too well for me. I'm lazy and don't want anything high maintenance to deal with. I really like nice wood finishes, especially the rosewood/rosenuts. That wood just gives me wood and exudes class with the ideas of expensive tastes. I've gone off topic. Anywho, they were setup next to a pair of focus 380s (didn't have time to hear them) which made the x36 look small in comparison. Regardless, they played much bigger than I would've guessed. The sound was absolutely full range and handled all my demo tracks with ease putting out a good soundstage. The imaging was off though and I'm still not sure what the problem was. Instead of them imaging directly between them and right infront of me, it was shifted about 2' to the left. So I took both grills off, pulled both speakers away from the wall and the 380s and toed them directly at my LP. It helped a little but was still noticeable. The salesman rechecked the equipment and all was well but no different. Unable to fix that I just sat back and listened. The bass was deep and just sounded right for the volume, never overpowering the mids and highs. The mids sounded clean and the highs were just borderline bright on a couple of tracks. But, I was left alone with the remote and played them pretty loud and they never sounded strained. I was even quoted a price very close to the x32's msrp. I could live with these.
The only downer of the day, besides realizing I have to go back up there to hear the MAs tomorrow, was that I didn't have the chance to hear the Wilson Audios in the jungle themed room down the hall. They were using focus 260s as SURROUNDS. They and the center look like the terminator designed them along with the dual 18" subs under the center. Oh well, maybe one day I'll have $50-75k to blow on speakers. At least I'll finally hear the MAs tomorrow and possibly some Revels if this other place nearby has a showroom.
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