So, I listened to alot (!) of floorstanding speakers in the $1500-$2500 range. My thoughts and review: - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 06-03-2014, 12:52 PM - Thread Starter
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It took alot of driving, but here are my thoughts on a bunch of floorstanders, usage to be maybe 65% home theatre and, when listeing to music, much of the time it will be with a whole houseful of folks (i.e., party mode), listed in order of preference based on what I was listening for:

B&W 683 series 2 (or whatever they are calling the 2014 release) ($1,750): Phenomenal speaker for the money and clearly better than the old series, which I own. Tweeter has an air about it that is just incredible at the price and their midrange is also as smooth and velvety and just short of forward as it gets at this price point. Low end was not tremendous, but at least they did not over-emphasize the mid-bass to compensate for it. Tight quick bass, just not tons of it. I'm not happy about the price increase, and the looks are mediocre at best, but as much as I donn't want to end up buying a new version of what I already own, these are an impossibly good value -- if you have a sub.

Dali Zensor 7 ($1,500): Long drive to hear these, but wow was I impressed. Deep tight bass (sub optional for non bass junkies) and fantastic imaging(!) and highs with a bit of a recessed midrange. The boom and sizzle of Euro speakers, but they pull it off gloriously. Fun speaker. Fantastic value for home theatre and the Z1 make amazing surrounds. As bang for your buck goes, these were the best I heard for pure home theatre. Due to the slightly recessed midrange though I didn't think these were the most musical of speakers, unless you were just playing rock and pop, which they ace in spades. A serious surprise.

JBL LS60 and LS80 (+/- $2500): Bass, baby. Tons of it, the deep and tight kind. I demoed them against the Paradigms at the same shop and they couldn't quite get the imaging and highs as right as the Paradigms , but they were very very close, but the mids were about the same (a little more laid back) but ohh that bass. They would kill most speakers (and any on this list) in party mode and would make amazing home theatre speakers with an ability to be musical as well. I never heard them as "horns" (not harsh in least) and the cabinets are gorgeous (nicest here) and the only issue was that the dealer tells me they need a ton of power to drive them and that my Yamaha Aventage can't handle them. Shame as I likely would have gone with them but don't want to pony up for a bunch of new separates. If you want to party, go loud in your home theatre and have the power these are your toys.

Paradigm Monitor 11 ($1,600): If I were buying these speakers just for music (a bit of everything), and wasn't planning on whole house parties and movies where I needed to go loud and proud, these would perhaps be my choice. Best imaging in the lot by a nudge I'd say, sweet airy tweeter and front and center velvety mids that are not as forward as, say, the new B&W 683, but just an all around great package. Their fault, unfortunately, is an emphasis on mid/upper bass frequencies that I just cannot live with.

Sonus Faber Venere 2.5 ($2,500): See my notes on the B&W 683's as they sound similar. I did an A/B comparison at Best Buy and couldn't believe how similar these speakers were to the B&Ws. Sonus mids and highs are a bit more laid back than the B&Ws, but not in a bad way (VERY smooth), but the B&W has a bit tighter bass. These speakers lack bass. Sonus cabinets make the B&W's look plain nasty, but you get what you pay for. They don't sound $750 better than the B&Ws or Paradigms, but they sure do look it. For all music, especially classical and jazz, these are worth a listen.

Monitor Audio Silver 8 and 10 (+/- $2,500): Harshest tweeter of the lot. I got lost after that. Maybe they are better after serious break in (no idea how long dealer had broken them in), but aside from being harsh they didn't image all that well. Shame because those dual 8" woofers in the Silver 10's were a huge lure, but I just couldn't live with the tweeter harshness and lack of imaging.

Klipsch Reference R82 ($1,300): They are horns and they don't hide it. For a 100% home theatre applicattion with no sub these would be tough to beat for the price, but they simply are too harsh for music that I listen to. Recessed midrange -- all boom and sizzle. Sorry Klipsch fans.

Martin Logan Motion 40 ($1,800): Superb tweeter and highs, maybe as nice or nicer than the new B&W's, but to my ears just lacked the midrange and bass presence to follow them up with.
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post #2 of 15 Old 06-03-2014, 03:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exriguy View Post

It took alot of driving, but here are my thoughts on a bunch of floorstanders, usage to be maybe 65% home theatre and, when listeing to music, much of the time it will be with a whole houseful of folks (i.e., party mode), listed in order of preference based on what I was listening for:


Sonus Faber Venere 2.5 ($2,500): See my notes on the B&W 683's as they sound similar. I did an A/B comparison at Best Buy and couldn't believe how similar these speakers were to the B&Ws. Sonus mids and highs are a bit more laid back than the B&Ws, but not in a bad way (VERY smooth), but the B&W has a bit tighter bass. These speakers lack bass. Sonus cabinets make the B&W's look plain nasty, but you get what you pay for. They don't sound $750 better than the B&Ws or Paradigms, but they sure do look it. For all music, especially classical and jazz, these are worth a listen.

Did you also listen to the Venere 3.0? It should have more bass, although at a higher price.
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post #3 of 15 Old 06-03-2014, 05:59 PM - Thread Starter
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I did listen to the 3.0s and they are a whole new speaker over the 2.5s, which explains the huge $1000 price jump out of my zone. While they deliver a beautiful full size sound, they still don't deliver the amount of bass I like to have to wow guests for music and movies. I demoed them against the B&W CM 9s though and thought they sounded better in nearly every way. CM9 is a very laid back speaker. 3.0s are worth every penny and then some for pure music.
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post #4 of 15 Old 06-03-2014, 07:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exriguy View Post

I demoed them against the B&W CM 9....

Hi eriguy, how does the new b&w 683 stack up against the CM9? It is a bit more forward than the 9s? Also, was the high frequency performance of the new series the main thing which caught your attention?
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post #5 of 15 Old 06-03-2014, 08:33 PM
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JBL LS60 and LS80 (+/- $2500): Bass, baby. Tons of it, the deep and tight kind. I demoed them against the Paradigms at the same shop and they couldn't quite get the imaging and highs as right as the Paradigms , but they were very very close, but the mids were about the same (a little more laid back) but ohh that bass. They would kill most speakers (and any on this list) in party mode and would make amazing home theatre speakers with an ability to be musical as well. I never heard them as "horns" (not harsh in least) and the cabinets are gorgeous (nicest here) and the only issue was that the dealer tells me they need a ton of power to drive them and that my Yamaha Aventage can't handle them. Shame as I likely would have gone with them but don't want to pony up for a bunch of new separates. If you want to party, go loud in your home theatre and have the power these are your toys.

It looks like some-one is just trying to sell you a Amp.smile.gif

According to measurements from AVHUB, the LS80 is not that hard to drive >>
From down low, up to 6 khz they do not drop below 7 ohms - nominal impedance is 6 ohms
The sensitivity is 89.3 db > and the bass response measured down to 33 hz

So you may want to think about them again - since you seem to like them a lot.

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post #6 of 15 Old 06-04-2014, 06:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThumbtackJack View Post

Hi eriguy, how does the new b&w 683 stack up against the CM9? It is a bit more forward than the 9s? Also, was the high frequency performance of the new series the main thing which caught your attention?

In my opinion, the new 683 makes the CM9 a questionable value proposition as I heard them pretty much back to back and while they are of course different speakers, I'd take the 683 for the money. Yes, the main difference is the new tweeter in the 683 which gives almost nothing away now to the CM9 (the CM9 is only a tad more detailed) however I also felt the new 683 has a deeper tighter bass than the old model -- I think they upgraded the woofer too. Mids didnt sound any different to me and they are forward in a just right kind of way, while the CM9 is a bit more laid back. The CM9s had a sweeter and more velvety midrange, albeit a bit more laid back, but really didn;t sound all that different to me in the low and high frequencies. They image a tad better. I really do not think the price difference is justified, but the cabinets are of course a lot nicer.
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post #7 of 15 Old 06-04-2014, 06:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post

It looks like some-one is just trying to sell you a Amp.smile.gif

According to measurements from AVHUB, the LS80 is not that hard to drive >>
From down low, up to 6 khz they do not drop below 7 ohms - nominal impedance is 6 ohms
The sensitivity is 89.3 db > and the bass response measured down to 33 hz

So you may want to think about them again - since you seem to like them a lot.

Don't think he was trying to sell me an amp; he basically said he would refuse to sell them to me -- he says the efficiency readings are not an accurate picture and that while a receiver can drive the normal drivers just fine, the horn is a power hog that a receiver cannot do justice for. I loved them, for sure, for my purposes at least -- the bang for your buck proposition was huge.
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post #8 of 15 Old 06-04-2014, 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by exriguy View Post

Don't think he was trying to sell me an amp; he basically said he would refuse to sell them to me -- he says the efficiency readings are not an accurate picture and that while a receiver can drive the normal drivers just fine, the horn is a power hog that a receiver cannot do justice for. I loved them, for sure, for my purposes at least -- the bang for your buck proposition was huge.

He is definitely trying to sell you an amp. Bunch of BS. He's gonna refuse to sell them to you??
The senior members of this forum like "ziegjl01" would run circles around the salesman and
His "knowledge".

You should call him out and tell him you want the speakers...if he refuses ask for his supervisor..
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post #9 of 15 Old 06-04-2014, 07:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by grasshoppers View Post

He is definitely trying to sell you an amp. Bunch of BS. He's gonna refuse to sell them to you??
The senior members of this forum like "ziegjl01" would run circles around the salesman and
His "knowledge".

You should call him out and tell him you want the speakers...if he refuses ask for his supervisor..

I hear you on the distrust. But he was the owner and I live near the guy. He'd have sold me any other low-end speakers (he carried the Paradigms, Revel and also PSB) but basically his experience was that the complicated horn structure in those speakers needs a continuous current amp, whatever that is. I hate salesmen too, but I believe him. He didn't say they wouldn'd sound okay, just that it would be a waste of money and better off spending $1,000 less on something else. If you read up on that horn structure it is heavyweight beast of a system. Who knows at this point, but he was a JBL Synthesis platinum dealer and knew his sh*t, I thought. But I'm no expert, just a wannabe.
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post #10 of 15 Old 06-04-2014, 07:40 AM
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"The horn is a power hog" that is just not true at all in fact the horn is the most sensitive portion of that and just about every multi-driver speaker with a horn loaded tweeter made and is padded down to match the other drivers because it would overun the mids and bass if it wasn't.

Close your eyes and hear the truth!
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post #11 of 15 Old 06-04-2014, 07:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Hmm, y'all got me thinking about them again smile.gif
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post #12 of 15 Old 06-04-2014, 08:04 AM
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Plus unless you plan on never wanting to upgrade your rec why not get speakers that will play ridiculously loud now and can handle anything you throw at them years from now. Harman is one of the few companies I would trust when it comes to ratings so if they say it's a 90db sensitivity speaker you can bet that is pretty darn close to true.

Close your eyes and hear the truth!
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post #13 of 15 Old 06-04-2014, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by exriguy View Post

Hmm, y'all got me thinking about them again smile.gif

The Horn will not faint - the speaker has measured well (good) - the Yamaha would like it.
Not a waste of money - and will sound Better than OK - the horn is not a power hog.

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post #14 of 15 Old 06-06-2014, 08:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exriguy View Post

Don't think he was trying to sell me an amp; he basically said he would refuse to sell them to me -- he says the efficiency readings are not an accurate picture and that while a receiver can drive the normal drivers just fine, the horn is a power hog that a receiver cannot do justice for. I loved them, for sure, for my purposes at least -- the bang for your buck proposition was huge.

boy I sure hope you really don't believe that.

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post #15 of 15 Old 06-07-2014, 05:26 AM - Thread Starter
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No, i do not believe it is a power hog any longer. I an going to go back and give them another listen.
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