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post #1 of 6914 Old 10-06-2007, 10:07 AM - Thread Starter
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This is the best A/V forum on the internet, so I hope this thread assists myself and many others.

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Brandon and I am a audio/videoholic. Since before I can remember and up until present day, I have listened to many speakers, however no speaker I have run across has ever been perfect to my ears. Hmm, perfect is a poor choice of words...how about this: I have not run across a speaker of whose flaws I could live with for a long, long time. Ever since I delved into A/V a number of years ago I have been on a seemingly hopeless quest to find that one "perfect" speaker. I have come close in some instances, but in the end I always yearn for more. So if you don't mind, I would like to share a little of my experience with you and explain to you what I am looking for. Hopefully with your help and recommendations, I can come to a journeys end…well, at least for a while.

Here goes:

All right, concerning myself...I have listened to a lot of crap over the years, but on the other end of the spectrum I have listened to a few very nice speakers, most of which are out of my current price range. So, being a man who strives for (near) perfection in every purchase he makes, I don't know which products will fill that void. I have owned many speakers, the most recent being Canton Ergo 900's, B&W 604's, Rocket 750's and 550's and the Vandersteen 2CE Sigs. Not one pair of speakers on the list was perfect to my ears, but as mentioned, none are or ever will be. However, I want to finally find an affordable solution of whose flaws I can live with for a long, long time.

Here are the requirements that I would love to be met (most of them anyway), unrealistic as they may be…

To die for imaging/wide soundstage/great dispersion - This system needs to be used for Home Theater and perform like a champ in 2-channel and multi-channel music listening. I don’t want to just hear what is coming from before me; I want to be captivated by it! I want the speakers to disappear into the room. I want to hear music, not speakers trying to reproduce music, if that makes sense.

My wife does not understand this hobby as many of us men do, and with that said she wants me to limit my purchase to one system (7.1 at the most). This means finding a set of fronts that will excel at music above all else (home theater is much easier to reproduce than the intricate and delicate dynamics and nuances of musical instruments, in my opinion of course. If I can find a speaker to do the latter, home theater requirements will easily be met). It also means meeting the WAF (aesthetically).

Dynamics, in both meanings of the word - One: able to be run at near reference levels without distortion or tonality changes. Two: able to pick out each and every instrument and every sound and nuance that said instrument makes on a boundary-less soundstage presented before me. The latter definition is more important to me than the first.

Accuracy – I know what you are thinking, it’s a relative and subjective term with no true definition, but I am indeed a stickler for flat frequency responses. Perhaps it’s a mental/anal retentive thing; a way to just appease that part of my brain, but it’s necessary for me nonetheless. I want a speaker that measures flat all the way through. I don’t want to have to worry about treating my room in order to improve the speaker, but rather just treat my room to only treat the reflections. In my opinion, too much EQ is a bad thing, thus I am against all EQ except parametric. Still, wouldn’t it be amazing to only have to EQ (treat) the room due to its imperfections rather than any of your equipment’s imperfections? Perhaps I am grasping at straws here, but one can hope.

Efficiency – I don’t mind shelling out for good equipment in order to get the most out of my speakers, but there is so much voodoo and snake oil out there…it’s disheartening, not to mention I will have to save over time in order to be able to afford this equipment. Still - the more true power (the actual power when measured with all channels driven), the better. And, of course, low total harmonic distortion measured when under duress. Obviously that is a completely different topic for another time (amplification). However, in lieu of the above mentioned, an efficient speaker that can be run on modest power (until I purchase the power that the speakers deserve) would be wonderful. This is the one place the Vandersteens lack…well, that and the looks department to appease the WAF.

Cost - I am just an average Joe that makes an average salary at an average job with a not so average passion for his hobbies, especially A/V. I also have a not so average wife (yes, she’s that good), and I have to think about her through all of this as well. I don’t have the luxury of being able to purchase what I want when I want and then compare it in my own home without worrying about cost. And this is no knock on those that can do such, God bless them. Due to cost restraints and my personal experience with what I have listened to over the years I have spent in this hobby, Internet Direct offers the best value to performance ratio in my opinion. And for the record, my arrival at this conclusion has nothing to do with the ID “fanboys” or the ID “haters,” or the fact that I get along with many of the ID supporters. It’s a simply judgment call that I have made based on my listening experiences. It is also not a knock on B&M speakers as they make some amazing products. And I am certainly not saying that all ID product are better than their rival B&M products in that same price range (I have heard garbage from both ID and B&M). But if one can eliminate most of the markup created by a local shop, the decision becomes a no brainer for me – look to ID first. This line of thinking is not static, however. If I can find a good deal on a used product or receive a nice discount on B&M equipment – awesome, I’m all over it.

With all of that being said, I do not have a set price range. I would like to keep things as low in cost as possible, but if I find a true contender that can win me over, I will try to save for it. However, let's not get too crazy here.

To conclude, I am looking for a speaker with the open and airiness of a Vandersteen, the dynamics of a Klipsch horn, the sound stage of beffleless speakers and a price that won’t break the bank or give my wife a reason to hate me. Add in a shake of accuracy and a dash of a well balanced treble extension, and that is my "perfect" speaker. Does such thing exist? Is something along these lines in the works?

So there you have it; my requirements, however unreachable they are.
In lieu of all this, I have no issues at all with purchasing the front speakers and adding the rest of the multi-channel system later.

So that brings me to the present and the decisions I have to make. Where do I go from here? Many of you have been doing this much longer than me, so can you offer any advice? And, of course, everyone’s ears and opinions are different, so I am specifically looking for opinions and some recommendations on what to listen to. I know better than to purchase based on someone else’s opinions, but I assure you they will be taken to heart and appreciated, though taken with a grain of salt.

Thank you all! Sorry for the very lengthy read. Feel free to PM me if you feel you may be flamed or challenged on your recommendation.

Thanks,

Brandon

Update - 3-23-08

Having listened to many speakers, I'm going to chose a "perfect speaker" for my ears based on price categories. So, here is what my favorites are at each price point thus far:

My "perfect speaker" under $1000/pair:
Vandersteen 1C

My "perfect speaker" under $3000/pair:
Salk SongTower

My cost no object "ultimate speaker:"
Salk SoundScape

As you can see there are a lot more price categories out there, which is why I will continue my journey until I've picked something for each category. No, I can't listen to everything, but that won't stop me from trying.

Jump to Audition # 1
Monitor Audio RS6 and Vandersteen 1C
Jump to Audition # 2
Paradigm Studio 100 v.3 and Monitor Audio GS60
Jump to Audition # 3
Vandersteen 2CE Sig II, Vienna Acoustics Schonberg, Sonus Faber Concerto Domus, Vandersteen Quatro and Vandersteen Model 5A
Jump to Audition # 4
Swan Diva 6.2, Acculine A3, Onix Rocket 850 Signature, Salk SongTower QWT, Definitive Technology BP10B and NHT Classic 2
Jump to Audition # 5
Ascend Acoustics Sierra-1
Jump to Audition # 6
Dynaudio Contour S1.4
Jump to Audition # 7
SVS MTS Series, Onix Rocket 850 and Paradigm Studio 100 v.4
Jump to Audition # 8
Monitor Audio PL300
Jump to my final decision...for now.
Salk SongTower's
Bonus Speaker Review
Chase Home Theater WAF-1's
My journey's end - the final choice (including review)
Salk SongTower RT (ribbon tweeter) - the first pair ever built


Unfortunately I have not added all of the speakers I have auditioned to this thread. It is very time consumming, and it would mean trying to remember all of the qualities of every speaker I've listened to before creating this thread (about another two dozen speakers or so). However, if you are interested, please PM me and I will answer your questions to the best of my ability (memory).

Finally, I want this thread to be more than my "journey." I want this thread to be used as a timeline of events for everyone and their search for their "perfect" speaker. Please don't let this die, even if and when I find my speaker and am content with it. In that event, the journey must continue, but now it's your journey folks.

My journey to find the "perfect" speaker
Dr. Olive's Blog

 

 

No matter what measurements tell us, a loudspeaker isn’t good until it
sounds good. - Dr. Floyd Toole
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post #2 of 6914 Old 10-06-2007, 10:54 AM
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I can see we think alike. I also have a dream of one day finding my perfect speaker and being happy. I also have the same strange NEED for a flat response to make some part of my brain happy. I also want to be captivated by the sound of my speakers and have them disappear, leaving just the performers on a perfectly represented 3D stage. I also want them to handle loud movies with ease. At the same time though, I will have to pay off these college loans eventually... so I don't have tens of thousands to work with.

Since you didn't list a hard budget, this is a shot in the dark, but I've found most, if not all, of my requirement met with the Energy Reference Connoisseur line. I've also heard the C&W CM line, but the refs seemed to have more dynamic presence. I've also heard the Paradigm Sudio's and Signature's but the Energy's were "sweeter" and made the music live more. In fact, I've liked most every Energy speaker I've heard. I've got a pair of C-9s right now, which are the flagship from the last generation of the line below the refs. They're great, but the refs are just better in EVERY way.

Imaging? The RCs do that easily. Wide as a mile, but most notably in depth. You can "see" each performer's spacial relationship with one another. They convey ambient information extremely well and really put you there. They "disappear" very easily as well. And WAF? These are some of the sexiest looking speakers I've ever seen, at any price. Real wood veneer. I LOVE the rosenut finish the best, personally.

Dynamic as hell too. I heard the RC-50s on a 50wpc NAD amp in the showroom, and these could get LOUD, and without sounding strained in the least. Their imaging remains solid at all volumes. A more powerful amp could really be scary...

Very flat response too. I think they may have a slight bit of extra life in the treble, but it's so darn refined, smooth and sweet, I kinda like it.

And, they range from 91-95dB efficiency? That do anything for ya?

Price-wise, they range from $2,000 MSRP for a pair of the big daddy RC-70s, to $550 for the little RC-10 bookshelf. However, I've seen some sites list them for less. Audioadvisor has them for their standard prices, but they're pretty reputable, so no need to worry about scams (although I haven't heard of any).

I'm probably going to pick up some RC-10s soon, and I've done a TON of researching lately into this exact aim.

Hope that helps some!
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Prepare for an obnoxiously long read; for that I apologize. I also have posted this in other forums, but I haven't had much response. This is the best A/V forum on the internet, so I hope I have better results here.

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Brandon and I have audio/videoholic. Since before I can remember and up until present day, I have listened to many speakers, however no speaker I have run across has ever been perfect to my ears. Hmm, perfect is a poor choice of words...how about this: I have not run across a speaker of whose flaws I could live with for a long, long time. Ever since I delved into A/V a number of years ago I have been on a seemingly hopeless quest to find that one "perfect" speaker. I have come close in some instances, but in the end I always yearn for more. So if you don't mind, I would like to share a little of my experience with you and explain to you what I am looking for. Hopefully with your help and recommendations, I can come to a journeys end…well, at least for a while.

Here goes:

All right, concerning myself...I have listened to a lot of crap over the years, but on the other end of the spectrum I have listened to a few very nice speakers, most of which are out of my current price range. So, being a man who strives for (near) perfection in every purchase he makes, I don't know what products will fill that void. I have owned many speakers, the most recent being Canton Ergo 900's, B&W 604's, Rocket 750's and 550's and the Vandersteen 2CE Sigs. Not one pair of speakers on the list was perfect to my ears, but as mentioned, none are or ever will be (the only pair I still own are the Vandersteen 2CE sigs which I currently use for 2-channel). I want to finally find an affordable solution of whose flaws I can live with for a long, long time.

Here are the requirements that I would love to be met, unrealistic as they may be…

To die for imaging/wide soundstage - This system needs to be used for Home Theater and perform like a champ in 2-channel and multi-channel music listening. I don’t want to just hear what is coming from before me; I want to be captivated by it! I want the speakers to disappear into the room.

My wife does not understand this hobby as many of us men do, and with that said she wants me to limit my purchase to one system (7.1 at the most). This means finding a set of fronts that will excel at music above all else (home theater is much easier to reproduce than the intricate and delicate dynamics and nuances of musical instruments, in my opinion of course. If I can find a speaker to do the latter, home theater requirements will easily be met). It also means meeting the WAF (aesthetically).

Dynamics, in both meanings of the word - One: able to be run at near reference levels without distortion or tonality changes. Two: able to pick out each and every instrument and every sound and nuance that said instrument makes on a boundary-less soundstage presented before me. The latter definition is more important to me than the first.

Accuracy – I know what you are thinking, it’s a relative and subjective term with no true definition, but I am indeed a stickler for flat frequency responses. Perhaps it’s a mental/anal retentive thing; a way to just appease that part of my brain, but it’s necessary for me nonetheless. I want a speaker that measures flat all the way through. I don’t want to have to worry about treating my room in order to improve the speaker, but rather just treat my room to only treat the reflections. In my opinion, too much EQ is a bad thing, thus I am against all EQ except parametric. Still, wouldn’t it be amazing to only have to EQ (treat) the room due to its imperfections rather than any of your equipment’s imperfections? Perhaps I am grasping at straws here, but one can hope.

Efficiency – I don’t mind shelling out for good equipment in order to get the most out of my speakers, but there is so much voodoo and snake oil out there…it’s disheartening, not to mention I will have to save over time in order to be able to afford this equipment. Still - the more true power (the actual power when measured with all channels driven), the better. And, of course, low total harmonic distortion measured when under duress. Obviously that is a completely different topic for another time (amplification). However, in lieu of the above mentioned, an efficient speaker that can be run on modest power (until I purchase the power that the speakers deserve) would be wonderful. This is the one place the Vandersteens lack…well, that and the looks department to appease the WAF.

Cost - I am just an average Joe that makes an average salary at an average job with a not so average passion for his hobbies, especially A/V. I also have a not so average wife (yes, she’s that good), and I have to think about her through all of this as well. I don’t have the luxury of being able to purchase what I want when I want and then compare it in my own home without worrying about cost. And this is no knock on those that can do such, God bless them. Due to cost restraints and my personal experience with what I have listened to over the years I have spent in this hobby, Internet Direct offers the best value to performance ratio in my opinion. And for the record, my arrival at this conclusion has nothing to do with the ID “fanboys” or the ID “haters,” or the fact that I get along with many of the ID supporters. It’s a simply judgment call that I have made based on my listening experiences. It is also not a knock on B&M speakers as they make some amazing products. And I am certainly not saying that all ID product are better than their rival B&M products in that same price range (I have heard garbage from both ID and B&M). But if one can eliminate most of the markup created by a local shop, the decision becomes a no brainer for me – look to ID first. This line of thinking is not static, however. If I can find a good deal on a used product or receive a nice discount on B&M equipment – awesome, I’m all over it.

With all of that being said, I do not have a set price range. I would like to keep things as low in cost as possible, but if I find a true contender that can win me over, I will try to save for it. However, let's not get too crazy here.

To conclude, I am looking for a speaker with the open and airiness of a Vandersteen, the dynamics of a Klipsch horn, the sound stage of planar (without the added coloration) and a price that won’t break the bank or give my wife a reason to hate me. Add in a shake of accuracy and a dash of a well balanced treble extension, and that is my "perfect" speaker. Does such thing exist? Is something along these lines in the works?

So there you have it; my requirements, however unreachable they are.
In lieu of all this, I have no issues at all with purchasing the front speakers and adding the rest of the multi-channels system later, but will there ever be a center and rears?

So that brings me to the present and the decisions I have to make. Where do I go from here? Many of you have been doing this much longer than me, so can you offer any advice? And, of course, everyone’s ears and opinions are different, so I am specifically looking for opinions and some recommendations on what to listen to. I know better than to purchase base on someone else’s opinions, but I assure you they will be taken to heart and appreciated, though taken with a grain of salt.

Thank you all! Sorry for the very lengthy read. Feel free to PM me if you feel you may be flamed or challenged on your recommendation.

Sincerely,
Brandon

You definitely want to buy Bose... You will not be happy with anything else.




"It is worse still to be ignorant of your ignorance."
-- Saint Jerome (374 AD - 419 AD)

My Home Theatre
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post #4 of 6914 Old 10-06-2007, 01:15 PM - Thread Starter
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You definitely want to buy Bose... You will not be happy with anything else.




LMAO! Nice...

Pibbo, thanks for the info buddy. I will be researching those Energy's.

Anyone else?

My journey to find the "perfect" speaker
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No matter what measurements tell us, a loudspeaker isn’t good until it
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LMAO! Nice...

Pibbo, thanks for the info buddy. I will be researching those Energy's.

Anyone else?

There is no such thing as the perfect speaker, so people find a combination of all the elements that sounds pleasing to them. That or they mentally masturbate and buy based on graphs and measurements, then convince themselves that they like what they are hearing because the graphs tell them they should. I like to look at graphs as well, but I also like to listen (i.e. I like to masturbate a little also and get some hands-on direct experience as well ).

For what it's worth, I love my Wilson Watt Puppy 8 speakers and my Sophia 2 surounds. They often sound like a "real" event to me instead of a reproduction. Only your ears can decide if you like them too. I had 802Ds before the W/P 8 speakers.

I've heard a lot of people rave about the accuracy of the Magico Mini's measurements, as well as their accurate in room response. I personally think they sounded very bright when I heard them, albeit in an untreated room, so I would check those out also, but make sure it is in a room with the same amount of room treatment's you would be using in your listening room.

Three things above all else:

Demo, demo, demo...

Do check out their measurements though, to be sure they aren't total crap... The NRC give a good set of measurements to Soundstage, and Stereophile lists many of their measurements online.

"It is worse still to be ignorant of your ignorance."
-- Saint Jerome (374 AD - 419 AD)

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Brandon, your journey will be one worth following.....so make it good!

Quote:
Originally Posted by QueueCumber View Post

I've heard a lot of people rave about the accuracy of the Magico Mini's measurements, as well as their accurate in room response. I personally think they sounded very bright when I heard them, albeit in an untreated room, so I would check those out also, but make sure it is in a room with the same amount of room treatment's you would be using in your listening room.

I heard the Magico Minis at CES. While I did not think they were bright or did anything "wrong" for my tastes, I certainly did not think they were worth the $20K+ asking price.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by QueueCumber View Post

There is no such thing as the perfect speaker, so people find a combination of all the elements that sounds pleasing to them. That or they mentally masturbate and buy based on graphs and measurements, then convince themselves that they like what they are hearing because the graphs tell them they should. I like to look at graphs as well, but I also like to listen (i.e. I like to masturbate a little also and get some hands-on direct experience as well ).

For what it's worth, I love my Wilson Watt Puppy 8 speakers and my Sophia 2 surounds. They often sound like a "real" event to me instead of a reproduction. Only your ears can decide if you like them too. I had 802Ds before the W/P 8 speakers.

I've heard a lot of people rave about the accuracy of the Magico Mini's measurements, as well as their accurate in room response. I personally think they sounded very bright when I heard them, albeit in an untreated room, so I would check those out also, but make sure it is in a room with the same amount of room treatment's you would be using in your listening room.

Three things above all else:

Demo, demo, demo...

Do check out their measurements though, to be sure they aren't total crap... The NRC give a good set of measurements to Soundstage, and Stereophile lists many of their measurements online.


Well I didn't know speakers had anything to do with masturbating..

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post #8 of 6914 Old 10-06-2007, 03:51 PM - Thread Starter
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^ LOL
Quote:
Originally Posted by QueueCumber View Post

There is no such thing as the perfect speaker, so people find a combination of all the elements that sounds pleasing to them. That or they mentally masturbate and buy based on graphs and measurements, then convince themselves that they like what they are hearing because the graphs tell them they should. I like to look at graphs as well, but I also like to listen (i.e. I like to masturbate a little also and get some hands-on direct experience as well ).

For what it's worth, I love my Wilson Watt Puppy 8 speakers and my Sophia 2 surounds. They often sound like a "real" event to me instead of a reproduction. Only your ears can decide if you like them too. I had 802Ds before the W/P 8 speakers.

I've heard a lot of people rave about the accuracy of the Magico Mini's measurements, as well as their accurate in room response. I personally think they sounded very bright when I heard them, albeit in an untreated room, so I would check those out also, but make sure it is in a room with the same amount of room treatment's you would be using in your listening room.

Three things above all else:

Demo, demo, demo...

Do check out their measurements though, to be sure they aren't total crap... The NRC give a good set of measurements to Soundstage, and Stereophile lists many of their measurements online.

Thanks for the real response this time around. A little too much masturbation talk, but oh well. LOL!

I will certainly demo the crap out of my choices. If anyone has gotten to know me on these forums, they know that I preach to audition as much as possible, and I would be a fool and hypocrite to not follow my own advice. It's good to see others feel the same way.

I am very picky about FR, but I always listen first, then look. As for my room, it will be pretty well treated in the end. I hope to be beta testing some room treatments down the road for a truly good man, but we'll see what happens. Either way it will be treated.

Oh, and I certainly won't pay $20,000 for fronts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cschang View Post

Brandon, your journey will be one worth following.....so make it good!

Thanks, Curtis; will do!

My journey to find the "perfect" speaker
Dr. Olive's Blog

 

 

No matter what measurements tell us, a loudspeaker isn’t good until it
sounds good. - Dr. Floyd Toole
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A little too much masturbation talk, but oh well. LOL!

Well, if you want to find the right speaker you have to be willing to get your hands a little dirty...

"It is worse still to be ignorant of your ignorance."
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have a look at the new line arrays coming out from at av123, preorders on the big guns are $4k (i think). the dynamics will blow other stuff away (at any price).

Listen. It's All Good.
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post #11 of 6914 Old 10-06-2007, 10:39 PM
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I agree with much of what you say (e.g. one must audition)....and disagree with much of what you say (e.g. flat response does not equal accuracy). Nonetheless, I understand your search...which is indeed going to be personal in nature and based upon your ears more than your written call for aid. With that precursor out of the way, let me just strongly suggest that you audition Aerial Acoustics loudspeakers! The 7B's will be your best choice for (mains for) your modest but flexible budget, and will meet, IMHO, your requirements better than any of the hundreds of speakers I have auditioned/heard in the last 30 years. You will be hard-pressed to find these lovely speakers lacking in any way.

Happy hunting. As I'm fond of saying, there is much thrill in the chase.

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they're not just for breakfast anymore.
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have a look at the new line arrays coming out from at av123, preorders on the big guns are $4k (i think). the dynamics will blow other stuff away (at any price).

LOL

LTD02, you've heard these unreleased speakers and have run comparos on them, of course....."blows the other stuff away at any price".

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post #13 of 6914 Old 10-06-2007, 11:56 PM - Thread Starter
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I agree with much of what you say (e.g. one must audition)....and disagree with much of what you say (e.g. flat response does not equal accuracy). Nonetheless, I understand your search...which is indeed going to be personal in nature and based upon your ears more than your written call for aid. With that precursor out of the way, let me just strongly suggest that you audition Aerial Acoustics loudspeakers! The 7B's will be your best choice for (mains for) your modest but flexible budget, and will meet, IMHO, your requirements better than any of the hundreds of speakers I have auditioned/heard in the last 30 years. You will be hard-pressed to find these lovely speakers lacking in any way.

Happy hunting. As I'm fond of saying, there is much thrill in the chase.

Now that's what I am talking about! Thanks for the recommendation.

Keep 'em coming guys and gals! I am going to make a research list of all the credible recommendations (not Bose, of course).

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post #14 of 6914 Old 10-07-2007, 01:07 AM
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Random thoughts not in any particular order. Start with fronts and demo as many speakers as you can within your budget and above. Once you find something that you really like in both categories see if the price difference is worth it and if you need to save up to the more expensive speakers.

Start with the best possible mains and than build your 7.1 system around it. Also remember that any system is only as good as the weakest link in it so give your mains the best electronics, room and sub/s you can afford.

Finding synergy betwen speakers/electronics is also very important. The easiest way to find this is what the speaker manufacturer use to voice their speaker (B&W with Classe/Rotel a classic example). If you like what you hear at the dealer you can consider using the same electronics as well. The third way could be trying different pieces from A'gon till you find the combo you like and selling the ones you don't on A'gon again. You can do the same for speakers, auditioning at the dealer and than buying at A'gon, to stretch your $ but thats not a nice thing to do with dealer specially if he/she has been nice and helpful.

The bottomline is patience. Don't rush it. A great system needs both time and patience to build but should provide you and your family years of enjoyment.

Best of luck with your search.

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post #15 of 6914 Old 10-07-2007, 01:47 AM
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I can see we think alike. I also have a dream of one day finding my perfect speaker and being happy. I also have the same strange NEED for a flat response to make some part of my brain happy. I also want to be captivated by the sound of my speakers and have them disappear, leaving just the performers on a perfectly represented 3D stage. I also want them to handle loud movies with ease. At the same time though, I will have to pay off these college loans eventually... so I don't have tens of thousands to work with.

Since you didn't list a hard budget, this is a shot in the dark, but I've found most, if not all, of my requirement met with the Energy Reference Connoisseur line. I've also heard the C&W CM line, but the refs seemed to have more dynamic presence. I've also heard the Paradigm Sudio's and Signature's but the Energy's were "sweeter" and made the music live more. In fact, I've liked most every Energy speaker I've heard. I've got a pair of C-9s right now, which are the flagship from the last generation of the line below the refs. They're great, but the refs are just better in EVERY way.

Imaging? The RCs do that easily. Wide as a mile, but most notably in depth. You can "see" each performer's spacial relationship with one another. They convey ambient information extremely well and really put you there. They "disappear" very easily as well. And WAF? These are some of the sexiest looking speakers I've ever seen, at any price. Real wood veneer. I LOVE the rosenut finish the best, personally.

Dynamic as hell too. I heard the RC-50s on a 50wpc NAD amp in the showroom, and these could get LOUD, and without sounding strained in the least. Their imaging remains solid at all volumes. A more powerful amp could really be scary...

Very flat response too. I think they may have a slight bit of extra life in the treble, but it's so darn refined, smooth and sweet, I kinda like it.

And, they range from 91-95dB efficiency? That do anything for ya?

Price-wise, they range from $2,000 MSRP for a pair of the big daddy RC-70s, to $550 for the little RC-10 bookshelf. However, I've seen some sites list them for less. Audioadvisor has them for their standard prices, but they're pretty reputable, so no need to worry about scams (although I haven't heard of any).

I'm probably going to pick up some RC-10s soon, and I've done a TON of researching lately into this exact aim.

Hope that helps some!

Nuance, nice post and a great read. I think most are in this boat.

Pibbo - I just posted on the Energy owners thread my latest purchases. It's funny, I just read this thread, and you say a lot of what I did. I likened the sound to being 3D - and I got a great deal on them (Thanksgiving here and a bit of a holiday sale going on).

Are they the best in world? Doubt it. Best for their price? Doubt it. Are there better speakers cheaper than them? Probably. For someone.

Nuance - the RC or Veritas line which I listened to today a bit as well (though quite different sounding) are probably easily available to you to listen to locally. I'm not going to tell you you'll like them, or that you should buy them. I wll tell you to listen to them. And as Pibbo says, they are very nice looking speaker as well (my wife likes the look of them, and that says a lot). I like the black though as black 'disappears' in a room easier .

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post #16 of 6914 Old 10-07-2007, 05:52 AM
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Great post, Nuance. At the risk of beating this to death, a decent set of speakers (well, maybe a little better than just decent), can sound extraordinarily good in a proper listening setting. The speaker/room interface is crucial, and no speaker will sound good in a mediocre room, and the best speaker will suck in a bad room. Speaker placement is important, but room treatment (or starting out with a non-reflective room in the first place), will make a huge difference. A fairly dead room with first reflections killed and the big bass peaks flattened will make the most of even a modest speaker. Obviously, you already realize this.

Sorry if I keep pounding room acoustics, but it's as important at least as speakers, and I don't even sell room treatments.


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post #17 of 6914 Old 10-07-2007, 06:08 AM
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Just curious, what do you consider "affordable"?
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post #18 of 6914 Old 10-07-2007, 06:38 AM
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Try the Dali Helicons. I recently auditioned a pair of Helicon 400's and bought them on the spot as I fell in love with them. I had been auditioning speakers to upgrade my system & had recently listened to Paradigm 100's & Vandersteen 3's (Immediately prior to listening to the Dalis I had also listened to some very high end speakers ($25 - 30k per pair). Despite having just listened to the very high end speakers; after hearing the Dali's there was no question that I had found audio nirvana for my ears. It didn't hurt that they are visually beautiful as well.
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post #19 of 6914 Old 10-07-2007, 06:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Scarpelli View Post

Great post, Nuance. At the risk of beating this to death, a decent set of speakers (well, maybe a little better than just decent), can sound extraordinarily good in a proper listening setting. The speaker/room interface is crucial, and no speaker will sound good in a mediocre room, and the best speaker will suck in a bad room. Speaker placement is important, but room treatment (or starting out with a non-reflective room in the first place), will make a huge difference. A fairly dead room with first reflections killed and the big bass peaks flattened will make the most of even a modest speaker. Obviously, you already realize this.

Sorry if I keep pounding room acoustics, but it's as important at least as speakers, and I don't even sell room treatments.


I think it was an excellent point to make.

Nice emoticon BTW, is that a guy beating some meat?

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post #20 of 6914 Old 10-07-2007, 06:56 AM
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Oh yeah, a lot of people love the Vandersteens, so that is one you should check out for sure. I heard the Vandersteen 5a and didn't like it at all, but people don't like the same things, and perceptually some people will actually perceive stereophonic effects differently when listening to the same speaker.

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post #21 of 6914 Old 10-07-2007, 08:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QueueCumber View Post

I think it was an excellent point to make.

Nice emoticon BTW, is that a guy beating some meat?

I thought it was a dude beating a cow (I think i crave steak now), then I realized there must be some overused cliché going on in the anim. gif.
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post #22 of 6914 Old 10-07-2007, 08:53 AM
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I can't quite figure out what your cost range is. This manufacturer makes a variety of speakers at various price points:

Salk Speakers

I also like these speakers:

VMPS

These are not well known but are very good speakers.

Bob
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post #23 of 6914 Old 10-07-2007, 09:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Scarpelli View Post

Great post, Nuance. At the risk of beating this to death, a decent set of speakers (well, maybe a little better than just decent), can sound extraordinarily good in a proper listening setting. The speaker/room interface is crucial, and no speaker will sound good in a mediocre room, and the best speaker will suck in a bad room. Speaker placement is important, but room treatment (or starting out with a non-reflective room in the first place), will make a huge difference. A fairly dead room with first reflections killed and the big bass peaks flattened will make the most of even a modest speaker. Obviously, you already realize this.

Sorry if I keep pounding room acoustics, but it's as important at least as speakers, and I don't even sell room treatments.


Paul, you could not be more correct. It's not that I didn't believe this was true, but I never really got "excited" about room treatments, so other gear always took priority. But now that I've actually started to treat my listening room, I'm a total believer. When you take the room out of the equation, you begin to realize how much you were really missing. Things are much richer, more clear, the imaging is tighter, the soundstage is broadened....etc, etc.

I just can't believe it took me so long to actually implement them!
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post #24 of 6914 Old 10-07-2007, 10:14 AM
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I thought it was a dude beating a cow (I think i crave steak now), then I realized there must be some overused cliché going on in the anim. gif.

The idiom is "beating a dead horse"
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post #25 of 6914 Old 10-07-2007, 11:11 AM
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I have the Energy Connoisseurs all round in a 7.2 system. I bought them approximately 6 years ago which was before the big internet distributor speaker boom (or at least before I was aware of it). The listening that I did back then obviously led me to choose them. I have to say that the attributes I especially love about them are clarity, a certain openness, and sort of an engaging purity that is hard to describe. As I remember (and this was a long time ago), Klipsch was too harsh, Boston Acoustics was too muffled, other things sounded cheap (okay, my memory is really pretty dim right now), but there was just something right to these Connoisseurs. It wasn't a very hard decision at all. So, in the end, I guess I'm supporting Pibbo's suggestion for the Energy Connoisseur line. I know he's suggesting the Reference line which I believe is a better, beefed up version of what I have. My guess, however, is that the two share some important basic characteristics. Good luck.
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post #26 of 6914 Old 10-07-2007, 11:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pibbo View Post

The idiom is "beating a dead horse"

I thought it was "choking the weasel?"

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post #27 of 6914 Old 10-07-2007, 12:06 PM
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So, in the end, I guess I'm supporting Pibbo's suggestion for the Energy Connoisseur line. I know he's suggesting the Reference line which I believe is a better, beefed up version of what I have. My guess, however, is that the two share some important basic characteristics. Good luck.

Do you have the older C line? Because I've got a pair of the C-9s right now, and I can definitely say that the Reference line sounds like a CONSIDERABLE improvement to me. Same basic "personality", just much more refined, transparent, smooth, etc. I'd say the biggest improvement I noticed was in the highs, where my C-9s can get a little harsh and ringy at times, but the Reference's highs are always delicate and sweet with NO harshness.
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post #28 of 6914 Old 10-07-2007, 12:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Gentlemen, thank you - some very good suggestions here.

Dollarman, I agree with all that you said. I am a big supporter of taking time and auditioning as much as possible. In fact, I have said the same thing probably hundreds of times on this very forum. I will certainly do so. Oh, and I will be consistently checking audiogon for good deals.

Paul, thanks man. You are dead right about room treatments and I am an avid suppoter. This cannot be stressed enough.

IcemanDallas, I do not have a dead set budget. Obviously, the cheaper the better, but I guess I would say no more than $4000 for the fronts, but I would rather go with $2000, or even $1000 (naturally). If I find something I truly fall in love with, I will save until I can purchase those speakers, but I hope to not have to spend that much on the mains.

CTviggen, see above for the price range. Thank you for the recommendations. Salk makes some gorgeous looking speakers!

Lewdog, thanks for the info. It seems there are a lot of Energy fans here. I will certainly check them out.

A flat frequency response do not an accurate speaker make. However, it’s one step in the right direction which is why it is important to me. A speaker that can maintain a relatively flar FR off axis would just be incredible!

How do you guys feel about open baffle designs? Less baffle to interfere with the sound, thus less resonance sounds nice. Anyone have any experience with this design?

Que, I own Vandersteen 2CE sigs, but they aren’t dynamic enough for HT. And we’ll have to agree to disagree about the 5A’s. I have heard the Wilson Sophia’s and the 5A’s and loved the Vandersteen’s and hated the Wilson’s. I also briefly demoed the Watt Puppy 8’s and was shocked at the performance to price ratio, and not in a good way. I guess this just goes to show you that everyone’s ears are different and/or each person likes a different sound.

I guess a good piece of information for you guys to know would be that I love the Vandersteen sound, but not their efficiency. They are rated at around an 87 efficiency, but I wouldn't be surprised if its more like 84. If I can find the Vandersteen sound paired with Klipsch dynamics, we'll have a winner.

Keep ‘em coming folks; this is good stuff! There is nothing better than the suggestions from a bunch of folks who have done this as long or longer than I have. I am basically making a research log and will be updating it with what I read about each speaker suggested. I will then be taking an entire month (or more) to audition whatever I feel is worthy of doing so. So please, bring on some more suggestions, especially now that you know what sound I prefer.

Thanks!

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post #29 of 6914 Old 10-07-2007, 12:44 PM
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If I can find the Vandersteen sound paired with Klipsch dynamics, we'll have a winner.

Ask and ye shall receiver! http://www.aerialacoustics.com/html/prods.html

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post #30 of 6914 Old 10-07-2007, 02:49 PM
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Que, I own Vandersteen 2CE sigs, but they aren’t dynamic enough for HT. And we’ll have to agree to disagree about the 12A’s. I have heard the Wilson Sophia’s and the 12A’s and loved the Vandersteen’s and hated the Wilson’s. I also briefly demoed the Watt Puppy 8’s and was shocked at the performance to price ratio, and not in a good way. I guess this just goes to show you that everyone’s ears are different and/or each person likes a different sound. For me, I am now anti-Wilson Audio because the performance does not warrant the sound quality IMO. Oh, and I will never spend that much on two speakers. There is no speaker good enough for that price. Remember, average joe at an average job with an average salary.

I've never heard the 12A, but I have heard the 5A. To me they lacked the ability to present a decent 3D soundstage and they were grainy. Also to my ears they lacked an ability to present decent mid-range detail (i.e. they were not very transparent sounding). The 5a speakers I heard were set up by Vandersteen himself, so they were definitely set up correctly.

People do experience different things with stereophonics, so it isn't surprising to me that people experience different things with the same speakers... To my ears the W/P 8 speakers sound worlds better than the 5a speakers. I had the opportunity to buy either one and went with the speaker that made the music sound more like a "real" event to me instead of a compromised recording.

Sorry if I hit a nerve with you, as my intent was not to get you to start spouting the kind of anti-Wilson rhetoric you hear from Vandersteen fans like Richard Hardesty. It is apparent that is what happened, because you went from being friendly to attacking Wilson speakers when all I had said was that I don't like the 5a speakers...

Besides which, I think your reaction was just brand loyalty. You must not be happy with something about Vandersteens or else you wouldn't have started this thread and would just buy another pair of Vandersteens.

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