Originally Posted by Nuance
I believe funkmonkey has heard the Dali's and the Song Tower's...
I have. I liked the tweeters/high-end of the Helicons better. Cymbal reproduction is the singular driving reason that I prefer ribbon tweeters. Ribbons are the most convincing in their reproduction, and the Helicon series tempers theirs with a dome. I heard a little glare with the Dali's, but that could be because when the dealer set them up, he toed them in a little.
The SongTowers excel in the midrange. Their mids are lush and full, where I thought the Helicon 300's mids were unexceptional. Not bad in any way just not amazing. In the Dali's defense I heard them full range, so crossing over with a sub should open up the mids a bit.
In the bass department the edge would have to go to the Salks. It's no secret that I am a huge fan of the transmission line designs, and the ST's do really well with it. They provide a fullness and a resonance that I don't get from a cone alone. I think they are both rated similarly low but to my ear, there would be no contest here. The SongTowers are much tighter and controled on the bottom end, though the 300's are no slouch here, I like the Salks.
Between the two speakers running full range, no sub I would choose the SongTowers
. If you are planning to introduce a sub into the mix, the decision would be much more difficult, and I would want to hear how much the Dali's midrange improved before making it. Though I haven't heard the Helicon 400's I think they would be my preference over the SongTowers, but I think they retail at 3X the price!
Actually, a tough decision you have to make. (
LOL- I sound like Yoda, "Hmmm, a tough decision, you have to make, my young padawon learner"
) It seems that you like the Helicon sound, and coming from a current ribbon tweeter owner, I am not surprised. If midrange is your main concern, I would order a set of SongTowers. But keep in mind that you will be sacrificing a little bit in the upper stratosphere of sound, mainly with the freq's that you don't necessarily hear but the overtones that you may "feel." Both The Helicon 300, and the SongTowers are outstanding speakers and since you can get the Helicon's at 30% off your choice is even more tricky, but I think the ST's still have an edge in the "bang for buck" category.
The last factor that you mentioned was the "custom" aspect of the Salks. I think that is the "icing on the cake." If they didn't sound so good, I would consider the custom finish option to be their strongest appeal. But, they sound fantastic! The Helicon series is also a very hansom speaker, I think they are one of the best looking speakers out there, especially the newer MK2 versions, but you only have one or two options for finish. With Jim's speakers your options are nearly infinite. Even though my wife had had enough of my "Speakerquest" by the end of my auditions, she was reluctantly helpful in picking out a veneer that we both loved, and though she won't admit it she had fun being involved in the search for that.
Good luck Loose, you have two very strong contenders to consider, both were in my top 6 out of everything I have auditioned. Hope this helps a little and doesn't confuse you further. I was facing the same decision about a month ago, but add the Totem Hawks, used Arial 7B's, T+A's, and Usher Be-718's in there and you have my cunundrum (Money vs. performance vs. looks) which I solved by listening to the HT3's!!!!!!!!