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post #1 of 2204 Old 02-16-2008, 02:12 PM - Thread Starter
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I am looking for recommendations for some full range front speakers. I have several in mind, and will post my impressions of them as I hear them. But I am curious to see what else you guys come up with. Probably about 50% music & 50% Movies. I plan to expand my system to include a center, surrounds, & sub, as my wallet allows... So something that offers a matched center channel is a bonus. ...upgrading my electronics as well. I will most likely stay with solid state, right now I am thinking Outlaw Audio's upcoming pre/pro+amp, but that is a topic for another thread...

I listen to a very wide variety of music: I need a speaker that can render a double bass (stand-up) with depth and clarity, along with all the warmth and vibrance of Miles' trumpet. I want to hear the raw power in voices like Aretha Franklin, and the grittyness of John Lee Hooker. Something that can convey the enveloping atmosphere of bands like Portisehead, and Massive Attack, and the shear assault of the senses of bands like FuManchu and BlackSabbath.

In a "nutshell" I want crisp accurate detail in the upper range, smooth full mids, and DEEP, extended, tight bass, with a musical, open, airy presentation. And I do not want to spend a fortune. Originally I thought I could get what I want for less than $2,000, now I am not so sure and have listened to a few speakers above that price, and they seem to hit the mark better than those I have heard that are less costly. I would love to spend less money and get the same or better performance if possible, but ultimately it is more about the sound than the money...

So far this is what I have listened to and what I thought about them. I will try and include the approximate prices they were listed at in whatever shop I happened to be in, or msrp where indicated (when I auditioned them)
Some impressions may be a bit lame or very brief because I took crappy notes, couldn't listen long, or wasn't enthralled by the speaker. Or because I am just an average guy looking for speakers, and not a journalist.

The pic's and/or names of each speaker should link you to it maker's website (tech. spec page where possible)
edit: A few of those links may no longer work, due to models being discontinued, changing websites, and old age.



Here is some links to my impressions and significant posts :
(Rounds 2-5 immediately follow this post so I figured they do not require a link)
Round 1 (B&W 683, Paradigm Studio 60)
Round 2 (B&W CM-7)
Round 3 (Monitor Audio RS-6, Monitor Audio RS-8, Vienna Acoustics Bach, Martin Logan Purity/Source)
Round 4 (Vandersteen 1C, Vandersteen 2Ce sigII, Totem Hawk)
Round 5 (Usher V-602, Dali Icon 6, Era D-10, Era D-14, Usher Be-718 "Tiny dancers", Totem "Hawk"(revisited))
Round 6 (Dynaudio Audience 72-SE, Dynaudio Audience 82, Dynaudio Focus 220, Quad 22L, B&W CM-7(revisited), Thiel CS 1.6, PSB Synchrony 2B)
Round 7 (Paradigm Studio 100, and a follow up on the Dynaudio Focus 220)
Round 8 (Audia Sound Labs 8.6, NHT Classic four)
Preliminary Round Up
Round 9 (Aerial 7B, T+A Criterion TS 300)
Round 10 (Ascend Acoustics Sierra-1, SalkSound- SongTower QWT)
Round 11 (Acoustic Zen Adagio)
Round 12 (Paradigm Studio 100, Dynaudio Focus220, Focal Chorus 836-V, Dali Helicon 300; plus follow-ups on Usher Be-718 “Tiny Dancer”, Era D-14, Totem Hawk)
Final Round ??? (Salk HT-3)
2008 year end summary...
My fully custom SalkSound Veracity HT3s & HTC (w/mini-review)

My visit to Salk Sound



Music used during my auditions:
(part 1)
(part 2)
(part 3)


Some Comparisons:
SongTower QWT vs. Veracity HT3
same comparison, this time by R Swerdlow
Salk - SongTower vs. Acoustic Zen Adagio


Mine are by no means the only user reviews in this thread, or the only significant posts, there are many more that have been posted by some really great people, that happened to be on a similar "quest." Some of these I have listed below. I encourage anybody else who cares to post their own impressions here as well. The only request I would make, is that you include at least one picture of the speaker that you are writing about (along with the manufacturer and model #), because as you will see if you read through this whole thread, and I hope that you do, we all love our "speaker porn"!

THE $2000 CHALLENGE - by Jim Salk

A great discussion about soundstage starts here (thanks Tim)

Sumiko method (for speaker placement)



Other reviews and impressions:

95bcwh:
The Cremona M

ChicagoTC:
Dynaudio Focus 220, Paradigm Studio 60, & Sonus Faber Grand Piano
Dali Icon 6, Dali Helicon, KEF XQ40
Revel F32, Revel Ulitima Salon 2, B&W (704, 804s, 803s, 803d)

Grenamc:
Revel Ultima Studio1, B&W (804, 803, 802D), Thiel CS2.4, Dali Helicon 400 MkI, PSB Synchrony One, Monitor Audio PL300
Wilson Watt Puppy 8, Focal JMLabs 1027Be
Wilson-Benesch Discovery
Daedalus Audio Ulysses
Linkwitz Labs Orion

golfugh:
B&W 803S, Magnepan 1.6
B&W (803S, 800D)
Salk Sound - Veracity HT3
T+A Criterion TL series TS 200, Dynaudio Sapphire, Avalon Acoustics Ascendant
PSB Synchrony One, Monitor Audio Platinum PL 300, Revel Studio 2, Revel Salon 2, Dali Helicon 400 Mk1
KEF 205/2 Audition
Last Rundown (for now)
The new phone book's here
KEF 205/2 Impressions (at home)

Audiophile Disneyland Part 2:
FM Acoustics, MBL 116F, Magico M5

Audiophile Disneyland Part 3:
Focal Scala Utopia, Avalon Acoustics Time, Martin Logan Summit X



hifisponge:
Wilson Benesch Discovery & Centre

Bigred7078:
Salk HT3

...and a few more links to threads that are related to this one, in one way or another:
My journey to find the "perfect" speaker...
We're back and a new "journey" has begun: amps and preamps
Journeyman's guide to music/AKA MusicQuest (So Far...)
SERVER-QUEST: Transporter (Modwright) / Mac (mini) / music servers



Okay Here we go.... (enjoy)

Round One:

B&W 683:(≈$1500)

nice sounding speaker, decent separation, full, crisp, clear. I listened to a variety of music with these guys and they were solid performers, though nothing spectacular. I thought they had a hard time with heavy metal, they got sloppy when challenged with a lot of sound at the same time.

Paradigm Studio 60(≈$1700)

better mids than the B&W 683's, I like the vocals on this speaker. Much more of a full sound with hard rock, they held together nicely. The Studio 60's sounded great with DJ Krush's atmospheric soundscapes coming through them. Smooth and crisp, not quite deep enough in the lower freq's for me. I haven't had a chance to hear the Studio 100's yet but think that they would improve the bottom end.

I can say that after first listen between the Paradigm studio 60's and the B&W 683's it was pretty much a draw. The Studio 60's seemed to favor the mids a bit more (better vocals and more of a full sound), and the 683's had slightly more punch in the bass and seemed to reach a touch higher (more separation in the sound). Between the two my preference would go to the Paradigm Studio 60's, but only by a very thin margin... So, they both deserve a second listen, with different music.

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post #2 of 2204 Old 02-16-2008, 02:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Round Two:
2nd listen to Paradigm studio 60's proved to still be my preference over the B&W 683's. However I found that I liked the B&W CM-7's the best of the three.

B&W CM-7(≈$2000)

The CM-7's had much more of an air to them with very slight push to the upper-mids, and more laid back presentation than the Studio 60's. The B&W CM-7's excelled with Jazz. They just had a more natural sound to them. They also had a very nice sound-stage, much wider than the 683's, and more open than the Studio 60's. The guys at Ahead Stereo were great, Aaron moved the speakers around so I could compare the ones I was interested in in an A/B/C format. Good people there, and a nice selection of electronics as well.

So as it stands now I still have a lot of speakers to listen to but the B&W CM-7's are the ones to beat.

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post #3 of 2204 Old 02-16-2008, 02:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Round Three:
the contenders...
Monitor Audio RS-6

Monitor Audio RS-8(≈$1500)

I started with the Monitor RS6, and was digging their sense of air, crisp highs and mids when I asked the guy to switch to the RS8's... Whump, what was that? There's the bottom end. Much, much deeper with the RS8's, much more full sound. All the crisp detail of the RS6, with a woofer added. (Makes sense, because that is pretty much the difference between the two. If anyone is thinking about getting the RS6, make sure you have or get a sub too, because they just do not have much of a bottom end.) I really liked the RS8's.

Vienna Acoustics Bach(≈$1500)

Since they were standing right next to the Monitors I had the salesman flip on the Vienna Bach's. Not too bad, but to my ears they sounded a bit congested in the upper range, not as musical, slightly dead in comparison to the lively RS8's. Okay, maybe should have heard them first, but as the Vienna's are a decent competitor to the Monitor's (at least by sticker price) I prefer the RS8.

Martin Logan Purity/Source(Source≈$2000, Purity≈$3000)

Now, for my surprise today I gave the Martin Logan Purity's a listen [about $1G more than my budget(sticker) they were in the same room as the RS8's, and the salesman stated that the only difference between them and the "Source," which are in my price range (barely) was the inclusion of an internal amp)] The Purity's seem to have everything going for them, they are a hybrid: electro static to handle mids and highs with a powered woofer to go low. I wound up A/B-ing these with the Monitor RS8's and this is what I found:

Red Snapper(electronic/jazz lots of upright bass and strong beats)... the ML-Purity's seemed a bit flat in the mids, both speakers handled this music well, good atmosphere, full sound from both.

Grant Green (Jazz)- The RS8's gave the guitar a nice tone, or I should say reproduced the beautiful tone of Grant Greens guitar very well, piano sounds were very natural, and very nice decay on cymbals, overall an even balanced sound. The Martin Logans sounded slightly more full in the bass, and crisp in the high end, along with delivering comparable body of sound.

Leon Parker (drum/rhythm based jazz)- RS8's had a nice punch in the low end with the drums, but were not as full sounding as the ML's which provided a crisp clear upper range and a very full, well balanced sound.

Fu Manchu (Hard rock/heavy metal)- Both the RS8 and the ML Purity did well with the FU, for all the guitar growl that the RS8's put out the Puritys growled even better. Both did really well with rock.

I liked the sound of both speakers, but I have to give the edge to the Martin Logan Purity. Though, I do have to take into consideration the volume each speaker played at, the RS8's were considerably lower volume without turning the knob, I can only assume that is because of the fact that the ML's had a powered woofer, and maybe something to do with electrostatic tech, not sure...

I should add that the store I wound up in today had the Source speakers hooked up on their main floor hooked up to some "worse than MP3" player (according to the salesman), so no chance for a decent listen for me. As for the Monitor RS8's, it should speak miles that they could stand up to a speaker that costs literaly twice as much.

Good listen today, no closer to a decision...

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post #4 of 2204 Old 02-16-2008, 02:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Round 4:

Vandersteen 1C(≈$850)

Vandersteen 2Ce sigII(≈$2000)


Both speakers had exceptional clarity, with their crisp, clear high end. Very clean sound. Piano sounds were brilliant on both models. They really seemed to excel on Jazz. The 1C had a laid back presentation on horns, and I felt (esp. with hard rock music) that they were a bit lean in the midrange. The 2Ce sigII's however provided a full even sound, with maybe an hint of upper mid push. I really liked the sound of both sets of speakers. The 2Ce's were substantially bigger than their 1C brothers but both had a similar form factor, and I am afraid for me that is not a strong point. Compared to many other speakers they are not very pretty. Not a problem if you have a dedicated home theater space want the speakers to disappear in the darkness. I have to consider the wife acceptance factor, and the fact that we have a cat that would most likely see the Vandersteens as a new scratching post for her, let alone the cat hair getting stuck to the fabric covers. It is something that I had not even considered before yesterday, but it is a very real consideration I must make. So even though I think the Vandersteen 2Ce SigII's sounded great (definitely a step up from the 1C) they are out.

Totem Hawk(msrp≈$2450)


Very impressive sound, very sexy cabinet. They do exceed my price range slightly (street price) but may be worth it. They deliver a much bigger sound than their size would imply. The highs were very crisp, very clear, a bit more clear than the Vandesteens. At first I found the Totems to be ever so slightly bass shy, but was later forced to change that opinion and chalk it up to the source material and their faithful reproduction of the intended mix. I played some Erykah Badu (great music for speaker auditions by the way: very deep bass, great full range female vocals, and tight production) and the Totems came alive. The Hawks went startlingly deep, and Erykah's voice was warm, breathy and inviting, awesome. I also played some Fu Manchu, and the Hawks LOVE rock. So far the Hawk's performed the best out of all the the speakers I have listened to with Rock music. Despite being a 2 way speaker they had a full midrange. The highs, mids and lows were all present and accounted for. Not just that but they were all crisp and tight, nothing sloppy out of these Totems.

Overall impression of the Totem Hawk was that they are a very musical speaker, across the board they really want to be listened to. I am no expert, and I do not have golden ears, but I really liked the sound of the Totems, placing them firmly as the front runners in my quest. The shop owner and salesman were both Vandersteen owners and I know that the salesman I was working with was as surprised as I was by the performance of the Totems.

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post #5 of 2204 Old 02-16-2008, 02:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Round 5:

Okay, I finally got a chance to get out for another listen. I went back to the same place as last time to specifically hear the Dali Icon 6, and whatever else they had in my price range, and to give the Hawks a second listen... I should add that last time everything was driven by some higher end NAD electronics at 150wpc, this time lower end, solid state NAD in a different room and a true 50wpc, some of the same music as before and some new... (remember these are just MY impressions and opinions)

I will run 'em down in the order I listened to them.

Usher V-602 (msrp≈$1000)


Started with a little jazz from Grant Green, and noticed right away that the cymbals had a very nice decay, acoustic bass was nice and full, but drum rim shots were sounding a little on the thin side. Next I moved into some Fela Kuti afro-beat that is a really clean recording and has exceptional dynamics. The V-602's sounded really good here, nice separation of instruments, clear clean highs. A slight upper-mid push, that I noticed slightly with the Grant Green, became even more apparent with the introduction of brass horn instruments. Next I tried some Beatle's Abbey Road (one of my all time favorites). The electric bass had nice punch and clarity with these speakers, though they went fairly deep they sounded a bit bright to my ears. Next was a little Eryka Bahdu, and the V-602's handled it well with a full punchy bass, and high end clarity, sounding good both high and low volume. Overall, I would say that for the money this is a fine speaker, with a slight accent on the upper-mids.

Dali Icon 6(msrp≈$1600)


Starting where we left off with Eryka Bahdu the Dali's had a deeper bass response, crisp highs, and a nice well balanced sound. They have very nice imaging and excellent control. Rim shots were crisp, and very real sounding. Fela Kuti showed a very nice live sound, great separation, with almost crystalline highs. When the horns started playing they came across a little harsh. On to what has become the deal breaker for more than a few speakers I have auditioned, Fu Manchu. I should say that I only play the Fu Manchu on speakers that I actually like. The "California Crossing" CD is not a spectacular recording, but is dense with crunchy guitars, thick meaty bass, and hard driving drums, and became a staple early in my speaker quest when the B&W 683's failed to sound good to it. I am happy to report that the Dali's did well, though again I thought they sounded a bit bright. I am sure that is due to the ribbon tweeter. They actually made my ears tingle, like they were stimulating all the little hairs in my ears that I usually do not use for normal hearing. I was left feeling that the Dali's reach far above the audible sound spectrum, and your dog would probably be happy to finally hear all of the music. Talking with the salesman about this he recommended pairing any Dali speaker with a tube amp to mellow the highs a bit, I think that is probably a very good suggestion. I really like the Dali sound, but I am not sure they would be a great choice for my solid state electronics, and hardwood floors. I do think that those who own them and have gotten accustomed to their high-end will think that everything else is lackluster. Nice speakers.

Era D-10(msrp≈$1700)

Era D-14(msrp≈$2200)


Moving from the Dali's into anything with out a ribbon (or plasma) tweeter is bound to leave the new guy sounding a bit dull, and it did. I was relatively unimpressed with the D-10's (I had never even heard of ERA, but they had just gotten them in and wanted to hear how they compared to the other stuff I was listening to, so I was game). They had a smooth sound but seemed to be lacking deep bass, and a bit thin in the mids. The D-14's solved both of those problems nicely, with the inclusion of a mid-range driver in addition to the two woofers + tweeter arrangement of it's little brother. I thought that the tweeter sounded a bit restrained though. This could be because the speakers had just come out of the boxes and had very little if any play time on them (if you believe in break in), or because the Dali's had ruined my perception of clear highs forever ) All in all, I feel that the Era D-14's are deserving of a second listen, with fresh ears...

Usher Be-718 "Tiny dancers"(msrp≈$2700)

okay, way out of my stated price range, but street price is close to street price of the Hawks, and I have read some glowing reviews about these babies... Started with Eryka Bahdu, and they provided some astoundingly rich and deep bass for their "bookshelf" size, they truly have more of a floor-stander sound. Put on Fela Kuti and WOW! awesome imaging, great clarity. The brass horns on this recording were outstanding, the beryllium tweeter presented them very crisp and natural, without the extremely sharp edge of the ribbons. They gave a very FULL-range sound. Next, I tried the Grant Green. His guitar came across with a very nice tone (one of the things I love about Grant Green), piano sounded like the invisible man was playing an invisible baby grand in front of me. Very smooth speaker. I played the Beatles and was not disappointed, the bass was tight, thick, and punchy. I am not sure if Paul uses the Hoffner (sp?) or Rickenbacker bass on Abbey Road but I have always been in love with it's sound especially on that album, that thick meaty Ka-chunk that he gets... A solid reproduction of that specific sound is what I am looking for in a speaker, and the Usher Be-718 has it, so too does the Hawk (I just realized that yesterday when listening to the Tiny Dancers). As you can probably tell, I was digging these speakers so I wanted to try something I hadn't listened to on anything else yet, Galactic. Another of my favorite bands, these guys are a Jam band from New Orleans and play their own blend of somewhat drum oriented Jazz/Funk/Rock/hip-hop/R&B. I used their live set, which is IMO very well recorded. The Ushers did well, again. Music sounded "live," tight drums and a solid bottom end. I keep coming back to things sounding like they should on the Be-718's, just very natural... I am hesitant to say "Neutral," because that is not what I got from them. I think "Natural" is more appropriate. Okay, so I had to play the Fu Manchu last, and they did well with it, very nice presentation, though they came off sounding just a touch bright with the Fu. Fantastic speaker.

Totem "Hawk"(msrp≈$2400)
(revisited)
I had to listen to these last as they were my current favorites, kind of to put them all into perspective. Started with Fu Manchu on the Hawks and the salesman thought they seemed to reach a bit lower than the Usher Be-718. That may be true, but what I noticed was that between the two speakers their midrange presentation was the most different (actually we thought the two speakers had a very similar sound, overall). The Hawks mids were slightly more laid back, the Be-718's more forward. My opinion was reinforced when we listened to Fela Kuti and the brass section came up, crisp and clear on the Hawks, though not as forward as on the Be-718. Listening to the Beatles on the Hawks made me miss the 150watts from my first listen. They sounded less punchy than I remembered, I am sure that is because of the electronics. The Hawks are a less efficient speaker than the Ushers, though both are power hungry. We had to turn the volume knob up to about 10:00 for both (most of the other listening was done around the 9:00 position).

So, I still have some more to hear on my list before I drop the cash, but as it stands now I have a hard choice between two excellent speakers, that both cost more than I wanted to spend


Jump to Round 6
Jump to Round 7
Jump to Round 8
Jump to Preliminary Round Up
Jump to Round 9
Jump to Round 10
Jump to Round 11
Jump to Round 12
Jump to Final Round ?

Music used during my auditions:
(part 1)
(part 2)
(part 3)

2008 year end summary...
My SalkSound Custom Veracity HT3s and HTC

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post #6 of 2204 Old 02-16-2008, 03:55 PM
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Do you recall the price of the CM-7's?

I'm on a similar quest, although, I'm leaning more towards bookshelf speakers. I heard the Paradigms (40's and 20') today for the first time and I was impressed by their efficiency. Quite loud, and they sound good also. OTH, I think they could be fatiguing after a while. I also listened to the Era D5's and I like them.

You're fortunate to be in a location where so many choices are available. I don't have nearly as many options locally in my price range.

Continue to post your thoughts, I'm looking forward to your conclusion. I'm finding the hunt a lot of fun.

Good luck!
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post #7 of 2204 Old 02-16-2008, 04:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Lawrence View Post

Do you recall the price of the CM-7's?

I am pretty sure the current price on the CM7's was $2000, I missed posting that one. If I remember right they had to check the conversion from Euro's to get the price, and thanks to the plummeting dollar, they are most likely more expensive now, as I listened to them a few weeks back, and i think I read somewhere that B&W was raising their prices.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Lawrence View Post

I'm on a similar quest, although, I'm leaning more towards bookshelf speakers. I heard the Paradigms (40's and 20') today for the first time and I was impressed by their efficiency. Quite loud, and they sound good also. OTH, I think they could be fatiguing after a while. I also listened to the Era D5's and I like them.

I listened very briefly to the Studio 20's on my first outing, but at the time i was set on floorstanders, and I would have to listen again to have a fair opinion of them, but I do like the Studio line. I didn't mention before but the build quality on the Era's was top notch. Thick cabinetry, very solid feeling. I was able to pick up and hold one of their bookshelf speakers and I was impressed by the weight. The other thing I thought was interesting about them was that the port's seemed to be a bull-nosed hole in the cabinet, rather than having a flared tube insert...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Lawrence View Post

You're fortunate to be in a location where so many choices are available. I don't have nearly as many options locally in my price range.

Even in Los Angeles I have had to search out many of these speakers, and make a couple of 1.5 hour (+) drives, one way to hear them. Of course, drive time would be significantly less without any traffic. But it has been worth it so far.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Lawrence View Post

Continue to post your thoughts, I'm looking forward to your conclusion. I'm finding the hunt a lot of fun.

Good luck!

Same to you, I am having fun too. please let me know when you post your impressions, I am interested to read what you find.
Cheers,
Greg

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post #8 of 2204 Old 02-16-2008, 05:51 PM
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Hey Funkmonkey... great thread, with pictures, I love that... Ya know, you might want to almost double you budget on your search and start doing searches and evaluations based on what you could get used.

Audiogon has many many speakers available that people have loved, but are forced to sell, which allows you the benefit of upping your listening bracket...

I'm looking forward to my new purchase to show up from Audiogon... great price, great deal, great opportunity to get something that was possibly out of my reach, but became affordable from the reseller...
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post #9 of 2204 Old 02-16-2008, 10:37 PM
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I am glad you loved the Dali. They are a very underrated speaker around here that IMO delivers a superb value for the money. I have a pair of Ikon 2 coming in this week for my 2ch system. It's funny that you found them a bit bright since to me they were quite the opposite. To me they were a bit laid back but with crystal clear highs and midrange. I heard them powered by Arcam gear though so that might be it. My Ikon 2 will be powered by an Arcam A80.

If you are willing to buy used there is a person on audiogon selling a pair of Helicon 400 for $2400 and they are a huge step up from the Ikon 6. You will get better bass response with even clearer mids.
http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....ull&1207410586

Also AudioArchitect is selling a pair of Mentor 6 for $1500 which have a minor scuff mark on the back but they are still a superb bargain as they retail new for $3500. The Mentor line improves on the Ikon with a better cabinet and modified hybrid tweeter module. You might find that this tames the brightness that you heard with Ikon 6. The Mentor will sound a lot closer to the Helicon MKII which came out recently but sells for much more than the older MKI.
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/vbcla...p?do=ad&id=609
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post #10 of 2204 Old 02-16-2008, 11:18 PM
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Funkmonkey -

Great thread. It is always interesting to hear different people's take on speakers and it is refreshing that your music collection doesn't consist only of Norah Jones recordings.

Just a warning though, once you start down this road, it is hard to stop. I've gone through over seven different speaker systems in the last 8 years looking for "the one". At this point I know it doesn't exist. Not that there aren't some really great speakers out there, it has more to do with the huge variations in recording quality. No speaker is going to sound good with every recording because no two recordings are alike. You can only hope to find a pair that gives you most of what you want with your music collection while doing nothing that gets under your skin.

Just a couple of observations, the louder speaker almost always sounds better in a comparison (MA RS8 vs ML Purity) and I think you are right that the boosted treble of the Dali's skewed your impression of the ERA's. You should give the ERA's another shot but compare them to a speaker like the Hawk's or the Usher's.

Oh, and here's a piece of wisdom I picked up on over the years . . . if something really stands about about the sound of a speaker, there is a good chance that same quality will become bothersome with time. Sometimes the less impressive sounding speaker is the one that will grow on you and give you lasting enjoyment. Be especially careful with speakers that have exceptional "detail and clarity", as these can often result in a fatiguing sound in the long run. Sounds like you have a good grasp on this already though.

Cheers,

- Tim
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post #11 of 2204 Old 02-16-2008, 11:27 PM
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Great thread and great comments about your auditioning impressions! Have you considered any of the online brands? I'd also suggest perhaps auditioning the B&W 700 series, though they might be a little over budget (hasn't seemed to prevent you from auditioning other speakers however...).

Actually, you ought to see if you can audition a pair of Salk SongTowers, they might be right up your alley and they are within budget, though only sold online: http://www.salksound.com/songtower.shtml

I'd also suggest the Thiel CS1.6 if possible. http://www.thielaudio.com/THIEL_Site.../cs1_6nws.html
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post #12 of 2204 Old 02-17-2008, 12:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Warpdrv View Post

Hey Funkmonkey... great thread, with pictures, I love that... Ya know, you might want to almost double you budget on your search and start doing searches and evaluations based on what you could get used.

Audiogon has many many speakers available that people have loved, but are forced to sell, which allows you the benefit of upping your listening bracket...

I'm looking forward to my new purchase to show up from Audiogon... great price, great deal, great opportunity to get something that was possibly out of my reach, but became affordable from the reseller...

What did you get from Audiogon??? I know you decided to return the MTS/MBS-01 system. I am still curious about them though... I had fairly high hopes. I have no idea what to look for (yet) with a higher msrp. But I would have no problem going used, for something I couldn't afford new. Thanks for the support, Warp.
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post #13 of 2204 Old 02-17-2008, 01:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deneb View Post

Great thread and great comments about your auditioning impressions! Have you considered any of the online brands? I'd also suggest perhaps auditioning the B&W 700 series, though they might be a little over budget (hasn't seemed to prevent you from auditioning other speakers however...).

Actually, you ought to see if you can audition a pair of Salk SongTowers, they might be right up your alley and they are within budget, though only sold online: http://www.salksound.com/songtower.shtml

I'd also suggest the Thiel CS1.6 if possible. http://www.thielaudio.com/THIEL_Site.../cs1_6nws.html

Do you have any idea of the msrp or street price of the Thiels? they look pretty cool, and from a quick scan of the web page I am interested in their sound philosophy. I will have to see if I can find them somewhere to give a listen.

As for the SongTowers, they are definitely on my radar. I am hoping to find someone local that would let me hear them, or next time I visit my folks I hope to listen to something there (they live close to Salk).

I have considered other ID brands, and would love to hear them all if I got the opportunity...
and thanks for the positive feedback, deneb.

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post #14 of 2204 Old 02-17-2008, 01:35 AM
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If you are now considering used, I would check out the Revel Performa line. The F32's should be in your price range from what I gather. They are a truly neutral speaker with almost ruler-flat frequency response. I lot of engineering expertise has gone into those speakers. Flat FR is not to everyone's tastes, but they would at least be a good point of reference.
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Funkmonkey -

Great thread. It is always interesting to hear different people's take on speakers and it is refreshing that your music collection doesn't consist only of Norah Jones recordings.

First and foremost it's about the music, for me, not so much about the recording quality (though I do appreciate it when it is recorded well) I used to work in record store's while I was in college so my taste's are pretty diverse.

Quote:
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Just a warning though, once you start down this road, it is hard to stop. I've gone through over seven different speaker systems in the last 8 years looking for "the one". At this point I know it doesn't exist. Not that there aren't some really great speakers out there, it has more to do with the huge variations in recording quality. No speaker is going to sound good with every recording because no two recordings are alike. You can only hope to find a pair that gives you most of what you want with your music collection while doing nothing that gets under your skin...

Thanks for the wisdom, Tim. I hear ya brother.

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post #16 of 2204 Old 02-17-2008, 01:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by hifisponge View Post

If you are now considering used, I would check out the Revel Performa line. The F32's should be in your price range from what I gather. They are a truly neutral speaker with almost ruler-flat frequency response. I lot of engineering expertise has gone into those speakers. Flat FR is not to everyone's tastes, but they would at least be a good point of reference.

Believe it or not I am having a difficult time finding somewhere in the LA area that i can audition any Revel speakers. The Concerta F-12's have been on my hit list from the start.

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Originally Posted by funkmonkey View Post

As for the SongTowers, they are definitely on my radar. I am hoping to find someone local that would let me hear them, or next time I visit my folks I hope to listen to something there (they live close to Salk).

I have not been able to find a Salk owner in the LA area willing to offer a listen. The closest is in the San Diego area.

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Believe it or not I am having a difficult time finding somewhere in the LA area that i can audition any Revel speakers.

Ditto. Although I did get to hear a Revel setup in Microsoft's HD-DVD demonstration truck/18 wheeler.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by funkmonkey View Post

What did you get from Audiogon??? I know you decided to return the MTS/MBS-01 system. I am still curious about them though... I had fairly high hopes. I have no idea what to look for (yet) with a higher msrp. But I would have no problem going used, for something I couldn't afford new. Thanks for the support, Warp.
Cheers,
Greg


I don't want to say just yet, or it will probably jinx it. As much as I liked the design and the build quality of the SVS's they just had that recessed midrange, and coming from my Studio's, I know that the relationship was not going to work out, although Im am glad I had the chance to run through with them, and gave other people the ability to put their hands and ears to them a bit with the GTG.

I think its worth it to expand your financial arena with used.
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I have not been able to find a Salk owner in the LA area willing to offer a listen. The closest is in the San Diego area.

Did you find them through the Salk website? I have a buddy that lives in San Diego, whom I owe a visit... maybe I can kill two birds with one road trip...


Quote:
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Ditto. Although I did get to hear a Revel setup in Microsoft's HD-DVD demonstration truck/18 wheeler.

How did it sound?

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post #20 of 2204 Old 02-17-2008, 01:43 PM
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For the Salks, I actually got the referral from Jim Salk himself. If I remember correctly, the owner lives in Escondido.

The Revel setup sounded great, but I was more amazed at the video quality.

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post #21 of 2204 Old 02-17-2008, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by funkmonkey View Post

Do you have any idea of the msrp or street price of the Thiels? they look pretty cool, and from a quick scan of the web page I am interested in their sound philosophy. I will have to see if I can find them somewhere to give a listen.

As for the SongTowers, they are definitely on my radar. I am hoping to find someone local that would let me hear them, or next time I visit my folks I hope to listen to something there (they live close to Salk).

I have considered other ID brands, and would love to hear them all if I got the opportunity...
and thanks for the positive feedback, deneb.

I believe the Thiels go for close to 2700 MSRP, dunno if discounts are available however. I've read nothing but good things about them, enough that when I'm ready (read: have the funds available) to upgrade, they'll go on my list of 'must auditions'.

Another speaker worth auditioning would be the Anthony Gallo Reference 3.1. They are above your budget, but probably within your budget on the used market. http://roundsound.com/reference-3-speakers.htm
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post #22 of 2204 Old 02-17-2008, 09:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Another speaker worth auditioning would be the Anthony Gallo Reference 3.1. They are above your budget, but probably within your budget on the used market. http://roundsound.com/reference-3-speakers.htm

Those are a trip... I guess I thought that the little Gallo sphere speakers were a gimmick. My wife actually saw a picture of them somewhere and showed me saying she thought they were "cute." If I come across the big boys, I will give them a listen. Have you had a chance to hear them? If so, how did they sound?

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post #23 of 2204 Old 02-17-2008, 09:44 PM
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I personally have not heard them, but they do get rave reviews (take that for what it's worth). However, I've read at least two reviews where the reviewer actually bought the review samples, I can't think of a stronger endorsement than that. They will definitely be on my list when my upgrade funds allow. Their single driver spheres apparantly do quite well also. Gallo's been doing the sphere thing for quite a few years now.
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Deneb -

Good to see another Seattlite on here. There may be more of us than I am aware of, but I don't recall seeing too many.

What gear are you running now?

Cheers,

- Tim
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post #25 of 2204 Old 02-18-2008, 12:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Deneb -
What gear are you running now?

Cheers,

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post #26 of 2204 Old 02-18-2008, 05:44 AM
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"If I come across the big boys, I will give them a listen. Have you had a chance to hear them? If so, how did they sound?"

I dont remember the name of the shop,but there is an audio store out in the Thousand Oaks area(any of the LA audio society members should remember the name,as it was one of their monthly demo gatherings) .They had the 3.1's set up in a 5.1 HT config.

Very impressive sounding speaker,although not my cup of tea

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post #27 of 2204 Old 02-18-2008, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by hifisponge View Post

Deneb -

Good to see another Seattlite on here. There may be more of us than I am aware of, but I don't recall seeing too many.

What gear are you running now?

Cheers,

- Tim

I believe there are a few fellow Seattle area posters here, plus more from the Portland area, though probably still a very small % of the total users here hail from the Pacific NW (how about the weather today and this weekend-about time we had a nice day or two). Anyways, my gear:

1) Toshiba 50" HDTV (2002 model, 4:3 screen ratio and no 1080P capability)
2) Older Toshiba DVD player
3) Marantz SR 8500 receiver - also drives my surround speakers
4) Outlaw audio 750 amp - drives front and center speakers
5) Energy Veritas 2.1 mains
6) Energy AC 300 center - good tonal match with the Veritas mains
7) Polk RT25i (side) and RT28i (back) surrounds
8) Two Dayton RSS390 HF 15" subs, each in it's own sealed enclosure
9) Two Oaudio 500 watt amps driving the subs
10) Outlaw LFM -1 (their first sub) in a nearfield placement - evens out a 60hz dip in my room/listening position
11) Velodyne SMS-1 for sub EQ
12) 8 bass traps
13) 7 absorbing panels for early reflections

Next on the upgrade list: Towers for the fronts, with a matching center (and possibly surrounds). I'm actually pretty happy with my current speakers, but at some point the wife and I are planning on additions to our family, I figure stout floorstanders will be more child proof than stand mounted bookshelf speakers, as those seem pretty top heavy. Then upgrade the TV to 1080P widescreen with a pre/pro (or receiver) that has HDMI (my SR 8500 is DVI only, but this is moot since my TV only has analog inputs).

I'd love to see what you and funkmonkey are runnin' as well. Maybe we need a Pac NW home theater thread
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post #28 of 2204 Old 02-18-2008, 12:52 PM
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I'm here too! (live in Federal Way)
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post #29 of 2204 Old 02-18-2008, 12:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Thats a pretty nice set-up. Seems like you've got all the bases covered... How do you like the sound of the Outlaw (amps) ??? I am pretty much waiting to get their upcoming HDMI based pre/pro (+)amp or possibly receiver, leaning toward separates though.

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post #30 of 2204 Old 02-18-2008, 01:00 PM
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'I'm here too! (live in Federal Way)'

There's another one! Pac NW representin'
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