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Speakers ~$10K for rock, alternative and some pop. Not Jazz or Classical.

post #1 of 411
Thread Starter 
I apologize for the extensive background context but thought it would save some steps in getting useful feedback. I am trying to scope out my pre-retirement system and the most important component would be speakers. As the title goes my music choices fall along classic alternative (Talking Heads, REM, Collective Soul, B-52's, Green Day, etc.), classic rock (Aerosmith, Supertramp, Fleetwood Mac, AC/DC, ) and newer music; some Rock, Pop and yes Alternative (Modest Mouse, Foster the People, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Pink,..). Not interested in tube amps or vinyl. However, I don't like digital processing in two channel, obviously okay for HT. Prefer a good DAC then clean analog processing. Have a good system for home theater (Kef XQ40/XQ50c) so the focus on this will be two channel , but still want to be able to do HT as long term we want to have a house down south and a summer place up north on a lake. Plan to get either the Integra 80.3 or more likely the Marantz 7005 replacement as a Pre/Pro. Amps will likely be class D as heat is an issue for my room (otherwise I'd get a Parasound Halo A31). Until proven otherwise, the best to me is still high current class A (e.g. Krell), just can't handle that heat output. My current room limits speaker size but I can go a bit bigger than ideal as the plan to change houses before retirement and as mentioned also have a summer cottage/home. Rules out 207/2, however. My current media room is 13' x 16' x 9', speakers about 8.5 apart due to room configuration.

Speakers I have been considering are:

Kef Reference 205/2 - Concern here is whether they will replace these shortly with blade derived UniQs. Don't want to spend that kind of money and be upgraded right after (like the XQs to R series). Kef seems to handle music and home theater both very well.

B&W 803Ds - 800 series seem very polarizing but still intrigue me. Based on what I've read the newer diamond series seem to have some problems with coherence between the different driver types but the last and only 800 series I have heard was the 801 Matrix Series 3, an incredible speaker but too clinical for me. Also making me a bit wary, I had planned to get CM9s/CMC2 a couple years back until I heard the CM7s compared to my previous 103/4s and was disappointed. However, CMs are no 800s.

Aerial Acoustics Model 7Ts - Press is quite good on these, not sure if it would have the bass impact desired for 2.0 as it only has two 7 woofers.

Paradigm Signature 8 - Cheaper than target which is good. I have only heard two Paradigm towers, monitors and (studio), (Edit: Both were Monitor, one older, not Studio) not signature. To me they were very veiled, lacking in detail and clarity, but had good bass. Good press on the Sig 8's but I also read a lot of good press on the GoldenEar Triton 2s but they came up short to me in the upper mids. The other concern is that from what I read about the Studio 100s that they need to be pushed a bit to sound good. Would like speakers that sound good at low volumes also, which I've had for years. Would need a serious audition to consider.

Salk Soundscape 8s - Very strong on my list, concern here is the open back midrange. Belief this is more a classical music speaker versus what matches my music tastes.

I would love to hear your input on this range of speaker for the music type I listen to. Not all that interested in monitors with dual subs as this would likely require digital processing which is what I want to avoid in two channel.
post #2 of 411
The KEF 207/2 can be had for $13K/PR new authorized.

KEF 205/2 $8K/PR new.

I would get Philharmonic 3 ($3K), KEF 205/2 or 207/2, or Soundscape 8.
post #3 of 411
Thread Starter 
ADTG, I know you have great speakers, four brands no less! The Phil 3 was on my radar but doubt it will pass the WAF, yes I still have to get past that gate. The 207/2 would be awesome but they are realistically just too big for my current room, would have trouble getting in the room as they would block the entrance. The SS8s might even pose some challenges on the WAF gate.

Thanks for the input!
post #4 of 411
post #5 of 411
Thread Starter 
Jay1, I have auditioned Klipsch several times over the years (not this level, however) and agree with many that they are awesome for home theater and good for music but there are others can do music better. I am at a loss to describe why I came to that conclusion but know when I bought my 103/4s I compared similar priced Klipsch as they were also in room 3 of Sound Advice. Have you heard this model or similar?
post #6 of 411
why not give the goldenear triton 2's a listen or the deftech 8080-st towers...
post #7 of 411
You can pick any finish from modern to classic wood to your own design on a Salk. I would let the wife choose the finish of the SS8 so she would be willing to accept the shape.
post #8 of 411
Jim: Few questions for you:

A. Are you stuck on "tower" speakers?

B. How do you like your Kef XQ series speakers? In terms of both aesthetics and SQ.

C. Obviously sound quality for your type of music is important(we both have the same taste in music), would the ability to TUNE for absolute SQ to your room's accoustics be an option or at least intrigue you?
post #9 of 411
Quote:
Originally Posted by jima4a View Post

Jay1, I have auditioned Klipsch several times over the years (not this level, however) and agree with many that they are awesome for home theater and good for music but there are others can do music better. I am at a loss to describe why I came to that conclusion but know when I bought my 103/4s I compared similar priced Klipsch as they were also in room 3 of Sound Advice. Have you heard this model or similar?

What you have heard before likely doesn't compare with the Palladium line, or with another way you could go with Klipsch for the budget: active-crossover 2-way Jubilees in the corners of the 16 foot wall.
post #10 of 411
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by josh6113 View Post

why not give the goldenear triton 2's a listen or the deftech 8080-st towers...

I have heard the GoldenEar Triton 2s, they were awesome on most music but had issues with upper mids. Brought to the attention of the Sales Guy and he admitted they were aware of it. They called Sandy and he said to work with placement, not the issue. May be defective pair but not chasing that further.

Just read a a review of the Def Techs, sounds like an incredible value but would likely be an issue for my room size. I have heard Def Techs and they are great for HT and pretty good for music. I think I am looking for towers without built in subs.

Thanks for highlighting these!
post #11 of 411
Genelec 1037C or Klein and Hummel O 410. Sorry, I missed the WAF requirement. Neither of these will get past WAF requirements unless she's into the whole industrial-form-follows-funciton aesthetic.
post #12 of 411
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ntrain96 View Post

Jim: Few questions for you:

A. Are you stuck on "tower" speakers?

B. How do you like your Kef XQ series speakers? In terms of both aesthetics and SQ.

C. Obviously sound quality for your type of music is important(we both have the same taste in music), would the ability to TUNE for absolute SQ to your room's accoustics be an option or at least intrigue you?

A. Yes, I want great 2.0, no digital processing after the DAC (sounds hypocritical?)

B. I very much like the XQs, plan to keep as 2nd system. Great detail and midrange, good bass. Awesome looking. As mentioned before have heard better "air" in the highs and they are not full range.

C. Besides speakers, room acoustics are critical. In my experience, up to a point, the bigger the room the better the sound. Worth doing proper treatments but my focus is to spec out my hardware at this point.

Thanks!
post #13 of 411
I would be looking at the Aerials you mentioned or some Legacy Focus SEs. The SEs probably have the best bass extension you'll find for <10k. I heard the 7Ts and was surprised by their bass extension....very good but not in the same league as with the Legacys, IMO.
post #14 of 411
I would also look at Focal Electra 1028 Be.

http://www.abt.com/product/49154/Foc...TRA1028BE.html
post #15 of 411
Quote:
Originally Posted by jima4a View Post

A. Yes, I want great 2.0, no digital processing after the DAC (sounds hypocritical?)

B. I very much like the XQs, plan to keep as 2nd system. Great detail and midrange, good bass. Awesome looking. As mentioned before have heard better "air" in the highs and they are not full range.

C. Besides speakers, room acoustics are critical. In my experience, up to a point, the bigger the room the better the sound. Worth doing proper treatments but my focus is to spec out my hardware at this point.

Thanks!

A. Curious: Why no "digital processing" after the DAC? If it made no audible difference would you care?

B. If you KNEW that you could get better in room tuning and ultimately BETTER SOUND out of a pair of monitors and pair of subs would you do it?

C. Yes room accoustics are critical to an extent, and with that in mind, for a small $300 investment, would a quality in room tuning device like say the Dayton Omnimic be something you would be willing to pick up, especially if you knew it would allow you to get the most out of your setup?

D. If you answer "no" to A, and "yes" to C, would you be willing to do an experiment with your current XQ40 speakers with the only cost to you being a bit of your time and possibly return shipping?

Keeping this friendly and enjoyable, but if this is your "retirement" 2 channel audio system and ultimate SQ to YOUR EARS(and not everyone else's opinion including my own) is hands down the primary goal of yours, I would bet you could do alot better with $8-10k than the Kef towers(And you know Im a Kef fan)......but that would require a bit of time and experimenting on your part. To me $8-10k is not chump change, if your not in a mad rush, and true high end sound is your goal, think seriously about trying something different before plunking that type of cash down for what in reality is a mid-fi product and do it using your own current gear.
post #16 of 411
Pioneer EX-1 - designed by Andrew Jones, who usually sticks to developing gear for TAD, Pioneer's professional/ultra hi-end subsidiary.

For some reason these larger companies usually do a horrible job marketing their own hi-end gear, so here's a review carried out by Stereophile magazine:

"Pioneer S-1EX loudspeaker"
post #17 of 411
post #18 of 411
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmichaelf View Post

Genelec 1037C or Klein and Hummel O 410. Sorry, I missed the WAF requirement. Neither of these will get past WAF requirements unless she's into the whole industrial-form-follows-funciton aesthetic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by russ_777 View Post

I would be looking at the Aerials you mentioned or some Legacy Focus SEs. The SEs probably have the best bass extension you'll find for <10k. I heard the 7Ts and was surprised by their bass extension....very good but not in the same league as with the Legacys, IMO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by drewTT View Post

I would also look at Focal Electra 1028 Be.

http://www.abt.com/product/49154/Foc...TRA1028BE.html

Quote:
Originally Posted by donutfan View Post

Pioneer EX-1 - designed by Andrew Jones, who usually sticks to developing gear for TAD, Pioneer's professional/ultra hi-end subsidiary.

For some reason these larger companies usually do a horrible job marketing their own hi-end gear, so here's a review carried out by Stereophile magazine:

"Pioneer S-1EX loudspeaker"

Quote:
Originally Posted by donutfan View Post

JBL Synthesis 1400 "Array"

Full review

Thanks for the leads. I will check all these out as they are new for me, and if I can I will try to audition the Klipsch Palladiums, best to have an open mind. Yes, I will at least check out the "form-follows-function" suggestions, at least so I know about them.
post #19 of 411
+1 on the Focal Electra line. The 1028 or 1038Be's.

I've owned both, just moved up to 1038's from 1028's... I mainly listen to metal/rock and they sound absolutely fantastic playing those genres. In fact -- I have yet to encounter a genre that they don't handle extremely well. I listen to a boatload of Jazz and Classical and quite a bit of electronic as well.

To me, if a speaker only does one particular genre really well, it's a flawed design from the get-go. A well designed speaker should be able to handle anything you throw at it.
post #20 of 411
Wow that is the first time i have ever heard anyone describe digms as being veiled or lacking detail. Where did you hear them? I would have to think it was more to do with either the listening environment or bad EQ or something rather than the speakers themselves.

If possible try to see if any stores will let you demo them at your own home for a while with a good amp and no EQ.

Although you may not like them much anyway since you didn't like the B&W's for sounding too clinical. I wouldn't exactly describe digms as being "clinical" but the studios and especially the sigs are a bit on the neutral side.
post #21 of 411
Quote:
Originally Posted by AuralXTC View Post

To me, if a speaker only does one particular genre really well, it's a flawed design from the get-go. A well designed speaker should be able to handle anything you throw at it.

Exactly but old audiophiles don't know that... they continue to think B&W is the greatest speaker ever made while the recordings they played were mastered on a pair of $500 powered studio monitors.
post #22 of 411
Quote:
Originally Posted by jima4a View Post

ADTG, I know you have great speakers, four brands no less! The Phil 3 was on my radar but doubt it will pass the WAF, yes I still have to get past that gate. The 207/2 would be awesome but they are realistically just too big for my current room, would have trouble getting in the room as they would block the entrance. The SS8s might even pose some challenges on the WAF gate.

Thanks for the input!

When are you buying the next house with bigger room?

I would hate to "settle" for speakers only to regret in a few years when you have the bigger room.

I assume this will be your ultimate "last" pair of dream speakers.

Well, first thing is to talk to the wife and see what the boss will approve before going any further.

My wife and I have an understanding. The home theater room is my "domain" and I have 100% sole decision making for it. She gets the rest of the house, which seems like a fair trade to me.

That is why the rest of the house looks like a damn hotel.

But a deal is a deal.
post #23 of 411
Quote:
Originally Posted by jima4a View Post


Just read a a review of the Def Techs, sounds like an incredible value but would likely be an issue for my room size. I have heard Def Techs and they are great for HT and pretty good for music. I think I am looking for towers without built in subs.

Thanks for highlighting these!

I've heard pretty much none of the others listed, but when I was auditioning, I would have chosen the DefTech 8060s or 8080s if I was shopping for music-only. They are BEAUTIFUL, and much better than the B&Ws. I was completely sold on the DefTechs for music. I must have listened to Pink Floyd's Comfortably Numb 2 dozen times on them that day.

I ultimately ended with Klipsch RF-83s, since my setup was 80-90% HT.

I'd be interested in your thoughts on Klipsch Heritage line, like Klipschorns or Jubilees. I've never even seen them, let alone heard them. But all I hear is that they are to die for with music.
post #24 of 411
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dasteru View Post

Wow that is the first time i have ever heard anyone describe digms as being veiled or lacking detail. Where did you hear them? I would have to think it was more to do with either the listening environment or bad EQ or something rather than the speakers themselves.

If possible try to see if any stores will let you demo them at your own home for a while with a good amp and no EQ.

Although you may not like them much anyway since you didn't like the B&W's for sounding too clinical. I wouldn't exactly describe digms as being "clinical" but the studios and especially the sigs are a bit on the neutral side.

I checked with the Sales guy and I was originally wrong, both Paradigm towers I heard were Monitor series, one an older model - no Studio. I did edit the original post.

Regarding the 801 Matrix Series 3 they were used by most reviewers as reference speakers and many recording studios at the time (about 20 years ago). I think just that version was known for being almost too revealing and less enjoyable but I don't think that is true for later models, but I have never heard the later versions.

The CM7s were notably more clear and detailed than the Paradigms, they just came up a bit short to the 103/4s and were lacking in bass, IMO.
post #25 of 411
Quote:
Originally Posted by the Son View Post

I've heard pretty much none of the others listed, but when I was auditioning, I would have chosen the DefTech 8060s or 8080s if I was shopping for music-only. They are BEAUTIFUL, and much better than the B&Ws. I was completely sold on the DefTechs for music.

I thought the DefTech BP7000SC & BP7001SC sounded better than the B&W 800D & 802D. Of course, a lot of people laughed and thought I was crazy. But I would agree with you.
post #26 of 411
Quote:
Originally Posted by AuralXTC View Post

To me, if a speaker only does one particular genre really well, it's a flawed design from the get-go. A well designed speaker should be able to handle anything you throw at it.

If you're alluding to a "neutral" speaker, unfortunately to me that means if a recording is not of high quality - and many rock and pop recordings are NOT of high quality - IMO many times one's listening experience is probably going to be rather unpleasant. -----> this is heavily dependent on 1) one's listening preferences and 2) one's physical hearing system differences e.g. Person "A" may literally be more sensitive to the higher frequencies than Person "B".

Some proof of this is found in the fact that according to several pro audio forums I read, many professionals say that they would never use their studio recording monitors for listening to music for pleasure. Why? Because they reveal TOO much of what's in the recording! To clarify: various distortions from mic preamps, lower quality mixing boards, power supply issues, distortions from external SFX processors, etc. Again, these are people recording the rock/pop genres, not classical or jazz which tend to be recorded with much more care, using very high quality gear, no overly boosted high or low frequencies and especially, little to no signal compression, something which can literally destroy music if used with a heavy hand (some compression can be very useful though in certain situations, so it is not inherently evil).

There are hi-end speakers out there that are built lovingly out of the highest quality materials, have many hours of intense R&D behind their design and have awesome customer support......but IMO are intentionally designed to NOT dig deeply into every recording for the reasons described above. I would list some of those brands, but don't want to start an argument in the OP's thread.
post #27 of 411
Quote:
Originally Posted by jima4a View Post

I checked with the Sales guy and I was originally wrong, both Paradigm towers I heard were Monitor series, one an older model - no Studio. I did edit the original post.

Regarding the 801 Matrix Series 3 they were used by most reviewers as reference speakers and many recording studios at the time (about 20 years ago). I think just that version was known for being almost too revealing and less enjoyable but I don't think that is true for later models, but I have never heard the later versions.

The CM7s were notably more clear and detailed than the Paradigms, they just came up a bit short to the 103/4s and were lacking in bass, IMO.

I've auditioned the Paradigm Studio 100 v3 right after I auditioned the B&W 800D, 802D, 803D.

I thought they sounded very similar - not my type of speakers. Nothing like KEF Reference or Salon2 or Philharmonic or Linkwitz Orion. But that is just my personal opinion.
post #28 of 411
Quote:
Originally Posted by donutfan View Post

There are hi-end speakers out there that are built lovingly out of the highest quality materials, have many hours of intense R&D behind their design and have awesome customer support......but IMO are intentionally designed to NOT dig deeply into every recording for the reasons described above. I would list some of those brands, but don't want to start an argument in the OP's thread.

Which is true for pretty much all non internet direct speakers. But yes they sound awesome and realistic if not accurate.
post #29 of 411
Quote:
Originally Posted by AcuDefTechGuy View Post

I've auditioned the Paradigm Studio 100 v3 right after I auditioned the B&W 800D, 802D, 803D.

I thought they sounded very similar - not my type of speakers. Nothing like KEF Reference or Salon2 or Philharmonic or Linkwitz Orion. But that is just my personal opinion.

We share the same sentiment. Only the Signature series from Paradigm is something I would consider owning, and even then I decided there were probably better options for music listening. They were out of my price range anyway.
post #30 of 411
Quote:
Originally Posted by jima4a View Post


Salk Soundscape 8s – Very strong on my list, concern here is the open back midrange. Belief this is more a classical music speaker versus what matches my music tastes.

I would love to hear your input on this range of speaker for the music type I listen to. Not all that interested in monitors with dual subs as this would likely require digital processing which is what I want to avoid in two channel.

The SoundScape 8's come with aset of closed wooden grills (in addition to the standard "open" ones) to completely seal the midrange chamber if you please. The nice thing about their design is you can go full open, sealed or adjust the polyfill inside the chamber to suit your room and tastes. I've heard a lot of the speakers mentioned in this thread, and the SS8 is the speaker I'd go with; it's easily the best speaker I've heard under $16,000 (I'd even take it over the Revel Salon2's).

Where do you live? There's a chance there is a SoundScape owner in your area. It's probably not a pair of SS8's, but the 10's and 12's sound extremely similar.

For what it's worth, I run a pair of Salk's and have a large collection of rock and metal music that I play often (along with classical, jazz, new age, etc). The Salk's rock hard, but as already mentioned, some rock music is compressed and poorly recorded, and a good speaker (no matter what the brand) will not cover those flaws. It's just something to be aware of (I'm sure you already know this, so my apologies for preaching to the choir). The well recorded rock like Joe Satriani, Dream Theater (certain albums), The Eagles, Daryl Stuermer, Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, etc sounds amazing, though!

Have you checked out Wyred4Sound for amps and PS Audio or Eastern Electric for DAC choices?
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