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What's Your Favorite Tower Speakers <$3,000?

post #1 of 195
Thread Starter 
Votes are welcome from people who already have speakers in this range, or simply dream of owning some. Please vote only for speakers you've actually heard.

Tastes will vary here quite a bit, so it helps to know where you’re coming from – what music you like to listen to and how does the speaker complement it. For example, my Regas were great for the size and value, but their crisp sound is better suited to jazz and acoustic music. Ten months after I started this poll, after hearing as many options as I could, I ended up choosing the Wharfedale Opus 3. It has cajones that can better handle low-end heavy reggae, hip hop and metal, and is relatively forgiving for poorly recorded punk, post-punk and indie rock. I preferred it over more popular ones like B&W and Paradigm. I think speakers from Revel and Dali were marginally better, but I chose Opus because the price ($1,900) was unbeatable in this range, and I already had some Evos that would match well for surrounds.

The poll is ongoing, but only had the option of ten choices. If yours isn't on here, vote in the reply, and I'll add it to this post, and tally the votes manually.

I tried to get the correct list prices, but could be wrong on some, so please correct me.

Edit: I initially mentioned value, availability, matching centers/surrounds, but let's keep it simple and keep it to best sounding (and visual aesthetics if you care). You have $3K burning a hole in your pocket, and you can only use them for towers. No squirreling away a grand for your vacation or amplifiers or a kiddie pool. You want the best speaker possible for up to $3K.

Wharfedale Opus 2, $3,000
B&W 703, $3,000 | Review
Polk LSi25, $3,000
Totem Forest, $2,990
Usher CP-6371, $2,900
Onix Rocket RS1000 Signature, $2,800
Energy Veritas V2.3i, $2,800 | Review
Vienna Acoustics Mozart Grand, $2,750 | Review
KEF Reference 203, $2,600

Revel Performa F32, $4,000 [I mistakenly thought the MSRP was $3K but it wasn't, so it actually shouldn't be in this poll, sorry. I would have substituted the Dali Mentor 5, and also included the popular Paradigm Studio 100 v.4.]

Not listed in the poll above (I'll keep a tally on votes):
JAS Audio Orsus, $3,750 [US Distributor GINI Direct has them for $1,900]
Dali Mentor 5, $3,000 [New as of 7/07, added after poll] 1 Vote
Salk Veracity QW, $2,999 2 Votes
Salk Veracity HT2, $2,995 2 Votes
Dynaudio Focus 220, $2,995 1 Vote
EFE Technology T-50, $2,890 1 Vote
Proac Studio 140, $2,800 2 Votes
Focal-JM Labs Electra 926, $2,700 2 Votes
Odyssey Lorelei, $2,700 1 Vote
Boston Acoustics VR-M90, $2,700 | Review
NHT 2.9, $2,675 2 Votes
Dynaudio Audience 82, $2,640 1 Vote
Gallo Acoustics Nucleus Reference 3.1, $2,600 | Review 4 Votes
System Audio SA1750, $2,500 1 Vote
Von Schweikert VR-2 (The Vigilance), $2,500
Joseph Audio RM22si Mk2, $2,499
Klipsch RF-83, $2,498 2 Votes
Rega R7, $2,495
Tyler Acoustics Linbrook Floorstanding Reference Monitor, $2,400
Monitor Audio GS20, $2,400 3 Votes
Paradigm Studio 100 v.4, $2,400 | Review 12 Votes
Revelation Audio Lyra 7, $2,200
PSB Stratus GT1, $2,000 2 Votes
Phase Technology PC-9.1, $2,000
MB Quart QLS 1030, $1,999
Vandersteen 2Ce Signature II, $1,995 4 Votes
Onix Strata Mini, $1,995 3 Votes
Quad 22L2, $1,800 1 Vote
Definitive Technology BP7002, $1,750 1 Vote
Magnepan MG1.6/QR, $1,725 1 Vote
Dali Ikon 6, $1,600 (Absolute Sound's 2006 Affordable Loudspeaker of the Year) 2 Votes
Salk SongTower QWT, $1,500 1 Vote
Axiom Millenia M80 v2, $1,300 2 Votes
Selah Audio 35F, $1,295 1 Vote
post #2 of 195
Where have I read this before?

I really liked the Magnepans that I heard a "long" time ago. But I don't think I've really listened enough in this price range to vote...
post #3 of 195
Paradigm Studio 100.

-K
post #4 of 195
I chose b&w 703 because they did acoustical instruments, including human voice, better than anything else in the price range that I heard, and could still rock (or reggae) out when asked to do so. Just a good all around speaker IMO (getting a big discount on floor demos didn't hurt)
post #5 of 195
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lindahl View Post

Where have I read this before?

I really liked the Magnepans that I heard a "long" time ago. But I don't think I've really listened enough in this price range to vote...

Lindahl is referring to another forum where I posted a slightly different version of this poll. I'm curious if the results will be much different here. If nothing else, AVS seems a lot more active, and I hope to see more interesting posts!

Not many people will likely have heard more than a few of the loudspeakers listed, but feel free to vote anyway. If only we all had audiophile superstores with three dozen different brands all connected to a bank of several dozen different receiver and amp combos.

B&W was the overwhelming winner in the old poll, due to their reputation for unparalleled reproduction of vocals and acoustic music. In turn, however, their sensitivity isn't always so kind to less refined sources.
post #6 of 195
For me so far its the:Onix Rocket RS450 at $899 a pair they are a stunning a value and heres the rest thats considerably more expensive than the 450s except for a few may be a little more im not saying they are the best but they are near it and at its price thats astounding:
Odyssey Loralei
Onix Mini Strata
Onix Reference 1.8
Onix Rocket RS 760,850,and 1000
Tyler Reference Monitor
Totem Arros
Totem Hawks
Ohm Micro Talls
Dynaudio Focus 220
GR Research A/V 3
Wharfedale Opus 1,2,and 3
Magnapan 1.6
NHT Classic 4
Usher CP 6311
Spendor S8e
Quad 21L & 22L
Naim Audio Ariva
Rega R5 & R7
PMC FB1+
Monitor Audio GR20
Gallo Reference 3.2
Salks(dont know the name) and yes I've heard them all!
post #7 of 195
PSB Stratus GT1.
post #8 of 195
I voted for the b&w's, but I'd rather have voted for paradigm if that choice was offered.
post #9 of 195
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tawaun da bomb View Post

For me so far its the:Onix Rocket RS450 at $899 a pair they are a stunning a value and heres the rest thats considerably more expensive than the 450s except for a few may be a little more im not saying they are the best but they are near it and at its price thats astounding:

You like that better than the higher end Onix on the list? So of all the ones you listed, what's your second favorite?
post #10 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fastnbulbous View Post

You like that better than the higher end Onix on the list? So of all the ones you listed, what's your second favorite?

The Minis and the Ref 3s are the best ones I've heard, I like the balance the 450s have,the Ref 1.8s are great to,but they dont play as deep as the 450s and they are much more foward in their presentation,I like the 450s better than the rest of the Rockets,the performance they offer for the money is mind boggling.
post #11 of 195
You need to put the strata minis on your poll, the fact that they are only $2k is no reason to exclude them from consideration. I'd save that extra thousand and spend it on amplification which those seem to love so much.
post #12 of 195
Dynaudio Audience 72SE
post #13 of 195
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by armystud0911 View Post

You need to put the strata minis on your poll, the fact that they are only $2k is no reason to exclude them from consideration. I'd save that extra thousand and spend it on amplification which those seem to love so much.

Do you think they sound better than the Rocket RS1000 Signature? If you think they're better than all the others I'll put them up there. We're not voting for the best bargain, I'm looking for the best.
post #14 of 195
Strata Mini :-)
post #15 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fastnbulbous View Post

Do you think they sound better than the Rocket RS1000 Signature? If you think they're better than all the others I'll put them up there. We're not voting for the best bargain, I'm looking for the best.

I think the Minis Strata,Odyssey Loralei,Wharfedale Opus 3 (their a couple hundred over) and ACI Sapphires XLs are the best speakers you can get for under $3k.
post #16 of 195
Another vote for the Paradigm 100 v.4
post #17 of 195
Thread Starter 
The Dynaudio Audience 72SE is $5,900...

ACI Saphire XL is not a tower speaker. We could do another poll for "bookshelf" speakers. I chose towers for this poll because I like the idea of not hiding the speakers. Many prefer how some bookshelves mix with subwoofers, but I'd like good towers that could do fine without subs. Worthy of another thread.

I added the Odyssey Lorelei and Strata Mini, with three votes.
post #18 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fastnbulbous View Post

The Dynaudio Audience 72SE is $5,900...

ACI Saphire XL is not a tower speaker. We could do another poll for "bookshelf" speakers. I chose towers for this poll because I like the idea of not hiding the speakers. Many prefer how some bookshelves mix with subwoofers, but I'd like good towers that could do fine without subs. Worthy of another thread.

I added the Odyssey Lorelei and Strata Mini, with three votes.

Nothing in the Audience series exceeds $3 the Focus 220 are 3k and they are the next line up.
post #19 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fastnbulbous View Post

The Dynaudio Audience 72SE is $5,900...

ACI Saphire XL is not a tower speaker. We could do another poll for "bookshelf" speakers. I chose towers for this poll because I like the idea of not hiding the speakers. Many prefer how some bookshelves mix with subwoofers, but I'd like good towers that could do fine without subs. Worthy of another thread.

I added the Odyssey Lorelei and Strata Mini, with three votes.

Sorry Floorstanders,still the Sapphire XLs are one of the best under $3k floorstander or bookshelf,but back on track......
post #20 of 195
NHT 2.9, 3.3s if bought used.
How could you leave these out of your list?
post #21 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidpa View Post

NHT 2.9, 3.3s if bought used.
How could you leave these out of your list?

I agree along with the Aerial 7b's and Tylers bigger speakers,and Maggie 3.6s all used.
post #22 of 195
Wharfedale Opus 2 all the way, baby!!
post #23 of 195
Salk Veracity HT-2s
Seas Thor Kit (pay someone to put them together if necessary)
post #24 of 195
Vandersteen 2CE sigs. Can't believe Vandersteen isn't making a showing on this poll.
post #25 of 195
Thread Starter 
Alright you guys, that's cheating! No used speakers that normally go for $6,000! We're talking list price here. So it looks like we'll need an up to $6,000 poll, and stand-mounted bookshelves poll.

NHT and Vandersteen are added. You're the first ones to suggest them. Discussion is allowed, really. Tell us of your magical experiences of hearing your favorite speaker for the first time and how it compares to others.

The Salk site shows Veracity HT3 and Veracity QC, but not HT2. Let's include only speakers that aren't discontinued.
post #26 of 195
How is this information useful?
post #27 of 195
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chu Gai View Post

How is this information useful?

I agree with most all you post, but...not everything in life has to be "useful" Some things are just fun. Like a discussion about a particular thing that interests one. I don't neccessarily have to or want to learn something from every conversation I have. Drinking a beer once in a while isn't "useful" but it does hit the spot. Driving a fine automobile, drinking an outstanding wine, looking at fine art, one could argue that these things are just sensory experiences and that the "useful" part of them could be solved with a Yugo, bottle of ripple, or Miss October 2006. But sometimes things are just, fun for fun's sake.
post #28 of 195
Piega Twen - if you want to hear hi-hat, ride and crash cymbals sound different than odd-sized trash can lids, this ribbon is impossible to beat. Quite amazing mids and decent bass for the size, outstanding imaging from fabulous cabinet - rapping it with your knuckles returns the sound of a marble slab.
post #29 of 195
Axiom M80
post #30 of 195
well let me add the HTD Level 3 towers. Its way underpriced compared to this price range but since they can stand next to the might Strata Mini and not been humiliated I think they deserve to be auditioned.

Regards
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