AVS Forum banner
  • Get an exclusive sneak peek into our new project. >>> Click Here

In search of speakers (again)

2932 Views 47 Replies 25 Participants Last post by  dollarman
Hi all,

I would appreciate suggestions for a pair of speakers, exclusively for 2 channel.

After waiting 6 months for my then new B&W pair of 704s to start singing, I gave up and I am in a search for that elusive sonic signature that will make me enjoy the music.

18 years ago I had Energy pro 22 and was very happy with it.

B&W I have now are the closest so far to the sound I remember and liked so much.

But the problem is that I get headaches from B&W sound, literally (and it is not B&W characteristic, I am yet to find speakers that will allow me to enjoy music for longer then ½ hour).

I auditioned B&W 804s as well, and the details of 704 and 804 are very good and excellent respectively, sound stage is of a decent size (hope for larger one and especially deeper one I remember from pro 22), sibilance is virtually non-existent (after being worked in), dynamics are very good, but there is this sound (or harmonics), some may call it edginess, that makes it less and less enjoyable the longer I listen.

Those painful harmonics I get from let’s say female voice, saxophone or violin.

I have to turn volume down way below normal level to eliminate this, at which point all the details and dynamics are lost, so what is the point?

I thought that maybe aluminum and similar alloy tweeters are the culprit (I remember that pro 22 had dual hyperdome, some sort of cotton material over it).

So I listened to PMC which had silk tweeter, but it had timbre totally different what I did not like, unnatural tone.

New Energy series (C series, Reference Connoisseur), are somewhat easier to listen (less pain), but they simply have no details, and timbre of instruments and voices is not right.

Planars are thin and unexciting for me, (not lack of bass, music is just not dynamic).

Totems are not what I am looking for either.

Electronics are not the culprit I believe, those pro 22 sang with literally anything, including a small 40W Yamaha amp.

I tried B&W with Arcam and Bryston (anything in range up to ~ 3,000.00), those are to dull for B&W. Bryston with Energy Reference Connoisseur is much more open, but no details.

I tried Linn speakers and amp, no excitement. Do not timbre.

So to sum up, what is out there that will give me clean, detailed, dynamic sound, not laid back nor in your face, with right timbre, such is let’s say the sound of B&W 804S, but without the headache?

Or is there a way to tame speakers with some electronics? Maybe some amp I have not looked at yet?

I tried MF tube buffer X-10, did not work, just a bit smoother sound but loss of details, kind of muddied everything.
See less See more
Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 48 Posts
I have you tried Paradigm Signature Series speakers?
If you can, check out the NHT Xd speakers. They're at the cutting edge of new digital speaker systems. They'll either hit you dead on or they won't, there's no in between. They're inherently accurate and extremely detailed, but amazingly smooth. I've heard them *occasionally* called too bright, but also too warm. But most find them "just right". They're definitely smoother and more detailed than the B&Ws, without that funky, "edgy" sound that never seems quite right. They are "quick" like the Maggies, but with a more natural, more sensible soundstage and lots of accurate, clean, deep bass. I suspect they are vibrant and "alive" than Totems and I had a customer trade in Linn Espeks for them and I've traded in two pairs of Genesis APM1s for them. Well, anyway, they *seem* to be the kind of speaker that you might like, but you'd have to listen. Where are you at?
alimentall suggestion is good

my favourites are musical fidelity A5 with focal jm lab 1027be or more higher end i will choose gryphon diablo integrated amp
Hmmm, Energy Veritas seem like they'd fit the bill. Beside not being able to sing with a 40 wpc amp, they fit all of your criteria. Not sure what your budget is, but since the NHT Xd's have been mentioned I figured I'd throw the Veritas into the mix - they all cost less than the (very nice and yes I know, self powered) Xd's. I have 2.4i's and think they are truly excellent in every respect.
PSB's T6s are a possibility. I haven't heard them, but I always liked the (somewhat dated) Status Golds and am curious how the woven fiberglass sounds compared to poly.
Thank you for suggestions guys.

The comment on your suggestions/questions:

I listened to Paradigm, to simply put it, I do not like them.

NHT Xd, will give it a try, I am in Toronto, Canada. Will have to check if there are dealers where I can listen. If you know of one, please let me know.

BTW, my grief is not in area of bass, I want to enjoy the music, want the details, you could say somewhat on bright side, but not something that forces you to listen, and is not hard on you. It is extremely hard to describe someone’s preference.

The price range let’s say 2-4K (whatever meets the ear).

Energy Veritas had no chance to listen correctly, just in a noisy room. Will give it a proper try. But I have heard that Energy is coming out with a totally redesigned series in a month, this is something that will have to consider (I am not in a rush).
See less See more
Sasha, is that Canadian or US $?
while in canada dont miss out the blue circle electronics and focus audio speakers
I have a setup in the house right now based around JM Labs Cobalt 816 Signature speakers. They meet your requirements and are spectacularly easy to drive.
Sasha, have you had chance auditioning some Dynaudio speakers? I have their Contour line set up. My mains are a pair of Special 25. They are not cheap but sound gorgeous. The new version of the legendary Esotar tweeters do magics. I'd recommend you find a local store and give them a try.

You can check their website for dealers in your area.

Sasha V as in Sasha Vujacic of the Lakers? : P
I am talking 2-4K US, kind of looking at something in a price range of up to the price of B&W804S per pair that is almost but not quite there in regard to my problem. I want sound signature of 804S without pain, to put it simply. Is it tweater or mid range driver that is killing me, I do not know.

And I am not the one of Lakers, otherwise my price range would be much higher, don't you think? :)

I recommend that you try a number of silk-dome tweeters, high-end as you can afford. You have "ripped" through a LOT of VERY NICE speakers that most of us would be deliriously happy with...OK...so I know you tried at least maybe one silk-dome tweeter. Try more, as one stand-out characteristic is your apparent aversion to a "bright" tweeter...but you want clarity as well. Take my recommendation. Otherwise, I think that the help you need is not from a high-end speaker, but a high-end audiologist. Do you have any ringing in your ears? Are you over 35 years old???? Seriously. :rolleyes:
Yeah those are good questions. Have you considered the possibility that your hearing has simply taken a turn for the worse since you had your Energy speakers? If so, even they might not make you happy today.

Really sorry to hear of your problems Sasha. I can only imagine how I'd feel if I had that kind of trouble ('specially seeing as how I make my living as a professional audio engineer and musician...).

Hope it works out!
Based on his description of the speakers he's auditioned, it sounds like he's suffering from *good* hearing. Silk domes are more pleasant, but not as realistic as metal dome tweeters. That's why companies that actually use real, trained, accredited engineers use metal domes and hobbiest cum speaker designers tend to use silk domes. But don't a lot of the Totems use soft domes?

But here's the thing. B&W 700 speakers are notorious for being "bright", "too detailed", "edgy". So why does Sasha noticing this make people suspicious of his hearing? Like I said, sounds like he has great hearing so far, he just knows what he wants.
I am 41 years old, and yes, I considered that something may be wrong with my hearing, but should I not be less susceptible to high frequencies with age?

And I have no ringing in my ears.

You know how annoying a crying kid can be, with that screeching noise?

There is something of that sound that bothers me with normal listening volume on speakers I have. It is not brightness in general, and my room is fool of furniture, no empty walls.

I can only think that there are some exaggerated harmonics due to who knows what, a specific type of driver or integration of.

I bought 704s in the first place because of their somewhat laid back mids nature, as compared to 703 let’s say, but there is still that sound that bothers me and it did not go away with time as I hoped. 804S is more balanced then 704 (not so laid back), and there is less of this sound in 804S, but still there. So why would I spend 4K US (a bit more in Canada) for something that is not quite there for my taste?

I love everything about 804S sound, but this.

Energy pro 22 were I think arround 2400 pair, so it was not terribly expensive speaker. Read comments on Energy web site forum, see how peple cry about them, hoping that Energy would re-make them as 35th anniversary model. Therre is a reason for it.

So there must be something that sounds right (for my ears) 25 years later, at at least the same price, right?
See less See more
Sasha, you may be someone who may enjoy a speaker with a ribbon tweet? If implemented correctly, ribbons can keep the detail while remaining smooth. Just a thought.
For a smooth sounding, non fatigueing, fun speaker check out the PSB Stratus Goldi. Very easy on the ears, excellent dynamics, will play loud, and are not grating at all.
Sasha, as a long time B&W owner I think I may know what's bothering you. I have N802's and if you look at the freq response of this speaker (which is typical of many B&W's) you will notice a slight dip in the presence range followed by a fairly sharp peak in response in the 6-10 khz range. I believe that this peak is what is giving you headaches.

No speaker is perfect and the overall response of B&W's is generally commendably flat. I recommend you continue to experiment with electronics and perhaps try different cables as well as experiment with room placement and treatment.

I did a long search for an amplifier and settled on a Marsh Sound Design A400s to drive the 802's. Sounds you like have some good dealers in your area who will let you try equipment at home. Another interesting possibility may be an amp from Classe or Sim Audio.

If your room is not carpeted, try a throwing down an oriental carpet in front of the speakers. If your windows are bare or have blinds, try drapes instead. Also experiment with toe-in, toe-out and distance of speakers from side wall. If you sit close to the wall behind you, try putting a fabric wall hanging there.

I've also had good luck with Alpha Core Goertz spkr cables, they have a very fast detailed sound and lack the 'tizziness' that plagues many spkr cable designs. I believe you can buy directly from their site with a 30 trial money back guarantee. The MI 2 may be a good choice here.

If new speakers are the ticket, try to find some jm lab or aerial acoustics to listen to. There are many great speaker brands out there.

Anyway, good luck and hope you find something you like.
See less See more
1 - 20 of 48 Posts
Not open for further replies.