Vandersteen Quattro CT: http://vandersteen.com/products/quatro-wood-ct
Heard these recently at Johnny Rutan's place hooked up to Audio Research tube amps. They sounded fantastic. Really right bass and open, spacious top end.
Audio Note AN/E great sounding full range speakers easy to drive and place in-room and within your budget.
Definitely consider a used pair of Revel Salon 2.
Also consider the quite large stand mount Harbeth Monitor 40.2 and Spendor SP100R2.
It's all personal of course.
Kef Blade 2, finest speaker I've ever heard. Wish I could afford them. 12-15k price range for used pair. A definite final purchase imho.
With a question like this, you'll get 15 different viewpoints from every ten respondents, but FWIW my pitch is for Vienna Acoustics Liszt. Breathtaking (at Gifted Listener, nr Wash DC).
Appreciate all the comments so far. Is B&W worth putting on my short list? I remember 10 years ago they had a great reputation and sound. However, I have not paid attention to this hobby since then, so I am trying my best to catch up on what I have missed.
DeVore Fidelity Gibbon X or O/96.
These speakers not only sound good, but they are easy to drive, so it opens up many more choices of amplification.
Many options. However, you should try to have an in-home audition. Speakers sound very different in your own listening room compared to the audio store - especially if you have placement limitations. In the DC area, Gifted Listener Audio, Deja Vu Audio, and Border Partrol will make arrangements for a home audition (not sure about CommandAV). The other option . . . to purchase from a manufacturer that has a liberal return policy such as Zu, Tekton, and Teresonic. Two speakers that have been mentioned that I have heard and liked are AudioNote ANE and Devore 0/96. To these I would add Zu Definition 4s - the ones that I have owned for 6 years, Living Voice (but not quite full-range), and Coincident. My Zu Def 4s are flat down to 16Hz.
It seems that B&W does not target a flat response, instead going for a "smile" response. Up to you if that offends your sensibilities.
Also, steer clear of the yellow Kevlar midrange BW uses. I could swear that thing is in break up mode through its whole operating range. I think in your price range you won't see that driver, but just in case....
What are the dimensions of your room?
B&W had a great reputation 30 years ago.
It all depends what you are looking for and please don't say extreme accuracy or highest fidelity because everyone says that but in reality it is rarely a requirement at all. Most speakers offer you a smilie EQ - big bass and emphasized treble - as this is what impreses in a demo and what most sells - even high end headphones use the same trick.
I did a 2 month study and audition
The new Martin Logan Impression, or expression Loudspeakers are exceptional
With powered front rear dual powered ZBass and 24 bit DPS, is completely seamless and by far the best speaker combo on the market very natural sounding and dissects every nuance of the performance. I bought the impression.
11A, the expression 13A has a 13 inch panel 4- 10 inch drivers.
From $10k to $15k. Well worth the effort I could Not be happier.
I sold the excellent Sonus Faber Olympica-3 Loudspeakers for these.
The Revel's Ultima2 line came out almost ten years ago. Not much has changed, and they continue to be a reference. MSRP for Studio2s is $16k while Salon2 is $22k. I have been leisurely looking in this price range and have heard all of what has been suggested, expect Zu, without finding something particularly outstanding.
I like projecting, dynamic speakers, although some other models have a particularly captivating midrange (too me). Those in your range would be JBL Synthesis line (which bizarrely but not surprisingly sound like horn-version Revels), Avantgarde Zero TA XD ($15K, I think) and Audiokinesis Dream Maker, which is a great deal. I also really like TAD Microevolution One, but it is a three-way bookshelf for ~$12k. Its sports a beautiful, easy-on-the-ears and well dispersed midange/tweeter. Bass is robust, but its portedness is very audible. It also plays on a smaller scale. It is tempting as I type this, though. So is YG Acoustics, heavily discounted on used market.
Another vote for Vandersteen Quattro CT
but I am biased...
go listen to some stuff but for more than a bit...
I really liked pairing Acoustic Zen Crescendo speakers with my McIntosh gear. Listen to them if you get a chance.
Some one mentioned AudioNote ane's and Living voice both are very musical I've owned both and find the living voice speakers much more musical and better long term I sold the ANE's and kept the Living Voice speakers and gave up a little of the base for a much more musical and inviting speaker, in my room and with my system of course.
Charney Audio Companion or Maestro. Both are under 10k and hit all the right cues for musical enjoyment. Pair them with a good SET amp and high quality source and your done!
I have the Maestro and constantly get sucked into the music. If you like to get emotionally involved in your music Charney will take you there. Don't be fooled by the size of the driver. Charney tractrix designed horns are full-range and play better than the specs posted. http://http//charneyaudio.com/speakers.html
Paradigm Persona 7F and the Aerial 7T.
Unless I missed it; how can anyone recommend a speaker without knowing the dimensions of the room?
@ricred1, we are currently going by budget, not by room :-)
I might add, ProAc D48R, based on my audition of the D30RS.
I understand that the OP stated a budget between 10K-15K. I also understand that this is a pointless exercise if we a recommending speakers with out knowing the room's dimensions. I've owned several speakers over the years. One thing I've learned is that the size of the room has a lot to do with how the speaker images and pressures the room. I've owned Aerial 7Ts and think they are fantastic speakers for a small to medium room. So, if the OP's room is large I couldn't recommend them. That's my only point.
Thanks so much for pointing in the right direction. As I mentioned before, my knowledge of the market, equipment, and quality is very outdated as I have not stayed in tune with this hobby for the past 10 years. You guys have introduced a lot of brands that I wasn't familiar with.
There have been some questions about the size of my room. Currently my room is the family room, which has open spaces into the kitchen and a stairwell to the upper section of the townhouse. The room is roughly 14'x20'. Of course I don't expect to live in a townhouse forever and would love to purchase a house one day (living in the Bay Area is very expensive). I generally buy equipment that outlasts my living spaces. For example the Salk Sound speakers that I had lasted 10 years through three apartments, and into 5 years into my current townhouse. Long story short is that if I'm going to spend $15K on speakers, I want them to last 10+ years and move them into a new house in the future, which room dimensions would be unknown.
OP--If you like your Salks, how about moving up in the line? No shame in that.
Understood about moving up in Salks. Just want to make sure I'm considering all options given all the changes in the industry in the past 10 years.
I seldom reply to subjective posts simply because what I think should be on someones short list doesn't matter.
Plus how can any one answer without knowing your room all associated equipment and music genre .
However, it just so happens that today I heard Devore 0/96 ,Wilson Benesch Vectors and of course I must through in my Horning Aristotles.
All within your price range and sound exceptional.
All should do very well in most rooms except maybe a great room.
Of the three I hate to say this but I think the Vectors would be my choice.
I have a pair coming for home audition and if it works with my components and room and can reproduce sound to my bias' better then my Horning's I will be buying them
Point noted and that makes sense.
You have the EXACT thoughts that I do. A $10-$15k loudspeakers should last 10+years, more maybe. That is why it is difficult for me to lock to my next upgrade. I will take more efforts to hear some more. Been doing that for the past 2 years. But hopefully this summer, the search should end. Good luck in your search and keep this thread updated with your search.
dhanks, In your price range I would also consider the Wilson Audio Sabrina compact floorstanders ($16k/pair new) as well as Vandersteen and Vienna Acoustics. Or the Sonus Faber Olympica line or higher. And the new B&W 803 D3 ($17k/pair new) wouldn't be so bad either. These new B&W 800 D3 series do not use Kevlar midrange drivers anymore and sound quite a bit better than their prodecessor D2 models which still used Kevlar midrange drivers. B&W has gone through total redesigns and engineering with their new 800 D3 series model.
But out of these loudspeakers mentioned above my first choice would be the Wilson Sabrina and these speakers will pair well with McIntosh gears.
The Sonus Faber and the B&W 800 Diamond series will also pair well with the McIntosh.
Try to get as many as home demo speakers as you can and listen to them in your own room and with your equipments. It comes down to personal preferences and musical tastes when it comes to speaker choices. We all have different tastes when it comes to speakers.
Focal Utopia, Lansche and Classic Audio. Don't know how they would work with your electronics, but when getting high level speakers one must be prepared to replace the electronics and cables or it may be all for nothing.
Consider Daedalus Argos, excellent, near, full range speaker.
Oh yes and Michael Green Audio, though I doubt you can audition them anywhere except in Las Vegas. My choice would be either Michael Green or Lansche speakers. Add to this Lamm, VAC or Ypsilon electronics and you will be set for life, long life.
This is maybe gonna come across wrong but keep the Salks and buy the house sooner
if the economy keeps doing well houses will go up faster than Audio....
I'll add Joseph Audio Perspectives to the mix as ones to audition if you can.
Another JA Perspectives fan, I see.
I auditioned the Perspectives and they are on my (very, very short) list of speakers I'm considering as replacement for my Thiels 3.7s.
Joseph Audio Perspectives. Yes, yet another fan.
I just picked up a pair of Wilson Maxx 2s for $15k. They replaced a pair of series 1 Sophia's. The Maxx 2s are incredible. They are paired with a SS Macintosh amp. These are great keeper speakers.
Dear Dhanks you have a lot of great choices both new and used in that price range.
It will all come down to a number of factors being how big is your room?
How loud do you play?
Music only ?
Is the speakers visual look important?
We have Kef Blade one demos for almost that price, as well as Dali Epicon 8 which are wonderful the Personas are incredible in terms of speed detail and imaging, the Dali are wonderful in terms of rich midrange with excellent detail.
If you are on the East Coast look us up.
Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
Well if you wanted to purchase some speakers that you would fall in love with, that are not made of cheap MDF, that don't have a soul sucking crossover, or notch filters, ( for the cabinet resonance ) that have the best signal to noise level of any cabinet speaker, that don't have fat flabby bass, that are fast and nimble, that image like crazy, that play loud and play soft, that are very engaging, that you can listen to long term without fatigue, that have a midrange the covers almost the entire midrange, the I would suggest the Wilson Beseech Vector.
Get some more info here: http://www.stereo.net.au/reviews/wilson-benesch-vector-loudspeakers/
Caphill wrote: "And the new B&W 803 D3 ($17k/pair new) wouldn't be so bad either.
Wilson Sabrina and these speakers will pair well with McIntosh gears.
The Sonus Faber and the B&W 800 Diamond series will also pair well with the McIntosh.
I visited a friend's house this past weekend. He was driving B&W 803 D3s with McIntosh pre and power amps. He also spent a lot of time on his room setup. I must say that they sounded great. Such precision and definition. A little bit lacking on the deepest organ notes, but otherwise a nice, clean, deep bass.
There are so many good speakers in this price range, especially if also considering used. It would take me months to sort through them.
Egglestonworks Andra II or III, Aerial Acoustics 20T, or Revel salons 1 or 2
Alot of good choices.
I would recommend Legacy Signature which i heard at a NY HI Fi show in 2014 which were great. Here's a video of the Legacy Signature speakers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XrMtzzNHds
I also really like JM Lab Mezzo Utopia speakers and JM Lab 920.1 speakers from the 2000s.
I would certainly recommend going to the RMAF this fall. Money well spent. I remember going to the CES show 2004 and 2005 going into so many rooms that reviewers had raved about. Most I would just do a U turn. I don't need to eat the whole egg to know it is rotten.
Wilson Sophia 3 or Sasha 1 are in your budget used... I have Sophia 2 and love them. A friend has Sasha 2, and they are incredible.
@dhanks I'd narrow your list down on your own before opening it up to feedback and specifics on say two or three speakers.
There have been many good recommendations given, but for me, this would be an overwhelming exercise due to an overabundance of choice.
As @ricred1 brought up a few times, your room is critical.
What you listen to and how you listen is important as well.
Are you open to changing your amplification? If you want to try something different, then that should dictate your speaker direction.