$1500 bookshelf speakers with laid-back highs?

Hi all,

I currently have the Monitor Audio Gold GR series 5.1 system. I like a lot about it, but to me, the highs are a touch too bright. I am looking for something a little smoother, even if it means the highs are rolled off.

If anyone is familiar with the Sennheiser HD650 headphones, that is the sound I am looking for.

Spendor SP3/1 speakers. Retail is a bit more, but probably could get a "demo" for around this price.
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Thanks Tlh28, I will look into those.

Hiend2. My room is about 18X20. I cross over my speakers to a sub. For music, I typically listen at around 75dBs. These are for home theater as well. In a properly calibrated system, I usually listen at 20 - 25 dB below reference.

Spendors really are so musical and a bit laid back. They are also driven well by most quality electronics and present no strange loads.
You owe it to yorself to step up to the Spendor 2/3s -- a big jump up from the 3/1s in terms of weight and get down factor. They sound phenomenally good w/NAD gear.

Vienna Acoustics is known for a more laid back sound. Their
monitor (the Haydn) might be what your looking for.

i have heard the vienna acoustics hayden and some of the spendor speakers. i don't find them rolled off, or euphonic.

i think you have to look at vintage speakers to get a more euphonic sound, unless you want to spend some money on the aerial 10t, which may be the type of speaker you want.

for example, with respect to stand mounted speakers, chartwell, chario academy one, and rogers ls 3/5a, 16 ohm version could be considered.
Add the ACI Sapphire XL speakers to the list. FYI, Affordable Audio February Issue just did a review and it mentions this particular aspect of the speaker.


Hope this helps in your decision-making process.
2nd Sonus Faber...I would hesitate to say they are rolled off...lets just say they are very non-fatiguing...and very impressive bass for a standmount...concertino I believe was the model...good luck...great build and cosmetics if that matters...
Add in a third vote for the ACI Sapphire XL's. They recently got another thumbs up over at affordable audio. Award winning fo' sho'.

As a fellow HD650 listener and a Spender owner...I'd have to caution that it will be difficult to get the degree of accuracy the HD650's present in the $1500 bracket. That said I love the Spendor sound...I recommend to you any bookshelf that has a soft dome tweeter...Spendors are not great at rock though...try something else if that is your desire...Totem is good. The S3e's that I have are used in an HT system to great effect...the are shielded and only give up a little to the musicality of the older Spendor's.
I'll throw in my vote for the ACI Sapphire XL's as well. Brilliant little speakers that melt away, and do so many things that you didn't think a small speaker could do. I read another older thread with someone saying they sounded too "hi fi". (HI-fi to me is when speaker designers try to highlight certain frequencies because they think people like it) I don't believe this to be true as they produce a very flat response aside from the very top end of the audible frequencies. This isn't a huge drop and what you give up in sizzle is more than made up for in a speaker you can listen to for hours. The highs are still there, just presented in a smooth, clear way. I've had mine for about a year now and it has been a joy every step of the way.
A used pair of Tyler Taylo's would be very hard to beat for that kind of money and what you are looking for - Ty has some used pairs, if he would replace the tweeters with the SEAS millenium used in the Linbrook for you I think you would find them fitting the bill and then some.
I second the Dynaudio Focus 140 Recommendation. A mint relatively new used pair can be had for around $1250 or a good deal new for a new pair for around $1,600.

Of course, you can't talk about your speakers without including the tonal bias of the Amp. If you are keeping the Amp, the Dyns will be great, still detailed yet very musical. Or keep the speakers and look at a Nu-Vista Amp if you have a slightly harsh amp like the Rotel. The Nu-Vista is very power and musical with slightly rolled off highs. If that is out of budget, consider a NAD or even a lower priced yet 2 channel Harmon Kardon which has a warm sound. If you already have a softer amp, then definately change your speakers.
If you're talking just a touch laid back then the Aerial 5s are very nice sounding speakers.
Thanks for the responses guys. Actually this was a thread from last year, so I thought I would post what I did. I now have the Era Design 5 speakers with the matching center and surrounds. These are $900 bookshelves, which is much less than I was willing to spend, but I find they do exactly what I was looking for.

For those of you not familiar with Era, they are a newer company, and the speaker designer is Michael Kelly from Aerial Acoustics, so the recommedations for Aerial were not that far off the mark.