$16K new/used speaker question?


Opinions on options for full range, 8ohm, 90db or above speakers. So far I have heard and liked both Devore GibbonX, and Acoustic Zen Crescendo's and really like them both a lot.  I'm using an all BAT tube system with the VK-150se tube amps. Any thing else I should be listening to? I've heard the Wilsons sound great with BAT gear, but on paper they look like they would be really rough on my amps.
tom_hankins
Legacy Audio Focus SE or AERIS fits that price range (depending upon finish chosen) new, and is well under that range used. They are 95-96db efficient and a nominal 4-ohm load so not 8-ohm but may be worth looking into. I believe your BAT gear can deal with 4-ohm but best to double-check all of this....there are many other great speaker candidates in your price range as well.
I think your amps are more than up to driving Wilsons; ARC VT 100s worked very nicely on a pair of WP7s that I heard a few years back.  I had a friend who used a VK-75 to drive Von Schweikert VR4 speakers easily, that was a nice match.
Not sure of difference between gibbon x and silverback reference but if you like devore might be worth checking on. 
Keep me posted on your buying decision- Tom.
Tom, speaking of Devores the Orangatans are excellent sounding.  Have you heard them?
If you haven't already set your mind consider a new pair of Nola KO/2's for drivers and Quad 2912's, if you're up for an electrostatic.  Great sound, especially with tubes, and you'll save a few bucks to boot.  


Good luck and enjoy the search.


Tom: You may want to look into Daedalus Audio. Lou has several designs at that price point which may float your boat sonically. The Daedalus sound would be at the opposite end of the spectrum from the Wilson's, which have always left me feeling unmoved. Lou's designs are all handcrafted (from real hardwood) heirloom pieces that are easy loads and very high efficiency. He has been on a steady mission of continual improvement and his latest creations are considered by many to be among the best out available, particularly in terms of tonal realism, seamless coherence and the ability to play well with a variety of electronics. Highly recommended.

Acoustic Zen Crescendo's are one of my favorites. Sounds Of Silence sells them for way below list if ever interested.
I'm just a happy customer.
Post removed 
As a very happy Daedalus owner (the Ulysses model), I'll second the comment by Dodgealum.  I'll add that their combination of high efficiency, high power handling capability, and an unusually flat impedance curve provides exceptional versatility with respect to amplifier selection.  And I wouldn't be concerned about the fact that the Ulysses and some of the other large Daedalus models are rated at 6 ohms, rather than the 8 ohm rating indicated in your criteria.  The lack of significant variation of their impedance over the frequency range, as well as the lack of significantly capacitive impedance phase angles, result in their 6 ohms being very unchallenging.

The one uncertainty I have relative to your stated criteria, though, relates to your specification of "full range," and what that may mean.  The Ulysses and other similarly sized Daedalus models have bass extension rated to 28 Hz, while I note that the two speakers you referred to are rated to 23 and 20 Hz respectively.  But in the absence of evidence to the contrary I would apply many grains of salt to those and most other specs for speaker bass extension.  Partly because such specs rarely indicate the volume level, distortion level, or anticipated room gain that they are based on (although the Crescendo's specs at least indicate a tolerance, that being +/- 3 db).  And partly because I would not expect most speakers having a pair of 8 or 9 inch woofers to provide bass extension below the mid to upper 20's, at least at realistic volumes and with reasonably low distortion.  Regarding the Ulysses, though, I have made measurements in my room that are very consistent with the specified 28 Hz figure, at reasonably high volumes.

Good luck in your search.  Regards,
-- Al
 
There are a pair of Vienna Acoustic "The Music" in New Jersey on the sight right now for $14K. I would highly recommend having a conversation with the owner. I have to admit that I have not heard them but everything I have heard from other owners or read about them is, they're magical.
For that price you could get into a pair of used Von Schweikert Anniversary MK 2 speakers. Mine sold quickly at about that price. I owned them for years and they are really exceptional. I left only to upgrade to the $60,000 Von Schweikert VR 55 Aktives. I think they would meet your efficiency standards.Call VSA and they may know of a pair available and can answer any compatibility questions knowledgeably.
Second the new Quads. I have been using 2905's for 10 years now, with no issues - just happy ears.

That’s more power than I’d know what to do with.

I’m driving 102db speakers w/ 8 watt amps.

Sorry not to get back to everyone til now. Was in hospital. I have heard the Acoustic Zen speakers at 4/5 different shows and they always impressed me. My wife and I did around an hour or more private audition of the Devore Gibbon X (silverback replacement ?)and I liked them a lot, wife not so much. I like the Wilson Sasha/Maxx 3  a lot also and could swing either of these. I prefer buying new.

By full range, I want in room response down to under 25hz. I'm getting that now with my little YG Kipod II sigs.  These speakers sound much better with my BAT tube amps, then with my Mac 601 amps. But they really open up and play different with all the headroom the macs offer. Looking for something that will sound great and will allow the amps to loaf along while doing it.

GoldenEar Triton 1. You can get a new pair for $5K and save some money too. 
If you find the Vapor Audio Nimbus (white or black version) to your interest, feel free to contact me. I reviewed it and know where there is a pair - my previous set.
My 2 cents - try for an in-home audition of whatever you think you want to buy.  Nothing beats an audition in your home, with your gear, without a salesman hovering.  Based on my own experience, I would rather miss out on a great pair pf speakers than take a chance that I will like them as much in my home as I did in the store or the hotel room without having the ability to return them.  Most decent dealers will give you at least a weekend with a demo pair.
I’m surprised you haven’t considered top level Vandersteens. I you're anywhere near, or can get to AudioConnection in Verona, NJ, you will find what you're looking for.  Speak to John Ruton (even over the phone) for lots of ideas.
Was just wondering why you are limiting choices to 90db or higher efficiency and 8 Ohm load. Unless you find speakers which are horribly inefficient or some ridiculously low impedance, most speakers will do your equipment no harm. I second the Vandersteen choices. They seem to sound the most musical of any speaker I have listened to, and I have listened to a lot. IMHO. Good luck!
For your budget, amp, and efficiency/LF frequency extension requirements KEF's full-range floor-standing 207/2 fits the bill. They are easy to drive, are 91 dB/w/m and are very capable of deep, powerful bass. They've only been discontinued for about a year so you might still find a pair at a dealer, and they come up here on Audiogon below your target price.

The 207/2s are big speakers, but the narrow front cross-section isn't visually imposing. The coincident tweeter/midrange drivers allow the speaker to do an aural disappearing act and when properly set up, throw a wide and deep soundstage. Absolutely non-fatiguing I find them to be the quintessential music-lover's speaker. 

I've with mine for three years now and haven't heard anything at any price that would entice me to sell them. The 207/2s might be the last speakers I'll ever buy.

Steve Z
If you can find just very recently discontinued demo units of Bowers Wilkins 802s at Magnolia Show room in your area, these are in a totally different league than any models mentioned above. I went to get them myself (as Best Buy offers 24 month interest free financing) and saw another audiophile buying them for $9 grand!( Darts, he had arrived half an hour early on a weekend) !!  They were barely broken in :((((((, with boxes and free delivery. And for $14 grand you could get yourself a demo pair of Bowers WIlikins 800 D2s .. I ve seen couple  of them at the dealers in NYC..... Now we are talking no holds barred level of refinement. Just make sure you get two external run of CArdas Golden Cross speaker wire and bi-wire them. Don't ever use single wire sets or jumpers on these, as they sound too bright...

Also you could get a brand new pair of Chario Sovrans from Italy. They are about $16  grand list, but with $/euro being what it is, be firm and I'm sure you ll be able to get a pair .... Try Canadian distributor if unable to find a willing dealer in the States...

If you have a chance try to listen to the pair of Eminent Technology 8bs... I ended up with them instead of the  those demo B&W 802D2s that had sold at the Best Buy... And they are JUST $2500 plus $250 for almost mandatory Sound Anchors stands which elevate their sound even further ....
Also Sonus Faber Elipsa are very musical and I ve seen them BRAND NEW for about the same price. Just make sure the sound is not too warm , and too sweet. These and the Stradivardis are about the best in their line up.... The Bowers Wilkins have a deeper and better imaging and soundstage thou, but Sonuses sound sweeter and with certain rightness to them ....
If your preference is new you can't go wrong with the Acoustic Zens. I heard them at RMAF a few years back and for the $ the best I heard there. Good luck in your search!
Try the new Ryan speakers top ,of the line. I heard them One of the best I have heard
After reading the comments from your original post, a brand that has not been mentioned and that I have had complete success with are Usher BE 10's. I have had numerous Wilson products starting with the 3/2 up to the 8's and has out performed them in every way. I have a pair of Carrie 211 FE if I'm not mistaken are close to the wattage output of your gear. They are rated at 91 DB and 8 ohm load with no huge impedance swings. I suggest taking a serious look at them and note their driver selection.
Happy listening,,,!
Hi Tom, you are definitely on the right track to meet your goals. I previously owned the Devore 9 (5 years) and now own the O/96 and they are very responsive to quality tube amplifcation. I got a chance to audition the 0/96 and the Gibbon X side by side, and I actually preferred the 0/96, but I think it would come down to personal tastes. Both are full range (at least enough for me), coherent and have that hard-to-describe sense of "humanity" to their presentation. The Devore 9 is not full range, but the 0/96 and the X both have terrific slam, depth and definition in the bottom octaves. Now, I have not heard Acoustic Zen speakers but I have always wanted to, and I suspect the Crescendo would also be a great choice. I have not heard the Daedalus line either, but they have many fans among tube users. I have owned at least 20 different brands of speakers through the years and until the Devores, my favorites were ProAc and Verity. I am convinced that for a tube lover, speaker choice should be guided as much by the speaker's impedance characteristics as much as anything, and the Devore speakers are ideal in this regard. Best of luck, I don't think you can go wrong with either of your top choices.
Why 8Ohm/90dB+ requirement ?

 VK-150se monos can drive almost any speaker. You are missing out a lot of great speakers.
Tom, I have enjoyed your posts over the years and happily weigh in here because I just went through a year of searching for speakers in the $15k used bracket.  I listened to a lot of different brands.  I too was looking for greater bass depth but unlike you, I have a 300 wpc solid state amp.  First off, I think you should not be restricting yourself to high efficiency designs because your BAT's will power just about anything unless you listen at abnormally high levels.  

I rejected the Acoustic Zens (too boxy sounding), Vandersteen 5A's (not as detailed as I want--but I liked the 5A Carbon above my price range); I think the Wilson Sasha 1 are a good buy at 11-12k and provide superb mid bass dynamics; but I really like the Magico S5 --at about $15k-- wonderful extension on both ends, maybe the best bass I have heard,  and judging from the Myles Astor review will work with tubes.  In the end though I purchased a demo set of TAD Evolution Ones-- I really like the concentric design which seems to make the speakers disappear. Plus they are very dynamic and detailed. The beryllium tweeter is very well integrated as on the S5.

You have gotten it right with your current amp speaker matching--a tube amp with a metal tweeter is a great combo.  The YG's are a very advanced and coherent speaker. Replacing them with speakers of lesser coherence and quality to get more bass is in my view a mistake.  So if I were you I would definitely check out the Magico S5 or the TAD E-1.

teeshot,

After mucho listening, your right. I've found three lines of speakers I really like, show after show and demo after demo....to include bothering locals to listen in there homes.;)

After 5 plus years with 2 models of YG's moving on will be hard. If I do it will be to bigger YG's, Magico, Marten, or Wilson. I'm going to audtion Rockports but have heard them at two shows and both times came away thinking there was a thickness to the sound.I was impressed but,  Not sure if its something I could live with long term. I'm probably going to have to save a little more $$$ to get as good or better than what I have now, and can play better in my new larger room. 

Tom- I went through the same decision process recently in your price range (and demo'd most of the speakers mentioned) and just ordered Gibbon Xs. In contrast to others, I much preferred the X to the O96s and Devore definitely makes different sounding lines so personal taste is very much in play. I value sound stage, dynamics, and tone and the Devore hits those criteria right on the button.

On the more resolution-oriented side, I was tempted by YG Haileys but cost just got out of reach for me. They also aren't tube friendly although your large BATs may stand a better chance. fwiw, I had a Carmel 2 in-home demo.

I've been enjoying a pair of Focal Sopra No2's now for about six months.

I enjoy all sorts of styles of music, except rap and country.

I find they are a very "musical" speaker, not what one salesman would call "analytic".
keithr,
please describe the Carmel 2s sound
ricred1- very resolved, transparent speaker. certainly not a warm speaker, but not cool either which is usually how I've found, say Magico. Vocals could be bedazzling at times as emotion really came through with utmost resolve. On the negative side, I felt they lacked dynamics and the top end doesn't balance as well as the bigger YGs that have a third woofer. the Carmel 2 is a beautiful speaker and looks great in the flesh, but at 25k I found myself requiring a full range speaker...now if you're room is small, then the Carmel would be a natural fit. But for my taste, YG's Haileys are the best "value" in the line.

If you have the space, order up some Klipsch Jubilees and you'll never have the desire to buy new speakers again.  Be forewarned, each one is about the size of a large refridgerator.
I agree with KeithR's comments about the Devore X. Great speakers.
I would seriously consider Wilson.  They have several options in your price range.  Sophia 3 and Sasha 1 are in the 10-15k range.  I am using an ARC VT100 mkII to drive my Sophia 2's
Whoops, I wasn't done writing yet!

as my Arc 100 watts is doing well with Sophia 2, your BAT 150 watts will excel with Sophia 3.  They may be fine for Sasha 1 as well...
Well we've been out every weekend listening and have come to the conclusion, we will save/add a little more cash to our budget and either get a nice used pair of Anat III signatures or see if YG will build an active pair of Haileys. Either way, going to stay in the YG family. My amps should be fine with the top half of either speaker. Thanks for all the recommendations everyone!
tom_hankins,

I've been trying to upgrade my Aerial 7Ts. 16K sounds like a lot of money, but I had to spend a little more money also. I love YG Sonjas, but they are out of my price range. I ended up with Monitor Audio PL500s and I'm very happy.
Tom,

  Look to C. Parras Anat III Sigs.  I also have a local pair of Magico S5s very close to your range.
Hi Mike, Those Anats are on my list. Hoping to find a dealer pr. that I can do a trade in with my speakers and avoid going through the hassle of selling mine online. 
Understood,

Perhaps we can work something out.  Give me a call tomorrow after 10:30 Am.

Mike
Of course for that price, you could also get a custom built set of Salk SoundScape 8's or 10's in just about any veneer you can dream of. You won't find a better sounding speaker under $25k. 

You need to consider the:

Vapor Audio Perfect Storm: One for Sale on Audiogon right now. Retails at

$48,990.00 Being offered on here for $20,000.00 Little over your budget but you can go and listen to them at Vapor Audio. They are brand new, it was used at the Audio Show event and won best of show awards.

Someone suggested Salk Sound scape 8 which are good but not better than the perfect storm White accuton versions. Drivers on the Vapor audio Perfect Storm are more expensive, cabinetry is more complex and this is a full range speaker. 4 Way using largest Raal Ribbons available. It is a 15inch Audio Technology driver so no need for a Subwoofer either. These are a class above.


Full Range, 8 ohms, 94db. Easy to drive with any amplifiers.



Specification


Drivers Used

RAAL 140-15D Amorphous Core Tweeter
8.5″ Accuton custom Vapor Audio exclusive lower midrange
2" Accuton Cell C51 upper midrange
15+″ Sandwich Cone Audio Technology 15F woofer


Cabinet Tuning 10:1 Tapering Transmission Line, slot ported, 20hz tune

Freq Response 16 – 38,500hz +/-3db, 24 – 26,000 hz +/- 1.5db

Nominal Impedance 8 ohms

Sensitivity 94 db


Recommended Power

8-500 watts via Tube Amp
15-500 watts via Solid State Amp


Weight and Dimensions

370 Pounds (260 lb bass section, 110 lb top section)
64″ Height x 32″ Deep x 20″ Max Width

Crossover Details

Asymmetric slopes with crossover points of 300hz, 1000hz, and 2300hz



Pictures are on Audiogon buy and Sell Area:

https://www.audiogon.com/listings/full-range-vapor-audio-perfect-storm-white-accuton-midrange-raal-r...

Vapor Audio took over 14 months to build this speaker. then it took over 2 months to fully optimize the crossover. Loaded with top of the line capacitors and Veristar Internal Cabling.


This pair is less than half the price and available for immediate delivery. its a true bargain.


Now you wouldn't happen to be selling those speakers, by any chance?
I am indeed. It was going to be installed in a room i had plans to setup. Things did not go as plan and priority over my house issues changed i have a baby on the way. We planning to sell the house and move out to a smaller home something thats easier for my wife to maintain and start with interior design.

Im also selling my Atma-Sphere MA2 Amp which is brand new, My Theatre speakers are nearly all sold, just got the remaning Quested LT10s i need to put up for sale and some Solid state amps that go with it. Cables are all up for sale and so is my DAC. ATX Linera power supply just got sold over at the audioshark forum and i have some Sub woofers i need to post online.

You can read about Vapor audio over at audiocircle and the show events they held with this very speaker. The Drivers and cabinet alone is well over 10,000 alone. Capacitors are all high end exotic and the internal cabling is veristar. 
Im simply recommending them as its close to the OP budget and are being sold at rock bottom price. 
JBL M2, it's a complete system.