$1k speakers / Audio Refinement Complete

Help! I live in remote North Idaho and am hours from even a Circuit City! I've purchased an Audio Refinement Complete integrated and need speakers new or used. From Bach to Coltrane to Aretha to Emmylou, I love music. Cerebral cello, sizzling jazz cymbal, funk bass, Strad, flat pickin', Pavarotti, and Sarah Vaughn-I love it all. I can spend up to $1k on speakers-no more. I would be deeply indebted for any expert advice, especially regarding what I might find used online. Thanks in advance.
> About the only definitive recommendations I'll venture > are that the ARC does indeed roll the top octave 1 dB > @10k, 3dB @ 20k, so a "dark" monitor may not be > synergistic I don't agree with this and never have. I do not feel the ARC rolls the top end at all in my view. I firmly believe that the ARC's top end is so well behaved, linear and natural that most people can't sense this because they are so used to electronics that are less accurate on top. Sorry, just my opinion.
Idaho, you didn't mention your ROOM! I too tried, and loved, the smooth sound of the ARC, but decided to spend way more on PASS Aleph separates. If I was setting up a second system there's no question I'd select the ARC as a musical, yet forgiving integrated. That part's easy! Recommending an appropriate two-way for you is an entirely riskier matter, however, as the COMBINED spectral tilt of any speaker IN YOUR ROOM cannot be predicted out of context. Sure, you can glean a consensus from the posts as to some favorite monitors, but each one will have been voiced slightly differently ON AXIS, and will exhibit even greater variability OFF-AXIS! If your setup allows you to sit in the nearfield then your risks may be less...especially if you keep the speakers away from sidewalls. But in my experience it has been critical to balance a two-way monitor's off-axis roll-off carefully with your room's sidewall reflections. Many decent monitors are available in your price range, but I'm not sure that you should greatly short-circuit the effort required to demo your picks in your room before purchase. My comments apply predominantly to timbral (voicing) characteristics in the midrange and treble (the speaker's characteristic signature). Then there's another perhaps equally-important issue re bass response and room-matching...! So do yourself a favor (pay the UPS both ways if you have to!), and audition several candidates before you buy. About the only definitive recommendations I'll venture are that the ARC does indeed roll the top octave 1 dB @10k, 3dB @ 20k, so a "dark" monitor may not be synergistic; it's power supply does limit bass slam, so I wouldn't pick speakers with sensitivity below 88-89dB/w, or with impedence mins in the bass below 3-4 ohms, if possible, unless you don't play them loudly. Good luck. Ernie
Warren, one can live a long, long time like that! It is also nice to be awed and humbled by nature in its' splendid "sunday clothes." Enjoy, and let us know how everything "settles in." Good luck to you, Charlie Brunswick, Georgia
I have used Kestrels for the past two years with my complete. It is definately the way to go.
Charlie As I write there are elk grazing yards from me in the meadow, snow on the peaks. Not so painful! Seriously, I appreciate the quality feedback. Besides the ARC, the most frequently lauded component in my price range seems to be the Meadowlark Kestrels. At present, I have an offer on a pair of "Hot Rods." While the "listen before you buy" advice is sensible to say the least, it would be a 1000 miles on the odometer to audition just a few of the recos I've received. So, I depend on the honest feedback of y'all. I don't think I'll be disappointed. warren bonners ferry, idaho
Idaho, I feel your [isolated] pain. (In the spirit of this political season.) I am, like you, watching these threads, looking for patterns of popularity for certain components, especially from those more mature posters on AudiogoN. The ARC is almost universally acclaimed in its price range. You might want to add one speaker in your price range for consideration, which is also very popular here, the Coincident monitor. Maybe someone has paired them with the ARC? Good luck, and let us know what happens. Charlie
Although, it isn't "ethical" to recommend the components, that i own, i would like to mention the ACI (Audio concepts) Sapphire III! I wrote the "review" on ACI Sapphire II and it is posted on the Audiogons "Misc.audio"! Also you can check the Audioreview.com under the "Hall of fame"!
Idaho: There is a review of the Audio Refinement Integrated amp at soundstage.com. Click on "equipment reviews" at the top of the page and then click on "archives". The review recommends speakers as well, some of which are mentioned in this thread. It sounds like an interesting amplifier, both musical and reasonably priced.
The maggies are a good idea. Also Apogee Centaur Minors ($500-700 used)are awesome! Ribbon speakers bring audio to a new level.
I aggree on the Meadowlark Krestal. Great speaker for the money. Also B&W 805(used) or Green Mountain .5 Cont...(used) would be good monitors to check out. Used you can find Hales Rev2 in your price range also. Would recomend you listen to all these with at least a similar equipment setup before you buy. Good luck......LR
Figuy, let me know what your thoughts are on the Reynaud Twin Mk.II. I've been considering them for a second system.
Wow! I appreciate the great and learned feedback...Please keep it coming. I've tried to learn some things via rec.audio.opinions, but it more resembles a psychiatric ward run by the patients than a forum. Thanks for going out of your way to help a stranger!
I was using a pair of B&W CDM1's with my Audio Refinement integrated and CD player and I found the B&W's to be a good match, but I don't feel the CDM1's were doing the Audio Refinement gear its due justice. I disagree with the poster above who said the Audio Refinement Complete should not be paired with a speaker that uses a soft/silk dome tweeter. That's too broad of a statement, there are far too many factors in a system, not to mention taste, that can dictate the synergy between components like that. I moved away from the CDM1's because they aren't as smooth and musical through the treble as other speakers. Pairing the Audio Refinement with something like the Meadowlark Kestrals, the Vienna Acoustics Haydn's or Reynaud speakers would be ideal in my view. I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of a pair of JM Reynaud Twin MK II's, a $745 monitor speaker, today and could let you know how they mate with the Audio Refinement gear if you email me. www.jm-reynaud.com
The NHT 2.5i - nice looking and good sounding.
I am going to try the Audio Refinement with the Magnepan MMG's this very afternoon. If the Complete can handle the MMG's power requirements, I am expecting a nice match. The MMG's are not harsh in the upper frequencies, but they are bright in my room. The Complete might just do the trick. I will post my findngs on this thread and the one I started--"Integrated for MMG's"
I'm using an Audio Refinement integrated with B&W CDM2 SE speakers in my office system, great match for a reasonable price.
Perhaps too numerous to count. I would lean towards buying used - should be able to buy in great shape at 50-70% of list. For around 1000, with some patience, you could/should find Vandersteen 2C, Maggie 1.6 (not sure the amp can handle these), ProAc Studio 125/150 or Response 1, and many others. If you can go a little higher, there is a pair of Soliloquoy 5.3 on this site now for 1300. Happy hunting.
The Vienna Acoustics haydn would be a good match for $995.00
I have an ARC with a pair of Aegis 1 and I'm not very happy. If you like your music very laidback I guess it would be good, but I prefer forward and detailed. When I had the Aegius hooked to an Acurus rl-11 and A80 they sounded very good indeed, but the ARC is just a bad mix. I don't think the speakers or the amp are in themselves the problem. I think it's the combination. Silk dome tweeter and 'tube' like SS are a bad mix(at least in this price range). I decided to go with a Sim I-5080(I guess I love the Aegis too much to sell), but if I were to keep the ARC I'd prob go with B&W CDM1 SE(good price now that matirx series is out), Triangle Zephir(#1 choice for $1000), NHT 2.5i($800 on ebay new) or any other good quality speaker with a metal tweeter. The ARC is just too laidback, although very smooth and grain free, for speakers that attempt the same. Just MHO.
There is a place in Arizona called Speaker Ect. they sell YBA and audio refinment, Pass Labs. They also make there own speakers. And let me tell you they are just awesome. There all hand made. I would call them for a bourcher, there number is 602-272-6696. Ask for Bill (actually there is only 2 of them)so I guess the other would be ok. This place is not a big fancy place it's just 2 guys that know High End. It's easy the say that there Hand MadeSpeaker they sell at $1100 would be a $3000.00 dollar speaker if it went through all the Distribution Channels. They only reason I say that is I was just took a friend over to listen to some high end equipment. And we listen to PASS, YBA, with all kinds of speaker, but magic happened when he played the Audio Refinement on a pair of there hand made Speakers. For the price it easily equaled stuff twice as much. Regards, I hope it helps
Hi. Boy, thats a tough question! Do you want floorstanders, or a monitor on stands? I have had some experience buying speakers with out hearing them first, it can lead to frustration. There is nothing like kearing a set of speakers in your own system, working in the acoustics of your own listening area. I had owned the Audio Refinement Complete a few years ago, its a great piece, smooth, extended, with excellent bass, but it can run out of steam if not mated with an appropriate load, or speaker. When I had the Complete, I used the B&W 804, 803, and a Monitor Audio PCM 702, which was a great match, but needed speaker stands. Another excellent monitor is the Acoustic Energy Aegis One, which I have in a second system, but again, you will need stands. Its really a tough question, probably why you may not get too many responses, one could really go on and on. But, the Complete is smooth, so a speaker that leans a bit towards brightness would be ok, probably. The Acoustic Energy Aegis series is really great, and they have a couple floorstanders for under a grand, and they have great bass! I do not think you could go wrong with the Aegis series, and oh, B&W has incorporated some of thier Nautilus technology into thier less expensive designs. Finally, you could go to www.audioreview.com and check out the speaker reviews. Once again, you should really listen first to a speaker system in your own system. I hope it works out. Regards, Bill M.
Try a pair of Meadowlark Kestrels. I have used this combination and it sounds great. The Kestrels are very refined in sound on both extremes. When needed to get down in bass, they will. They are suprising for such small footprint. Good luck