GamuT L7s if you can find a pair; they were recently discontinued in favor of the "S" series. Similar but much more expensive. Great sound at all volumes to my ears. I have the L5s, the 7s would be too large for my room. They were around $17000 but have been showing up on Audiogon for $7K to $8K. The best looking speaker I have ever had with the best build quality.
I am surprised that you mentioned enjoying the KEF 104 and have not looked at their modern version the 207.2.
I have these speakers and when properly setup are about as good a speaker that you can purchase.
The KEF's have an absolutely stunning mid-range, fast and well defined deep bass, the speakers are remarkably transparent, the sound-stage is incredibly wide the speakers totally disappear. The Kef's have outstanding resolution an can play very loudly as well.
Personally I would take these speakers over the Sasha, the Magico, and the Sonus Fabers. The Ushers are very good they are not quite as coherent as the Kef's nor will play as loudly. If you are in my area I would love to have you over for a listen!
DeVore Fidelity Reference Silverback or Verity Leonore. Both are excellent albeit quite different in their musical presentation.
Look for JM Labs (Focal) Nova Utopia, about $20k.
Vandersteen 5A would be on my list.
Are you talking about the Kef104 or the 207.2 ?
Thanks for the responses.
Thanks for your suggesting Kef. I forgot to mention them. I owned a pair of Kef 107 too for about and decade. But they lacked terribly at low volume in comparison the the 104s they replaced. ironically the 104s couldn't play loud enough when I wanted. However, the 107s had a fantastic midrange.
I never heard the 207 and frankly I thought about them as well. How do they perform at low volume?
Thanks for your kind invitation, but no trip planned so far.
My Kef 207/2's are my destination speakers (after Dynaudio, Meadowlark, Genesis, and a few others), and they are very musical across the full range, and do indeed sound excellent at low levels. Also they have a very large "sweet spot" and sound good in a larger area than some more directional speakers. My room is 18x28 and they fill it easily with music which is clean, accurate, and very well balanced from bottom to top. I drive them with a Dartzeel integrated which has 250wpc at 8ohms, and that is plenty of power. Good luck!
What I point out to people is that Kef has spent an incredible amount of time and money to develop the technology of the their speakers. The Uni Q is in its 10th generation.
My point it with the .2 versions Kef has made one of the most perfect coincidental loudspeakers, a true point source. The lack of smearing, and heroic cabinet build: birch cabinet, extensively braced with the midrange/tweeter housed in an truly inert aluminium enclosure, means that this speaker has great low level resolution, I loved the old Kef models in their day, but for many people Kef's designs were eclipsed by other companies.
Kef recognized their market slip and has been on a mission to reinvent their image and products, I started looking into Kef after Stereophile's review of the 207.2.
Canton Reference 3.2. $16k new.
Silverline La Folia II. $15k new.
Without knowing what amp he is using, how can anyone make a knowledgeable recommendation? Then there is the question of placing a $20k speaker in an untreated room. Why recommend wide dispersion speakers? Is it possible that a $10k speaker would perform just as well under the circumstances? I have to really question the quality of the answers you've received so far.
Thanks for posting.
Right now I have an Icepower type amplifier (500w x channel @ 8ohms) and capable of driving my Vienna Mahlers quite well.
Your observation on speakers costs and speakers environment in interesting to me. It has been the major reason why I am thorn on the choices. I know that a wonderful speaker can sound bad in my circumstances. Large living room but L shaped, and the left speaker will be set near corner 3 to 4 feet from walls, while the right speaker sits in the open. With the mahlers I use a couple of JL f113 crossed at 60hz because the mahler's left speaker produces a huge bump down under.
When I had the kef 104aB I could place them anywhere and always loved the sound. Perhaps because they had no ports? For that reason I started looking for sealed speakers and it turned out be quite difficult in these days. To make my journey more challenging the speakers must be beautiful to look at, not just good sounding.
A friend of mine from Italy heard the opera Tebaldi and tells me are wonderful. But all those drives can they be an advantage in my room? These speakers have no port, only passive radiators like my beloved 104ab...
I would suggest doing some research on the Avalon line of speakers (Ascendant, Indra). They don't seem to be too fussy on amplification (tube or solid state). As with all speakers getting the proper placement is important as well as some type of acoustic treatment that has a high WAF (for example the treatments from GIK acoustics).
If you like the looks of the Thiel 3.7 (some do, some don't), they're quite a bargain and do well at low volume. Are Quads a possibility? Because when it comes to low-volume excellence, very little can touch Quads.
Okay, I'll give it another go:
Baam23f, if you find the speakers in your area that I listed and are able to audition them with your system to see if they are a good match, you might want to consider them.
I wouldn't mind auditioning La Folia at all if i can i will. The mahlers I have now are beautiful and I don't want to downgrade in that department. So, i find the Cantons not appealing to me. Obviously aesthetic matters are purely subjective.
look at the revel ultima salons - they are considered reference speakers, and they will fill your room with exceptional sound.
i have the salon II, having replaced the salon I , because i liked the ones so much.
Do the Salon ii play well at low volume?
Stanwal, thanks for suggesting the GamuT speakers. I have never seen them before. They do indeed look beautiful and if they sound good too I wouldn't mind them at all.
Too bad the S7 is out of my budget
Wilson Sophia 3s.
Easy to drive, and comes with professional installation.
At that price range, the top of the list for me would be the Magnepan MG 20.1 and Martin Logan CLX. You have the power to push them, and there are few speakers in the world that can match them. Might want to give them a listen. Just my $.02
It's good to know your thoughts regarding asthetics. My speakers are Silverline Boleros in an exotic finish and I really like the visual statement they make as well as how they sound.
Both the Cantons and the Silverlines I mentioned are nearer to your $15k price point. Before learning more about your taste I was going to suggest auditioning some Anthony Gallo Reference 5 speakers. They are around $20k I think. I've never heard them, but I have heard the Reference 3 series and really liked them. The Reference 5's have the same tweeter and midrange drivers as the 3's, but a bunch more of them.
Regarding Silverline speakers, my listening experience is limited to the SR15, SR17, SR17.5 and the Bolero. Alan Yun - the guy behind Silverline - seems to use high quality drivers and operates them within an optimal performance range. The speakers of his that I have heard all use Dynaudio drivers but I would only imagine that he would have designed the La Folia II consistent with what seems to be his philosophy.
One of the guys that comes into the shop here is an audio reviewer - Alan links to some of his reviews on the Silverline website - and he kept the review sample of the first generation La Folia. He uses 350wpc Pass Labs amps, but I don't recall the exact model.
Another speaker in your price range that comes to mind would be the Dynaudio Sapphire. I think it was $16.5k. There's a shop about 90-minutes from here where I heard them and they sounded really nice. They also had either a Wilson Sophia or Sasha on display along with a Maxx 2. They may still have that Sapphire - I was in the shop in May 2010. If you are intersted please send me an email.
Through corresponding with another Audiogon member I recently learned of Living Voice speakers. Just to have a look at some nice craftsmanship and woodwork, check out their Vox Olympian.
In my experience, Dynaudio will not give you the performance at low volume that you seek. Not bad, but not great.
There is a pair of Verity Audio Sarastro listed for 20K used. I own the Parsifal Encores and they are phenomenal. (they replaced my Revel Studio). If the Sarastros are more of the same I believe they would be in a different leaugue than most of the other speakers that have been mentioned.
Well, I am reading/looking about the so many great suggestions I am getting from this post. for that i thank you one more time.
Still, I found another speaker that aesthetically is not my type, but certainly from what I read it is quite interesting, it reminds me one of my first speakers I was looking into (Opera Tebaldi), which is the Genesis G5.3 with its dipolar configuration.
I cant find much of user's opinion about these. Anyone here ever heard them?
I read their web site pages but i cant find any statement whether it is a sealed or ported design, i must have missed it.
Genesis G5.3 .......... run Forrest, run ..... :)
Acoustic Zen Crescendos, haven't heard anything better in their price range yet.
I had the Genesis 5.3's before the Kef 207/2's: the Kefs are much better, in my opinion.
In this price range, I believe the Legacy Whisper XD deserve consideration as well.
If you have a chance check out the top end PMC models... The offer astonishing dynamic range at low levels, a trait that is inherent with Transmission line loudspeakers.
Yes, I work for PMC. I'm merely offering up a recommendation.
Actually that is a fairly large room, so you may want to make sure that you have amp that can maintain low level body and dynamics....
Of speakers I have heard (in order of my preference) are below. All are detailed at low volume with the award going to Thiel for low volume detail.
Thiel 3.7 (detailed, integrated and accurate, but not for everyone, if you need to shake the room with bass look into other brands. The bass is pretty deep and detailed though but I doubt it will be enough for your large room)
B&W 802Diamond (BIG step up from the 802D, spectacular highs and punchy fast bass, yep fast punchy bass from B&W. Mids seem a little odd but who is to say what is right? The mids are pretty focused and lack some soundstage width but are very detail. They are also much more forward than the 802D.)
Wilson Audio Sophia 3 (good all around and my 3rd choice. Mids are warm wide and nice. Highs fall really short of the quality B&W's new diamonds bring, Bass is strong but lack detail below 50hz IMO). They sit a little to far on the musical side of the fence for me, or beauty as Dave Wilson would put it.
Of speakers I have only heard is passing or have not heard.
Revel Salon 2 (seemed great and I need a real demo, the clean bass caught my ear)
Kef 207/2 (I really want to hear these)
Wilson Sasha (sounded a lot like the Sophia 3 but with more bass, again very wide and open mids, pretty pricy...)
Martin logan CLX (all the detail you will ever need. Very nice in every way but miss the bottom end. Just does not go low enough for $20,000+ and needs a pair of subs.
I have experiences with Amati Anniversario and Usher BE-20, they are very different.
Both have excellent top end, they are both sweet, extended, and quick. Midrange is where they are most different, Usher is sharper, more define, leading edge attack is more defined, but decay is faster. Amati is sweeter in midrange, has longer decay, not quite as detail, but fuller and more body.
Usher will require more current to control the bass, but if you have the amplification to drive the Usher they do reward you with plenty of bass weight with definition. Amati bass quantity will be less, but should be sufficient for most though you do have a very large room.
Some wonderful suggestions thus far. I acquired a pair of Dali MegaLine III, pre-owned, in your preferred price range and am absolutely delighted!
They require 4 channels of amplification :-)
I am partial to high efficiency speakers, so I would sell your amplification and buy either A Coincident Technology Frankenstein or Coincident Technology Dragon amplifier.
For speakers I would look to see if there are any Coincident Pure Reference speakers available (MSRP $24,000). The Coincident Total Victory IV are also excellent, as are the Vaughn Cabernet's at $8,500 delivered. The Devore Silverback's are also excellent at around $16,000.
Eggleston Works Andra II, full range, midrange to die for, dynaudio esotar tweeter and a world class enclosure.
I forgot to mention the Legacy Whisper XD's. They arean excellent full range speaker.
In the $20K price range, although a little pricier at $24K, the Coincident Technology Pure Reference are outstanding. They might well be the best speakers south of $50K.
I just got delivery of my Legacy Whisper XD last week. My budget was less than 25K; the speakers I auditioned are
Egg Works Andra III
SF Elipsa/Cremona M
Kef (top of the line reference model??)
Amplification is Ayon Triton, Room is 23Lx14W. No acoustic treatment.
I couldn't be happier with my choice!
Oooh, that's a good choice. They're sensitive and the OP has a big room to fill.
Here's another possibility, and I've heard this setup:
A pair of Magnepan 20.1's plus a pair of JL subwoofers.
The JLs are extremely fast and musical and can keep up with panel speakers. These Maggies have a lot of radiating area and can move a lot of air. The subs provide bass to 20Hz or lower and extend the dynamic range at both ends of the spectrum. This is about the most listenable, musically satisfying speaker setup I've heard. Great imaging and soundstage, great cohesiveness. No boxiness, no bass resonant hump, no screechy highs, no overly forward midrange. Nothing syrupy or slow, no exaggerated zing of a fast but underdamped setup.
I think the Amatis would be great, if you're going to buy used. If you're looking for new speakers with a warranty, the Elipsas are on sale now for $15,800 in the US.
Crossover networks degrades the music! Crossoverless speakers sound much more musical! That's why I only listen to my BOSE 901 series 6 version 2's now!
The offer astonishing dynamic range at low levels, a trait that is inherent with Transmission line loudspeakers.
Can you explain why TL designs are so effective at lower levels?
What happens at higher levels - does the TL design compress dynamics?
Level8skier: I'm looking for some feedback on the Elipsa. Near impossible to listen to speakers in this price range these days. Any experience with them?
I've heard the Elipsa speakers at several different shows, and they always sound great no matter the electronics. Very involving, a slightly "warmer" presentation than the Dynaudio speakers I have always owned (C1s currently).
I've been told that the Elipsa speakers are easy to integrate into problematic rooms because of the wide baffle, whereas the Amati can be more difficult to integrate because of its bass (analogous to the Dyn C1s vs. C4s, which require a large room, as JA noted in his Stereophile review).
I understand that the Amati, which I have not heard, is quite a step up in performance, but it's also $30,000, or twice the cost with the current sale price of the Elipsa. Also, there is now an Amati Futura, which I will hear at SSI in Montreal in two weeks -- a completely new design derived from the Fenice (called TSF now).
I've read that the Amati Anniversario is not being discontinued, but find that hard to believe, given the current plethora of models currently listed for sale here.
If it were me, I would try to listen to both Amati and Elipsa as you could probably place either in your large room. If you like the Amati, maybe you can get a dealer demo for close to the price of a new Elipsa. For that much money, it's definitely worth getting to a dealer to listen. Or going to a show. SF will be demonstrating the Amati Futura and the Stradivarius at the Montreal show.
Going to a dealer and listen.....therein lies the problem. I live in Atlanta, you would think that a city of more than 5 million would have more than 2 decent dealers, but that's what we have to work with when it comes to expensive loudspeakers. One carries Vandersteen and Thiel, so that's not a problem, and another I'm familiar with carries Verity Audio. But when it comes to Sonus Faber and especially Avalon Acoustics, doesn't look like I have much of a choice. I'm going to AXPONA, but neither manufacturer is on the exhibitor list. I REALLY want to listen to a pair of Avalon Indras or Eidolon Visions, but hell, Avalon won't call me back to give me the name of the nearest dealer, I've contacted them 3, yes 3 times to no avail. This is really getting frustrating.