Why do you want the "most popular" brands?
You may do better asking about the "best sounding speakers" for the types of music you listen to.
Also, the amplifiers you drive them with make a big difference with regards to overall power and how the amps can handle certain speaker impedance curves.
For the most effective help from this forum, I suggest you provide the types of music you listen to, your typical listening volume, and the amplifiers you plan to use to drive the speakers.
You can also add other considerations such as desired frequency response (bass), monitor vs. floorstander, appearance considerations, room considerations that affect the sound of your system and whether you plan to listen in the nearfield or further away.
After providing that information, I suspect the folks on this forum will have some great recommendations for you.
Mitch has made some key points. It really depends on what electronics you have or plan to use. Synergy with all these things is key to a good sounding system. A lot of very sensitive speakers will require very quiet electronics.While lower sensitive speakers require a lot more power to drive them.There are many things to consider when buying new speakers. Some Speakers do not work well with Tube power. Some speakers want lots of solid state power. Can you give us a little detail about your system?
Yeah, I know. That's not the kind of help I want.
I want to know what are some very popular speaker brands these days, minus the usual B&W, etc.
I know how to make all those decisions based on whether I am listening in my hallway closet to the Count's last live recording when as only two people know, one track on the tape machine was missing 14khz to 15.2khz highs because of an intermittent capacitor, on Tuesday nights when the moon is half full in winter, on my radio shack 3400 CD player with the $20,000 Uber Mod, using my super 40 tube TriQuadAmp with one 6550 substituted in with some ingenious wiring for a burned out EL34 and 40-braid copper-brass-silver-gold-milkjug homebrew interconects, .....OR..... if I'm listening to Stavorskie's 13th washtup symphony in D sharp modulating to H diminished using my RCA receiver with my lampcord painted with a green magic marker.
I'm not looking for good speakers to match my need. I'll worry about that if I succeed in reducing the number of interesting speakers to look at to a few. BUT, just to show I'm willing to go along with protocol, RM-9, CJ PV-5, Creek CD-43 Mk II, mainstream jazz 90%, Pink Floyd 10%. Problem is my beloved ProAc One SCs that work so well in my 10x11 study are probably not going to cut it in my new home's 14x18 living w/ 14 foot ceiling joining to 12x9 kitchen w 12 foot ceiling (all one room). I don't know if one or two subs will be enough to make the One SC work in that space.
So, if I were to consider new speakers, what? I know B&W, Magnepan sound well, but want to open my horizons. What about Zu Audio? B-stocks sell like hotcakes on Ebay, but are they decent? What is hot and new and great?
Thanks, sorry for being long winded, when my first question was so beautifully succinct.
Actually a couple other considerations in response to Mitch's good post.
(old) bachelor = no appearance considerations.
One long wall is glass to 6 ft high, with unobstructed view overlooking the city and mountain range on other side of it. I want the speaker's backs toward the glass. Normally only furniture: I sit in my recliner centered and facing them and view, one couch to my right along short wall with a coffee table in front of it. No other furniture except as brought in from storage room for quests/parties. Southwest home so plaster walls. Natural maple floors. So will be big empty live bright room. That will need work. Where to put the gear rack?
This house doesn't exist, but I am in a state of hope and incredulity that in six months it will. Pieces are falling into place.
For once, I have absolutely no idea what to say.
What, Zd542 says nothing!, come on, chime in, ok, I will!, you likly will need to spend real moneey on the likes of some JBL DD-Everest 67000 speakers for a new house and big room such as the one you are planning to have!
Do you mean best selling among tube or SS listeners? 5
brands, to keep it simple, that I have owned are Reynaud,
Zu, Devore, Cerwin Vega, and Verity. I still have the Verity
and the Cerwin Vega.
I found the Cerwin Vega VS-120 at the swap shop at my local
dump. What a find! I powered them with an extra Nakamichi
TA-4A 100 WPC receiver for a while but came across a Sansui
331 receiver at the same swap shop. The Man upstairs was
really shining down on me that day! Hopefully someday he'll
bless me with a McIntosh MC-240.
The main source for my vintage dump system is a Marantz
Model 6100 with original cartridge! I wrestled it out of
some little kids arms, and it has brought the system to a
whole new level. I got the tear stains off with butcher
My other system is a mix of Luxman, Verity, Ayre, Rel, with
a good bit of Nordost cables. I love the Verity line but
they aren't popular or best selling IMO. Wilson, I can't
stand, are very strong selling speakers. B&W is very
popular but I'm not a fan. Zu neither. Magnepans are
interesting, but I'd rather have a friend own them so I
could go listen sometimes.
I've never heard Proac but I think I'd like them. They are
kind of popular in certain circles. I miss the Reynaud's
sometimes. Glorious and seductive but not popular. Good
luck, it seems you have your work cut out for you.
Tyler - all models - call Ty Ladbrook and he'll advise you.
I've had D1s and D10s - they are great speakers and will fill your room and efficient enough for your amp.
Focal,makes some affordable models now. Ive heard great things about the Martin Logan Vantage.Dynaudio is a favorite of mine. Totem Acoustics. Kef.Klipsch...the list goes on
Brands I like: Thiel, Dynaudio, Totem, Aerial, Nola. And what about a bigger ProAc?
Evolution Acoustics, Vapor Audio, Selah, Linn, Clearwave and Salk. I have listened to all of them and I like something from all of them. I am an owner of one.
Speaker backs towards glass wall means look for something* downward ported.
*as opposed to someone downward ported, although as a bachelor maybe you're not especially choosey in that regard...
Tom...which one stayed with you. Don't know why, but did not like the Linns. Vapor was taking off when I stopped paying attention, and Salk was well established in front but never had heard any. The others are new to me, thanks.
Bjesian, tubes definitely. Sounds like a killer system you fortuned into. Have not been able to hear Focals or Tylers or Totems or Aerials. Have not heard of Nolas.
It's clearly going to take a week long trip up the west coast to hear most of these. My idea of a vacation.
Thanks all for the suggestions. Most names I'm familiar with.
Tom, down ported so the bass wave doesn't rattle the windows? Probably a good idea, I'm using 3 6-foot sliding glass doors as the wall facing the view.
Bjesien, why not the Zu? Just asking because of all the B-stock deals on Ebay, and they are loverly....
Never heard a full range. Not a B&W fan either.
I know where there is a MINT pair of ProAc 2.5s. The guy who sold me my mint OneSCs. All Yew. He will be my first phone call when I'm ready. He may want to trade back, but otherwise he won't let go of his 2.5s. D40R is amazing but too rich for me.
River251, many like Harbeth sound, not so many the price.
I love my Harbeth C7es3's. The new 30.1 is pricey but I've heard them and they do sound excellent IMO.
Golden Ear Triton 2s, Gallo Classico CL-4, Gallo Reference 3.5 (on sale now for $3599/pr. an incredible value!), Tekton Design Pendragons, PSB Image T6 (front ported) or Synchrony One (rear ported).
Those are among the most popular speakers nowadays. And speaker technology has come a long way in the past 3-4 years. I suspect you'd be happy with many of these...
River251, absolutely loved your paragraph with the crazy descriptions, a very good laugh to start the day.
No doubt you should get a long list of recommendations, especially asking for 5 from each one that participates. That really wasnt necessary. You do realize that if you put 10 audiophiles in a room to solve a problem, they will emerge with at least 11 different solutions.
About 15 years ago, from personal experience and working in the industry, I decided that I prefer the sound of 2-way speakers over 3-way, 4-way, etc. Have used various ones, and currently alternate between 2 models of JM Reynaud. Then about 5 years ago, a good friend got a pair of Zu Audio. Initial impression was very good, but not great. After many, many hours of break-in and some tweaking with system synergy, they began to sound great. Now 5 other mutual friends have Zu Audio speakers, and my next pair of speakers will be something from Zu. IMHO, they do everything well, and have a very lifelike character. No doubt the high sensitivity will be an advantage in your large room, and they work extremely well with tubes.
I owned the Zu's for 6 months and we just stopped listening to
music. Rare in our household. Not sure why. Had them with
a Luxman class A amp and a Mastersound 300 BPSE.
They are popular so you should probably give them a try. You
can always sell them but resale value is poor. I got hooked
in the marketing and wanted to love them but it didn't happen.
Too bad. Sort of a Bose experience, but better.
To keep it fair the two models I owned are no longer for sale by Zu. They must have recognized the error and pulled them. I bought one pair at a higher price and the other cheap. Lost lots of money on both sales.
Good frat house speakers.
@River251: I own the Evolution Acoustics MMMicroOnes and the KEF Reference Anniversary LS50s. In the past I have had Dynaudio, Vienna Acoustics, TAD, Volent and Sonus Faber.
The Linn I was referring to is Linn Audio of New Hampshire, not the UK Linn.
Thanks Tom and thanks everyone, too many promising speakers to comment on all, lots of names I have wanted to check out.
Tom yes it was UK Linn I listened to; nice system technology, but the sound was a bit sterile I felt.
I will simply have to take a trip next summer as I said up the coast. I wonder how the east coast would be? West is good, San Diego, and cities all the way up to San Francisco. And you can sleep on the beach.
I can take the One SCs with me to have a consistent benchmark.
I have been thinking though that the One SCs might be OK with a sub. 14x18 is not that huge. I don't use a sub in my study 11x12 or so and it's fine. The ceiling will be high at 14 though.