You'll get a lot of good advice, and at $600 there's a great selection to pick from. Many will suggest the Magneplanars or Thiels, both worthy contenders and certainly worth considering if they meet your "good looks" criteria. If you'd prefer a smaller and more traditional enclosure, I would suggest you get a very good monitor with somewhat limited bottom end and add a subwoofer when economics allow. Allow at least $200 (shipped) for good used speaker stands. Should you choose to go this route I would include the Totem, ProAc, and B&W speakers on your short list. Regardless of the style of speaker bear in mind the lower the sensitivity specification of the speaker the more difficult it is to drive, limiting how loud you can listen to "Dazed and Confused". Specific models can be selected by browsing the used ads here on the 'Gon. At the main page, very top, type in Totem (e.g.)and up pops all the available Totem speakers for sale here on the 'Gon. You have the makings of an enjoyable system, best of luck. Jeff
For B&W a pair of the original CDM-1 bookshelf speakers. They are actually the best CDM-1 version for music because of the first order crossover not found on later versions. Also the P5 floorstander.
You might get lucky and find a used pair of NHT 2.5i's, I've seen them used for 700 or so. They're very slender, and fairly tall.
They will also play pretty deep (more so than most low-mid price subs), a must for Zeppelin! They sound great with rock music in gerneral, I have a pair in the bedroom.
Not the best for hard rock, but for the more acoustic and vocal side (Bonnie Raitt, some Dead & Clapton, etc.) you'd be hard pressed to go wrong with Vandersteen 2ci or ce, of which you should find plenty here and on ebay at your price point. They will always sound good as/if you upgrade to better electronics. They are tall and reasonably slender (about 48" x 16"). They go reasonably low and would mate fine with a Vandy sub if you wanted more extension.
There is never a need to appologize to anyone for the equipment that you have or what you like. The bottom line is that you are the one listening and enjoying your system, so make yourself happy. If this gear does the trick for you, so be it.
Having said that, i would make ONE suggestion. Try playing with the active / passive switch on your preamp when you have it all set up. While the passive mode will always produce a LOT less volume, it should typically sound smoother with a lot less grain and glare. Very suitable for mellower music or vocal work. Going to active for hard rock can add more drive with a lot more "bite" for electric guitar.
As to suitable speakers, you might want to look for some Polk's. These are respectable speakers that would be quite suitable for your needs. They will typically play reasonably loud, have decent bottom end, not make your ears bleed with hard / splashy treble, achieve reasonable levels of detail, imaging, soundstage, etc... if properly positioned. There are several "tower" designs for sale here on Audiogon, so you can do a search and see what comes up.
The Vandy's that Swampwalker mentioned are also nice speakers. As he mentioned, they are not really made for "jammin" at roof raising levels, but will work quite well below that point. Sean
Second the Vandersteen suggestion. Some of the other speakers mentioned above are very revealing, and might sound a bit bright on your system. The V's have a warmer tonal balance that would work well with your system. Best of luck and happy new year!
dont be dismissive about your set up. ive had a 4.6 for years and it is a solid performer. proac tablettes would be my suggestion. when you get some more dough add a sub upgrade your front end and you will be listening happily for years.
At the risk of being redundant, I am also going to suggest a used pair of Vandersteen 2Ce's. I'll crawl out on a limb here and say that for around $750, I don't think you can do better than a pair of used Vandy 2Ce's, particularly given your apparent listening tastes. The Vandy 2Ce is an excellent, full-range speaker that does a fine job of reproducing virtually all kinds of music. (As an further comment, I think you would be best served buying the 2Ce model, rather than the older 2Ci. The 2Ce had some improvements over the 2Ci, and the small additional price you will pay is well worth it.) At some later time, you can also send the 2Ce's to the Vandersteen factory and have them upgraded to the "Signature" version, thereby improving their performance for a small additional cost. If you are not familiar with Vandersteen speakers, I suggest that you go the Vandy web site and read about their design and why they represent such high value. One of Richard Vandersteen's primary objectives has always been to offer high performance for the price. For more details, go to the web site at: www.vandersteen.com
Best regards, and good listening during 2002!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!! I would look for a clean pair of dahlquist dq20 speakers.these are outstanding speakers.I still own a mint pair which are not for sale.I have also lived with vandersteen 3a sig. and alons.I am currently using von schweikert vr6'but still will not part with my DQ20'S. They can be found for your price and well worth the wait. regards,RICH
I upgraded from a pair of Vandersteen 1B's (left them with my roommate in Seattle when I moved) to B&W CDM1nt's...With the CDM's you are going to need a sub (more$)...so yet again, Even as a proud B&W owner, I am going to have to cast yet another vote for the 2Ce's.
I have an Adcom 535II that I've been using to drive Vandersteen 2CEs and PSB Silver Minis (but not simultaneously). Both speakers sound very well on my 535II. Without trying to start an argument with anyone, the 2CEs get the nod acoustically but they're not as "slender" as the minis. Also, they have to be placed further away from the back wall than the minis before they really reach their potential.
There is a pair of Meadowlark Audio Kestrals that just came available here on Audiogon. The asking price is $695. I think you would be happy with these, no need for sub.
I have to agree with all of those who have suggested the Vandersteen 2CE. They are priced well because the only 2C that is made at this point is the 2CE Signature. The original 2CE is a easy speaker to love. Your gear will sound just fine with the speaker. They are very easy to drive. They are full range so that your music will sound rather full bodied. They are not the most revealing speaker and that works well with many of the bright rock recordings that you and I listen to. A great value.
Another advantage is that if you choose to upgrade later you can either sell them at close to what you paid for them, upgrade them to 2CE signatures at a reasonable rate, or add a Vandersteen 2W subwoofer at a great price readily available on the used market. I think that if you can find a recent pair with stands at the $750 level you will have done well. Good Luck.
You do not need a sub with the CDM-1 (or any speakers), just decent stands and the right cables. Although a sub is usually better (with all speakers). The CDM-1NT are fine, just not as musical as the original. The CDM-1SE ranks third. They are good for HT, music is OK.
Used Vandersteen 1's would be a great choice. I have been a long time owner of the 2C (both 2c and 2ce) but would not recommend them unless you are willing to spend some money down the road to drive them appropriately. The Model 1's are a much easier speaker to drive. As an alternative, I would suggest B&W DM602 S2, which you could get new for $600. You would have to add stands for about $60 or so. The B&W's will not go as deep as the Vandy's but they have a nice midrange and they look a little better.
Sean's first paragraph is right, and you've got higher fidelity equipment than alot stuff out there. There's definately better, but I feel you could have paid alot more money for alot worse sound. I'm a bit jaded, but I don't even look at 90% of what's out there anymore, at leat not frequently. You can get very good fidelity with your gear. In the end it all matters, DAC, pre, amp-everything, but in the end the speakers still get the vote as the most important player. You could buy used and probably find a good deal. If I was in your shoes thoughI'd take the DIY route. www.murphyblaster.com has a very nice two way (the MB1) that can be built for $350 in parts. Its using a www.gr-research.com mid/bass driver with the Hiquphon OW1 tweeter (don't know thier url, got to zalytron.com). With the money left over you can even get a nice diy sub and have very good sound. Its got a ruler flat frequency response and that tweeter will be fleshing out more detail than anything used in that price range. The only real downside to diy is you may not have resale value, but you can always move them to the bedroom or for surrounds depending on the future. The Hiquphon tweeter it uses is very nice, and a bargain for its price. And you'll walk away with the most rigid well-braced, non resonant cabinets around if you want'em to be.
As far as used, I've never like NHT, heard the biggest, owned the Superzero. Their a step up from some stuff but not that great. If I recall they pay less than $20, more like $14, for the tweeters in their $4,300 flagship. I've always though B&W sucked. Of course I didn't start hearing them much 'til after I owned my L/1's. The 805 is still overpriced on the used market and while the 801 may have been good in its day, it is getting old. Haven't heard Vandersteen, and they're probably better than alot of stuff, but it does come down to parts cost that do limit just how good things are. Half of a speakers MSRP is dealer profit (+/-10%), and another chunk is the manufacturer making their profit and paying the cabinet maker etc. Over on one diy forum one guy took apart a Monitor Audio center that cost $950 new, and its got 20g speaker wire, not MDF but not Particle board cabinets either, little bracing, two mid/bass driver that were using cheap plastic frames and less the perfect coil windings. PSB made some nice stuff. I don't know about the new image series. And vandersteen is worth a listen. Generally though, a well-designed bookshelf will give more bang for the buck in your price range. But Dennis Murphy's site is nice with alot of good info, as is zalytron.com. They've got alot of drivers. The Birotechnology.com site has lots of nice articles too. Check out both options. But I would avoid anything with a metal coned driver. I know Theil is using them on everything now and I'm a bit disappointed. I owned their little CS.5, but there are far better speakers than it for the same money, which is about the only one of thier models in your price range, maybe the 1.5. (but I believe those are vifa tweeters in both models, which aren't bad, but most of thier models are not Scan-speak, Hiquphon, Accuton, caliber) My/the Biro L/1's would kill it, and most other things at several multiples the price. VMPS has some nice subs for cheap and you can dig around on DIY audio for some nice subwoofer projects, they're pretty easy.
OK Mctuff, you owe me for this one; I got ya all fixed up. For your sub try this Transmission line diy'er:
FREQUENCY RESPONSE (4 pi measurement): 10 Hz to 240 Hz +/- .8 dB
EFFICIENCY: l watt R.M.S. = 95 dB SPL
64 watts R.M.S. = 113 dB SPL
MAXIMUM SOUND PRESSURE LEVEL: 113 dB SPL @ 1 meter on axis
$300 +wood and labor at http://www.hogheaven.com/diyaudio/subwoofers/PATL/patl.html
I knew you needed a new coffee table, build some nice minimonitors and your set. Seriously though, I think 10hz is a stretch, but its still probably respectable peformance. Those TL's, if I recall, extend the low frequency resonance of the driver another half octave...down. Just shovel the extra $50 bucks from your cable fund, you'll never miss it.
2nd the Kestal floorstanders and look at Epos M12 standmounts.