They have more soul than the Snells. But, really, since they are a current model, why don't you go and listen to them.
Kals right.But if you can't get to them check prices and I think you'll see if you made a istake then you will find you can sel;l for what you paid for them.I love 'em.Make sure ytou don't match them with 15 year old that ius wrn out (heat and time kills-dried out capacitors etc) so match them with good el;ectronics.If you can swing it a pair of 100 poluis tubes in amp will take away clinical sound bete r yet maybe more VTL makes hgher powered amps that especially used don't cost arm and a leg.Solid state Plinius-nmot cheap but tube lowers solid state amp.Depending on size of room a $3500 used BAT with tubes and solid state amp would be grewat (not overly tubeyand less upkeepo every 2-3K jours withoutputs depend on 10K with ones in line section.Plus adding New Old Stock tubes could be lot's of fun.Brsyton is buidget king with 4B ST-just got a set for freinds maggies for less than $1500 and have near 300wats though rated at 250-.Just don't get amp that's hard an clinical.Krell is out.New Class D amps to neutral (some amps are ruthlessly revealing and you want more fogiving amp)Get them and experiment and if not your cup of tea planty more to try but at same time you mighht give up great speakers at goo d price.
I heard the Studios a while ago, and they made me sit down and listen rather than just acknowledging that they were on. The sounded much better than I expected them to especially with the electronics being used.
Listen, if you can, but the price is fair and resale should not be an issue. I'm envious.
I have owned the Studios for a few years now, and I am very happy with them.
Are they the best I have heard?
Nope, that honor falls to the Avalon Eidolons, at twice the price though. My friend uses these, and I have heard them on numerous occasions, therefore, I will make my comparisons to that speaker, since his is the system whose sound I am chasing. At some point in the distant future, I would like to upgrade to the Eidolons (or the Vision, or whatever version they are currently on at that point.) I do not like the Avalon Opus as much, in fact, I prefer the Studio, even though they cost roughly the same. The Opus's downward firing woofer never did sound "right" to me. The Studios come pretty close to the Eidolons, but the differences are one of refinement, IMHO.)
Will they serve you well in your climb up the audio ladder?
I think so, as they have served me well up to this point.
I don't think I would use the term harsh or clinical for these speakers. I think if you feed them a harsh or clinical signal, they will certainly output it in that way, since they are a pretty neutral speaker. I went from the Mark Levinson No. 23 to the Lamm M2.1s, and they went from a good speaker to a very good speaker.
They are not a warm speaker like the Sonus Faber, they are rather neutral, much like the Eidolons.
They image and soundstage very well. (Not quite in the Eidolon catagory, but pretty close.)
They have good treble and mid-range response. (Again, almost in the Eidolon catagory. I think the Eidolons are slightly more refined than the Studios in these areas.)
They have very good bass response. (Here they actually beat the Eidolons, albeit only slightly.)
They seem to be a best bang for the buck type of speaker, IMHO.
I will make a couple of points though.
One, they like a fair amount of power. (I recommend no less than 150 wpc, and 200 wpc if you can, as this really brings them to life. I tried them with 100 wpc, and while it worked, you could sense that they were constrained by the lack of power.)
Two, and this is my opinion, (although I "think" most Studio owners would agree based on my research) , they like to be bi-wired. (I have had good luck using the Audience AU 24 speaker cables, which is not a really expensive cable.)
Three, your listening position needs to be pulled into the room by a couple of feet, or else the bass response will suffer. (Most if not all full range speakers require this, but having upgraded from the Martin Logan Sequel IIs to the Studios really brought this home to me!) If you leave your listening position against the wall, the bass response is "smeared", which is the best definition I can give you on the sound.
Well, I hope this helps. The Studio IMHO is a very good speaker that you can grow with. I have upgraded most of the rest of my components, and the Studios still remain. At some point, I do hope to grow beyond it, but that day has not come yet.
Good Luck in your search!