Try to get in as much audition time with the Avalon as you can before buying then decide. Try to audition with the rest of the gear you will be starting with in the same system. Do not discount value of minor tweaks like ICs, clean power, etc. as needed to fine tune the sound.
I went around and around with speakers that I thought covered all the sonic bases. Unfortunately, my inexperience was my enemy.
Long ago someone with far more experience suggested that I try Avalon Eidolons. I listened to them at shows and long sessions at brick and mortar stores. Regardless, they seemed sleepy sounding leaving me unimpressed.
After yet another failure on my part a pair of used Eidolons became available at a price that would make resale easy. In just a few moments of listening to them at home their superiority became glaringly obvious to me and everyone in my family. They are not sleepy at all.
It turns out that all the sonic cues I was listening for in those other speakers were weaknesses. What did I know?
After living with the Avalons the only other speaker that I've heard that sounds correct to me is the Vandersteen 5s and 7s. But then again my experience is very limited and I have never heard the Indra's.
I'm somewhat out of sync with the popular trends in high-end systems; in fact I don't care much for the image conjured by the term "audiophile".
To the point, I find many of the speakers that are popular with the audiophile crowd to be subtle caricatures of accuracy, presenting what one might term a "Kodachrome" version of a recording. There's an extra emphasis that one doesn't experience with acoustic instruments and voice heard live and unamplified.
You may be thinking of the first two speakers as more "musical" simply because they are doing a better job at practical realism.
Just as looking through a magnifying glass can certainly show you details that you wouldn't otherwise notice on a painting (and that may be important for an art curator), that isn't necessarily the best way to enjoy the painting for what it is.
So, as others have also suggested, get as much listening time in as possible before you buy. This will let some of the initial "wow" factor subside. Looking through a magnifying glass can certainly be interesting, but isn't necessarily the way you want to walk around day after day.
Doomed, you are. A terminal 'want better' has now befallen you and no speaker, at any price, will do. Sad. Enjoy the music.
The Indra should not be used with tubes, unlike the Eidelon. Its my opinion that you can get better sound with tubes, so I see this as a weakness in the Indra and also the Isis.
But if you are using transistors maybe you will like this speaker just fine.
Which speaker presents the best illusion of real acoustic instuments and voice? Pick that one. In the long run, it will be the most satisfying. You will not really miss hearing the tiny ping from the rear of the stage that some speakers might highlight.
I have two differnt setups (speakers, amps, room treatment) in my main system for summer or winter. Each has strengths and weaknesses. However, there is one I like the best overall.
Even though more choices might seem a recipe for madness, I think you have yet to here what you seem to desire. Therefore I say keep "looking."
If you want speakers with great dynamic range, low noise floor with very quiet
cabinets, apparently linear performance, and yet with a somewhat romantic,
voluptuous presentation, you need to include Sonus Faber in your search. Their
level of detail in proper musical perspective is absolutely captivating. And yet
they sound good on a very wide variety of material. It doesn't hurt that they're
drop-dead gorgeous as well.
Any of their floorstanding offerings with the staved cabinets (Cremona M on up)
will give you this and they definitely have such products in your price range.
I went down the path of wanting rich warm 'musical' speakers rather than revealing transparent detailed type. In the end it always feel like something is lacking, but on the positive side, they will tolerate a wide range of recordings without fatigue. I found I was listening at higher volume to inject life into the music. I have changed my strategy 180 degrees. Now I want detail, transparency, dynamics and soundstage and find it adds excitement and ultimately emotional content to music, even at low volume. That sometimes comes at the price of fatigue in a small fraction of my recordings, but there is no way I could go back. Many speakers I hear lately sound pleasant but slightly lifeless.
If you go with the Indra, consider matching a good SS amp with a quality tubed preamp (i.e. BAT, CJ, ARC, Joule, etc). Some of these offer more flexibility for tube rolling and sound customization. Also consider Jade Audio cables, which have both a very musical yet transparent presentation. It is possible to have both.
I'd checkout and listen to more speakers, it's clear your not happy with what you've heard.
In the finish only you can decide what is right for you, but there are some general guidelines which can sometimes help.
1. Make sure the loudspeaker is the right size for your room.
2. Match the loudspeaker to your electronics.
3. Select based on your preference of musical presentation.
Once the above is considered, in my experience the surest sign that a loudspeaker will provide long term satisfaction is if during audition you find yourself enjoying the music so much that you are not thinking about loudspeakers at all.
"the surest sign that a loudspeaker will provide long term satisfaction is if during audition you find yourself enjoying the music so much that you are not thinking about loudspeakers at all"
^^ true that.
I stopped doing any serious auditions upon hearing the Classic Audio Loudspeaker T-3. Easy to drive, full range, detail of ESLs, what's not to like? Plus 60 watts is enough to shake my whole house.
I'm not so sure its a true dilemma. Modern sound does not necessarily forgo musical bliss.
There is good modern sound and bad modern sound just like there is good and bad vintage sound.
So you can have your cake and eat it too but you gotta do the homework first.
Mlsstl I realy liked your description, sounds like the right way to analyze a system's sound signature.
I might have been a bit unclear, but I would easily live and highly enjoy any of my final contenders, so no need for further listening - believe me that the audition list was very long...
Thanks Johnnyb53, I've heard the SF Amati Futura, Elipsa and a Stradivari - and none of them impressed me enough to go to the next round.