I wouldn't rule out a sub. They usually can be placed somewhere that is wife acceptable and will fill in the bottom end.
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I've owned both the ARROS and FORESTs simulaneously in prior systems, so I
have some hands-on experience with both their strengths and their warts.
ARRO speaker positioning. If you move them out from the back wall , their ethereal "presence" and especially the limited-in-any case low-mid range to low end bass response falls off dramatically, to the point of extreme frustration. With a 4 inch mid-bass driver, you cannot defy physics. The differences are not subtle.
ARRO peak performance quotient: they are not as power hungry as the FORESTs but still demand high-current quality build electronics upstream for peak performance.
As highlighted already, a quality build subwoofer will help out but if and on,y if .... a quality build audiophile grade sub. And please, no cheap wooly chuffing bass boxes that comprise the big chunk of the AV arena. The problem is that that type of sub will cost you as much or more than the ARROS themselves unless find a helluva deal used.
ARROs cable sensitivities: I experimented with a myriad of speaker cable contenders and pretenders . They are fussy speakers - the winners were the Totem Tress and Chord Odyssey or Rumour. The Tress is a knockoff of the CHORD .... Silver plated braided copper. Quality build ICs are another must have . I never found any cheap choices that worked - full stop.
ARRO mass loading - simply put .... Don't do it. Waste of time and the resulting sonic signature I found was a step down and that step down was not subtle.
IMO, experiment further first with the status quo and smaller $$-conscious changes, but IMO you will likely be either dumping the speaker or the upstream gear - your post indicates some serious absence of system synergy so far. Speaker Repositioning may ameliorate some of your frustrations and it's a $$-saving first step in eliminating the unknowns.
So reading your post I'm coming away with the feeling that you're saying that I could likely find some improvement with positioning the Arro and try some different speaker cables. (Currently running Kimber Kable 4PR).
I hadn't looked at subs but would probably go with something like the Totem Storm or Revel 10" but as I said, I doubt that.
The most interesting comment you made was how my " post indicates some serious absence of system synergy so far". That is exactly why I'm here. So I'd appreciate it if you would elaborate on that. Is it my current system or the post asking about such different speakers, or myriad options. Maybe it's the idea of pairing some of the speakers with my existing amp. It's probably that I don't really know what I'm doing - which as I said - is why I'm here.
Here is the evolution of the current system and the future plan.
I had a Creek 4330 integrated with JM Lab Micron carats. One of the carats died so I went with the Arros as a similar replacement. Then the volume pot on the Creek went so I decided on the lower end PrimaLuna.
I've now got some money to spend on upgrading the system, and will have more to spend in about a year. My thought was to put the money first into the speakers as that's where I expected to see the most improvement - then look at upgrading the amp or CD player next year.
Thanks for your help.
IMO .... Consider new speakers as a better match to the gear upstream
my first round of contenders .... REGA RS5 or R5 , or even to the "7.s" if space and budget permits. A whole lot less fussy about cables, speaker positioning, great tight bass, industry leading mid-range performance ( they design AND make there own drivers in the UK instead of plunking chi-fi drivers in a box like most others) and IMHO theyvare a whole step up from the ARROS or STAFFs blah blah.
highly recommended .
The brand new RX speaker series I have not heard, they were revised as one of the hits of the Bristol show, but they are a LOT more money .... Stick with the R or RS legacy series.
the Totems are a tough speaker to tweak to max performance . Up here in Canada they represent about the highest volume of brand turnover on the used market as people get fatigued with them . They can sound nice but the upstream gear synergy is a critical step.
if you are married to the Totems then I would suggest SIMAUDIO, AYRE or PLINIUS as best if breed . Totems own AMBER integrated amp (discontinued) was a joint venture with SIMAUDIO based on the SIM platform. The first three are frequently paired with Totems at the AUDIO paloozas
I sold my ARROS and FORESTS and never looked back.
here us a wild card speaker choice with any existing tube gear: a French speaker line that are very efficient and with tube equipment thet blow away the majority of contenders and pretenders . They have many models.
JMR ....Jean Marie Reynaud
Google Amherst Audio in Massaxhusetts and Google the reviews
they are not well known in the US yet but they are top-shelf kit in the Euro Zone. I heard them with Audiomat gear .... In a word .... "Yup!..."
Thanks, that's interesting. I was leaning toward improving my amp - thinking that I'll get the most out of the existing Arro speakers and have more choice of speakers in the future; be that keeping the Arro with the addition of a sub, or new speakers altogether.
Right now I have about $5-6k to spend. I expect to have another $6k or so in about 8 months.
So if I go speakers now - you mentioned the Rega's, freediver the Sonus Fabers; how do I go about evaluating other speakers as well? It's got to be more than look for an 8 Ohm impedance? How do I find candidates other than by price before auditioning.
I'm not discounting your suggestion on the speaker and not the amp (especially since you owned the ARRO and FOREST - properly mated I'm sure) but is there a good integrated or comibination within budget? Same question on evaluation of the amp - how do I know for the speakers or pair it.
For example, for less than $6k I can get a new Cary CAD 300 SEI integrated.
Right at $6k I could go with a Mystere CA21 + Cary CAD-120S MKII (open box).
The Cary integrated has 15W output, the CA-21 and CAD-120S MKII both have great reviews and is a hell of a lot more powerful.
So how do I evaluate amps to drive the Arros if I decided to go that route.
Search the forums for "Arro".Scroll for the many "which amp for"posts I sure are here.The problem I see is placement.Most of the great speakers need a bit of room to breath so the soundstage can develop.I would also search "close to wall"in the speaker forum & see what comes up.With your budget I would at least retube the small signal tubes & shoot the rest on speakers that would support an amp upgrade at a latter date.
With that amp probably.It depends on how stable the impedance is & if it has big swings through the freq.spectrum.Anything with over about a 40degree swing I would shy away from.Take for instance the Toy Towers.Rated 8 ohms dip to mid 4’s in the upper bass BUT only swings 35 degrees so it’s a gentle curve,no problem.
Totems and JMRs are completely diverse in their make-up.
The core problem for you is to avoid buying blind again and nobly relying on the recommendations of a third party, without actually auditioning the speaker / upstream kit set-up.
My two-bits worth:
dont gamble .... Full stop.
Drag your amp to a formal speaker audition either at a dealer or at a friend's , if you cannot borrow a weekend loaner in-house (preferred)
if if you are going to roll the dice with no prior audition, that's über risky . You can mitigate that risk -- to a degree-- by first inquiring what your electronics are frequently married up to at either the dealer and/or the audio paloozas. The quality audio mags reviews may be a decent first step to weeding out the herd down to a manageable lot.
In my experience, a quality British or Euro build speaker will likely have the ethereal sonic signature you may be seeking. Try to define what that is first, if Possible.
if you try to list what "you want" , that's hard.
But if formally list what you DON'T want , then I'm guessing that the points are helluva easier to identify as you compare your wish list to others experiences and search for""that" sonic signature. ( you know that they vary )
Then as you lazily contemplate the lint in your navel as you scour the reviews (What Hi-Fi has a decent online , UHF Magazine also...)
yiu make your notes.
An easy weekend sojourn: go personally audition the REGAs just as a first benchmark. I'm predicting that you may like what you hear .... and they have many dealers that make it comparatively easy to find a convenient local dealer.
Then scour Pinkfish media/ audio forum for a UK forum point of view of experiences and user posts. Canuckaudiomart is another source.
Now you will have a base to compare to the next brand and model on your list of contenders and pretenders
Its a journey ...not a destination.
I won't be going blind - no way. My mistake last time was in not looking at the difference of the two PL amps - - I thought that I was auditioning essentially the same set-up; albeit not at my home.
I also made the mistake of putting too much faith in my local high end audio guy - in business for years and years, selling some very expensive equipment -- and restricting my choice to him and his brands.
I talked to him about not liking the Arros the other day and he suggested maybe the Revel F206. Looking at their curve, I'd be unhappy again. Arrgh.
OP:How in the *^*K can a so called Authorized Dealer not know his own product?That’s a BIG RED FLAG to me.Here’s an idea.Take back BOTH the amp & speakers & get the upgraded amp with those funds!PS:I’m curious how did the Arro’s sound when you demo’d them & what amp was used?Also the Treo’s are a textbook example of easy to drive!They could be more sensitive though.Have a look at Living Voice, Reference 3A speakers & Omega speakers.
Not a bad idea.
The Arro's sounded pretty darn good at his place. He used a PrimaLuna Integrated - the Dialog, I think.
That's what pisses me off the most - that he should have realized he was giving me a bad match. I bought most everything from him.
The dealer I worked with sells Vandersteen but I spoke with a different dealer to see about auditioning them. I'll look into the others you mentioned. Many speakers I've looked at aren't that easy to pair on the charts. So far I have the Vandersteen 3a Sig, Acoustic Zen Adagio and the Paradigm S6 on the list for further consideration.
Thanks for your help freediver.
(BTW I take it you freedive. I scuba and I always love it when a friend taps my shoulder with no gear. Those long fins are so graceful too!)
Yea the Dialog would have no trouble with the Arro’s.If you could trade up to that amp you would NEVER need another & speaker choices would be wide open INCLUDING Magnapans!The Paradigms require a well treated room to shine.Never heard the Acoustic Zen but ALL my cables are by them!I am actually a Retired U.S.Army Deep Sea Diver.Born & raised in Central Fl.I’ve been breath hold diving since I was 3 years old!52 + years however has taken it’s toll on my back so SCUBA is out & I don’t care for surface supplied any more so FreeDiving it is.I try to stay above 60’ unless I’m chasing BIG fish.Be sure to keep us updated,nothing worse than OP’s leaving us wondering how everything turned out.Good luck...
freediver: Very cool. And deep diving "back in the day" (I'm 53) was even more dangerous than now. Thanks much for your service.
" Yea the Dialog would have no trouble with the Arro’s.If you could trade up to that amp you would NEVER need another & speaker choices would be wide open "
That's why I was thinking of upgrading the amp first - although I hadn't decided on a new PL vs other. I think that I'll talk to him about that and ask to borrow his Dialogue to audition it at home with my speakers.
On the bright side, then I'll know for sure if I can live with the ARROs for a while, at least.
If I go with the PL Dialogue, I can cancel a phono preamp I have on order from him and get the phono board in the Dialogue HP, which saves a few bucks and probably sounds better.
One way or another I do want to upgrade. Still, I sent an email to PL asking about my problem with the classic and these speakers.
I asked them to comment on the speaker nominal impedance and phase angle as well as whether there was something I could do with this amp to better match it to the speakers.
I've not heard back from PL yet.
I've decided that new speakers is the path to go. I'll experiment with some tubes but I need to learn a lot more there first.
Speaker list so far is
Acoustic Zen Adagio - ($3,870): good on price, hard to find where I listen to these; waiting on reply to email
Vandersteen Sig 3A ($4,775) or Treo ($6,900) or used Quatro ($4,995): 3A is likely not good near wall, the adjustment option is more band aid than anything to my mind.
Reference 3A Taskim ($6,990)
Rega RX5 ($2,995) or RS7 ($3,195)
Waiting to hear from JMR on their ABSCISSA ($5,500 ) and the Offrande Supreme V2’s ($7,500)
All are supposed to be easy to drive. The Acoustic Zen, Rega, Treo and Quatro are good for near wall as far as I know. The Sig 3A is rear firing sub but adjustable. That seems like a band-aid not a design solution so that may be out.
Reference 3A ( a demo issue (no local listening). They have a home audition option that if I keep them saves some, but loses the return freight if I don't. They're getting back to me on the near wall part.
JMR, Reference 3A and Acoustic Zen all have the dealer/hard to audition problem.
I plan on visiting John Rutan at Audio Connection to hear the Vandersteen and Rega.
Any thoughts to add to the above are welcome.
I measured the speaker placement and it is 30" front face to rear wall. So far from reading reviews, as well as the manuals for various speakers, the Vandersteen Quatro is ok there, but but I'm a few inches too close per Reference 3A literature.
The literature from some companies is quite thin.
I have some Quatro questions I'll put into another thread.
So the Quatro may be a bit of a bust due to my having an integrated and their needing an HP filter between the pre and power amp. However there is a solution that I'll talk with Richard about on Saturday.
I can only audition Acoustic Zen in NYC. The price I put up earlier is wrong, they're now $4,500 list. I can get a better deal direct, I don't know if it will be enough to get a better amp though. Either way, Robert said that the PL classic amp will drive them fine on the 4 Ohm tap. Still I'm under no disillusion that a better, stronger amp will help any speaker perform better.
Ha ha ha.
Surprisingly JMR hasn’t responded to my email. I could drive to Boston and visit my brother in law.
Here is my current thought - I would LOVE some input as it’s a complete rethinking.
Given the fact that my amp is low power, but I like the way it sounds, I was looking at some speakers in the $5k-$6k area. All the while I’m looking at speakers and finding more limited choices and wondering if my amp will drive the speakers, or drive them at volume. In short I kept feeling amp envy, but I figured to press on, and I'm still not giving up on my amp. I kept hearing good things about the Vandersteen 2 model as a mate for the amp.
Then I started thinking that the Signature 2Ce is available for as low as $1,895 used or, the 2Ce II for $2,560 new.
A new Ayre P-5e pre-amp is $3,500 and I can get a used Ayre V-3 amp for $1,300.
Given my budget this looks like it could be a real winner based on what I’m finding for Ayre/Vandersteen pairing and figuring on a modest trade for the PL and Arro.
Mark these words.You WILL regret moving from tubes to SS!It’s a damn shame you can’t sit down & listen to my simple little rig.The Yaqin MS-30 compares VERY well to your amp(I run strictly in Triode Mode 25wpc.)driving the Sonus Faber Toy Towers(you can get around $1250.00)in my treated room.These speakers are one of audio’s hidden gems.They really are the real deal but since they never got any press they hide in the shadows.Yes I still want to try a low powered Single Ended Class A with them so the amp is up for sale but that’s the nature of this hobby.Could I live happily ever after with the Yaqin Tube Integrated.If it doesn’t sell I’m going to change out the Chinese EL34’s for a set of Gold Lion KT77 Re Issues(Cryo treated & Platinum Matched) & I’ll let you know.
Ayre / Vandersteen is a great combination - my 3A Sigs are matched with an Ayre AX-5 Twenty. The dealer loaned me an AX-7e integrated amp while my amp was being updated and I thought it sounded wonderful - powerful enough for movies and refined enough for music. Hopefully you'll be able to audition them together before you make any decisions.
Beware - long post.
I first listened to the 2's and a pair of quatro ct through an Aesthetix Atlas and unknown preamp. Wow - the speakers are capable of some amazing sound reproduction; at least to my 54 year old ears.
After getting an idea of differences in the two speakers and what they were capable of, I listened to them both again, but through a Rotel 1570 integrated. An inexpensive SS amp. It sounded pretty good on both again - nowhere near the Atlas of course, but pretty decent sound. it seemed like the 1570 and 2's were a winning combination within the budget. But do I really need the amp? And I like the sound of this amp. Isn't it a speaker problem was the unasked question still in my mind. I hooked up the PL Classic amp. It also sounded pretty nice.... until input level got pretty high, then, to me it was clear, the Rotel sounded better.
I'm no audio expert, but after going through it all it seems like it was two different things causing me issues; one limitation - the speaker - you can only get so much bass from a 4.5" woofer. And two - the amp - it isn't so much that the PL couldn't drive the Totems', it was that the Pl can't pass the signal without compressing it at some points, and that's what I was hearing. Is that the same thing - i don't think so. One is power, the other is bandwidth. So even with the "easier to drive" Vandersteens, the PL just didn't keep up when it needed to pass a lot of information. I'm not sure if I'm right or wrong - but that's how I understand it.
All in all John Rutan at Audio Connection in Verona, NJ spent about 4 hours with me, and sent me home with the amp and a pair of used Vendersteen 2's without bases, both for immediate enjoyment, and to make sure my wife was able to make the adjustment from the small presence of the Totem Arro to the much larger Vandersteens in her living room. Convincing her to remove furnishings to put in big, black boxes wasn't easy, but I was convinced she would feel so much better when she heard the new sound that she'd look past the redecoration. So I set the speakers on the floor in an approximate position, figureing I would work detailed placement out later, and ran the cable. She picked Lenny Kravitz, so I loaded the CD, and hit play, waiting to see her reaction. Then all we hear is terrible sound. If terrible is an exaggeration it isn't a big one. I mean, something was wrong, really wrong. WTF happened I thought? Did I mis-wire something? Nope. Is something wrong with the speakers? Maybe - they're a used pair I had not heard. Do I have a difficult room? Maybe, but could it be that bad? My ignorance was obvious and I needed to get John involved.
So Monday morning I called John from my office. After making sure I had not messed up polarity, he asked me about tilting the speakers and position. Tilting - nope, they're on the floor. Position - could it make as big a difference as I was hearing? I wouldn't think so, but I don't know. That's why I'm calling.
I guess I sounded so, because John seemed really concerned that I was freaked. He seemed more worried about it than I was - and he probably was - because I knew he would take care of it, and that in the end it would work out. He had a demo that morning and said he'd drive the half hour or so to my house later in the afternoon.
He arrived a little before me. When I walked in the back door, just a scant 10 minutes later, I knew we were a lot closer to where we were before. He simply tilted and repositioned the speakers, moving them closer to the side walls. I was amazed that so little did so much. We listened to some different tracks and also swapped between my listening to the Rotel passing analog and digital output from my Rega Apollo R.
The digital gives a bit more resolution and finer detail. The real surprise for me, was the difference in sibilance that was there with Kimber Kables, and not there with some solid core Audio Quest cables John brought along.
Then we set about doing a roughly measured, but accurately leveled and pointed placement of the speakers. It sounds really good right now. I'm so grateful to John, who turned out to be exactly the kind of audio resource the world needs more of - an helpful guy, passionate about sound, and honest enough to work a plan UNDER budget, knowing he'll have a dedicated customer over the long haul. I know I sound like a shill, but he deserves the praise.
Now, I'm looking forward to the new Signature series speakers, and the amp breaking in. There is also a bit of boomy bass in one small band, but I'm sure John will correct that when he installs the pair I bought.
Next is to figure out what Audio Quest cables I should consider - ones that will go with something like the Aesthetix Atlas, or perhaps some Quicksilver Monoblocks that will keep freediver happy.
Thanks for everyone's help so far.
Johnny, will get you the right cables for the right budget. The AQ cables just work as they are very neutral. The DBS units are great to use. Heck if you can fit it in, a double run of the Rocket 88's would be killer and you'd really get it to open up and sing. That bass problem may be a room problem if it's in the 50-60 Hz region. Could possibly be your walls or ceiling vibrating. John will know and help you out. Thanks for sharing that story. That' what he does nd why I am passionate about working with him and referring folks. I'll never be embarrassed if I refer someone as I know they'll be taken care of and I'll never heard, 'he tried to get me to spend more'. He's just one of us.
I did a back to back with my amp and ended up with a new Rotel 1570 integrated to pair with new 2CE Signature II speakers.
John loaned me some older, used V-2s to use before mine came in. I just set up the new speakers today and I’m thrilled. They sound better than the loaners - even before breaking in.
It could be that I’ve got "buyer’s ears", but either way, I’m really pleased.
PS I couldn’t say enough positive things about John and Audio Connection. Phenomenal customer service.
Yeah, John's so different from the guy I was dealing with in Summit.
The main difference - John wants to educate, inform and help someone without knowledge so they can make their own decision that is best for them. The guys in Summit, I feel, took advantage of my ignorance (and good nature), by "giving advice" that was, ultimately, in their own best interest. In the end I felt like Flipper in Animal House. I fucked up - I listened to them.
1.) Got me in UNDER budget
2.) Loaned me used Vandy-2s
3.) Travelled 1/2 hour each way to my house to properly set up the loaners, after I didn't do it correctly (no tilt) and had lousy sound.
4.) Loaned me some type-4 bi-wires to compare to my Kimber 8PR wires
5.) Didn't push me towards double bi-wire instead of the single when I ordered it. I later changed to true doubles on my own volition. He had no complaint about the post-order change, but said, and I quote "I'm thrilled you're doing this, it will make a big difference, but I didn't want to push you to spend the extra money."
6.) Has followed up by phone a couple of times to make sure all is good
Is he doing all of this knowing a satisfied customer may buy more in the future? To some extent I would have to think so. But I believe he really is a nice guy, and wouldn't take advantage of anyone.
That's fantastic customer service by Audio Connection and very glad to hear you're happy with your new system! Until of course that nagging feeling sets in that things could be better if I just had, new speaker cables? A tube amp that has more power? Don't worry neurosis will set in soon enough! ;) Until then have fun and happy listening!