About to buy Aerial 9s, BUT want to ask first...

Hi folks, I have auditioned the Aerial 9s and the newer 7t. Although they are quite different, I LOVE both of them. I am leaning to the 9, largely because they can easily be found used at my target price of around $5k. I have three other speakers on my short list: Revel Ultima Studios, Dali Helicon 800MKII, and Coincident Total Victory II. QUESTION: Can I just go ahead and pull the trigger and buy the Aerial 9s? Or do I really need to listen to Dali and Revel first? Note that I am in Boise and would have to fly somewhere to listen to Revel and Dali. (I heard the Aerial's in Portland, Oregon)
I do realize the final preference will be a matter of my own taste... and to be honest I am just trying to justify a quikc buy. You guys need to slap my hand and tell me to listen to the others first if that is what you think. BTW, smallish room with tube amps (from flea power SET to 100WPC el-34). Almost exclusively spin vinyl. Please do not suggest the Revel Salon or the Aerial 20T or other speakers in the $8K plus range used. I am not going to spend that much this year.
I have had Aerial 9's over 6 years. NOTHING else has been consistent in my system over that time period. They are not perfect, but they can be made to sound nearly so at the price point, and with good strong amplification. One issue you have is your power. The Aerials like a lot of good solid power. I have tried 100-200wpc SS amps, which did not fully flesh them out (either the Herron M1s or Clayton M200s). They sound great with the McCormack DNA500, Cary 500MBs, and my current Clayton M300s. They sounded very good with the hybrid Lamm M1.1s, but the Lamms did reach a point where they would run out of steam (at a quite loud level). I am not sure what your 100wpc tube amp would do. Maybe consider bi-amping them (I have no experience with that). My advice is to try them with your amps before buying.

All that said, I would be very interested in your comparative impressions between the 7T and 9, either here or off-line. Thanks.
Hi Tojohndillonesq,

I just got through with my review of the 7T for my website hometheaterreview.com. The review will be posted sometime next week. I have never listened to the Aerial 9s, however the T7s were one of the finest and musical speakers, regardless of price, I have ever listened to. For example I reviewed the Audio Physic Avantera that sells for $27000.00 which is another great speaker, but honestly I liked the 7T just as much. A friend that came over to hear them when I had them in for review had just got the Magico Q-3s and was so impressed with what he heard that he sold off the Q-3s and purchased the 7Ts.

The 7T is a very easy load to drive, both in impedance and sensitivity, therefore you could use the amps that you mentioned with no concern at all. If you want to discuss with me more of the details of my take on the 7T E-mail your phone number and it would be a pleasure to talk with you.
Aerial 9 isn't for tube amps in any room.
Aerial 9 isn't for small rooms either.
I have Aerial 10t(not tube friendly either) that are in 15'x20' with listening distance 6' and 6' appart. They're driven by 500Wpc of class D amps and I listen to them for a very long period of time equivalent to changing 7...8 vinyls in a row.
I also have Totem Forrest(will sell for dirt cheap) that are IMHO designed to be a perfect match to any tube amp >=40Wpc due to their stable 8Ohm impedance.
Aerial 9 isn't for tube amps in any room.
Aerial 9 isn't for small rooms either.
Marakanetz makes a couple of good points. I suspect a 100wpc tube amp could sound "good" with the Aerials but it may not sufficiently control the bass, leading in the best case to a fat or ripe bass and, in the worst case, to a boomy bass that overides the mids. My room is relatively large with 9-foot ceilings and the 100-200wpc SS amps I mentioned both didn't properly control the bass and didn't facilitate the level of dynamics these speakers are capable of. The only reason the (hybrid, but basically solid state) Lamm M1.1s sounded great (up to their power limit) is that they are exceptionally over built amps (for 100wpc) and even they resulted in a slightly fat bass. In summary, and IMO, the full sound quality of the Aerial 9s can only be realized with plenty of breathing room and lots of power. They can sound good in suboptimal set-ups, but you will not achieve all that thay are capable of.
OK guys, thanks for the input. I got two things from this 1) Feed the Aerial 9 at least 200WPC. 2) Even with the right power, do not put the aerial 9 in a room that is 12' x 20' with nine foot ceilings. (Pause for a moment while I emotionally adjust to this bad news.... Ok... bitter pill swallowed.) I also listened to the 7T, in a MUCH smaller room, using it essentially as a nearfield monitor. Problem is, they are so new that they are still 50% more than the model nine on the used market.

No comments on Victory II or Dali 800 for a small room?
I have owned the Aerial 9s and had to sell them because of a move to a smaller room. They just did not work in that room which was 13x15x8. I had the model 6 before I traded up to the 9s and they would work in your room. The model 6 are actually less efficient than the 9s or 7t though. You would need to change to a high power ss amp for any of these speakers unfortunately.

I personally did not like the dealer demo of the Dali 400 I heard. I also don't think Dali speakers are designed with tube amps in mind.

Though I have not heard Coincident speakers I believe they are a good match for tubes. I think your best bet is to go listen to some if you can.

Do you have a Tannoy dealer around? I have heard the Glenaire sound quite good in a small room.

Looking at your room dimensions again you may be able to get the 9's to work but it's kind of iffy. I was using a Parasound Halo A21 amp with them with good results. You can pick one up for around $1200 used.

Thanks for all the thoughtful responses. I am going to wait for a deal on the 7T. There is a pair for sale here for $7500, which is good, but I am holding firm at $5K. (If I go to $7500, then why not $9K? then $11K, then... ) Nope. $5K is a lot of money for me already! I need to save some for turntables, amps, skis, cars, vacations, etc. Hahaha!
I would look for a different speaker. I have never heard of anyone coming down $2500 in price. I don't think you will ever find this speaker at your dream price, unless it's pretty damaged.
in reference to the dali's, I auditioned the helicons, although they sounded very good, they are way to directional for me, if you sit off axis they lose alot, personally I am saving towards the new aerial 7t.
I think it's always best to buy what one really wants. If you bought the 9 you'll always want the 7, and never really enjoy the 9 anyway. That said if your budget is absolutely $5k and for the foreseeable future the 7 will be more than you can spend then you have a decision to make. Because what you don't want to be is that bozo that makes the ridiculous low ball offers of $5k on $7.5k speakers :-)
Tojohndillonesq: Did you ever make a decision on the 7t's? I am seriously thinking about the 7t's and Dali 400 Helicon MKii's as well. I've heard both but not on my own system. I only heard the 7t's on ARC reference gear and Levinson $25,000 mono blocks, so yeah, they sounded good. The Dali's were on a much less expensive setup and I thought they're sound stage and spaciousness was similar to the 7t's.