I suggest Thiel.
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In addition to the above, if you're not adverse to buying from a manufacturer without a US distributor, you could try Duntech, very similar designs, at least in their Classic series (many of their designs were originally John Dunlavy's while he was there). Also, Dynaudio designs, while not executed the same way even though their driver array would imply that they are (my understanding is they are a line source speaker, rather than a point source like the Dunlavys), can give you that "big" sound that Dunlavys do so well and are excellent speakers.
A product line that is conceptually very similar to what Dunlavy was doing is PBN audio's "Montana" series.
The big Dynaudios mentioned by Rcprince are unique in their use of two tweeters, one above the other. This effectively preserves the wider-than-it-is-tall radiation pattern of the vertically spaced midranges and woofers. The result isn't really a line source, but it does produce a more uniform radiation pattern than the Dunlavy/Montana vertical symmetry around a single tweeter.
A really dialed-in set of Dunlavy(s) are without question the most accurate and phase linear speakers per dollar
in the world. Why can this statement be made? Because
Dunlavy is the only company that tested each and every
speaker and included those tests as part of the warranty
agreement. Dunlavy speakers are incredibly directional,
but in the 'sweet seat' (barely one person wide) the dream
of full frequency realism is finally achieved. I'm personally sad to see this company move from the high-end stage. It's unlikely that another company will ever attempt
to provide so much for so little.
Someone get that man a tissue! Sorry Brauser I don't agree completely. I agree they are a good value but better can be had for the same money, and they are OK but I understand why everyone isn't rushing out to get a pair, they aren't that resolving and so damn laid back I find it hard to listen for extended periods of time without my mind wandering. I am glad you like them but saying any speaker is that fantastic is a bold statement only a few can claim and I don't consider Dunlavy in that elitest group. I am sorry they are going because not much else is available like them, but they didn't make it- such is life. fwiw many companies test EVERY speaker before it leaves and include a print out- hell the last car stereo speakers I had came with frequency chart thing(they were focal drivers) Enjoy the tunes :) I am sure if you ever move from Dunlavy there will be something available for your ears at the time.
Brauser I agree, to me Dunlavy made some of the best speakers around. Not everyone like Dunlavy speakers but what speaker does everyone like? Tireguy your comments can be said of any speaker. Hey some people like "laid back speakers". Of course I have never thought they were "laid back". I guess the electronics I was using weren't laid back.
Just my 0.02 before taxes...
Brauser: I agree completely. Accuracy isn't subjective. Some audiophiles might prefer various colorations, but the notion that accuracy is open to personal interpretation and can't be measured in speakers is sheer foolishness.
So while there are numerous more "exciting" speakers -- visually and sonically -- speakers that are phase coherent , capable of reproducing a square wave and close to ruler flat in their frequency response are few and far between. Dunlavys are obviously in that class.
Dunlavy failed because of poor marketing and dozens of reasons already mentioned. I think a lot of people who spend thousands on speakers just want something that looks a lot more exotic. For sonics and good engineering, I'll put Dunlavy up against anything.
Tireguy: The car speaker comparison is pretty silly, don't you think? I doubt you really put those speakers in the class of Dunlavy. I mean, what exactly do those spec sheets show, and how were the measurements performed?
a friend of mine traded his V's in on a pair of piega p-10s and think they are the best speaker he has ever heard.jonathan valin's review in the june '01 tas says almost the same thing..describing them as 1 of 3 'affordable' reference speakers available at that time.there are a few becoming available on audiogon as the new line of piega speakers is about to be released..c-series..3 & 3-ltd..8 & 8-ltd and 10 & 10 ltd.i have heard the c-8 ltd and have bought a pair to replace my p-10s'..they are unbelievable. don't buy anything else until you have heard the p-10s or the new series.
John Dunlavy told me a couple years ago that if he was not a speaker deigner he would buy Thiel. I tend to agree, they have alot of the same sound, but I'm sticking with the IVa's I have. I wish I had some extra money, this would be a great time to buy a pair of V's for me. I would recommend shopping out a bargain on some floor model, dealers must be a bit paniced.
I think Richard Hardesty does an excellent job of describing Dunlavy's, Thiels and Vandersteen's in his online magazine "The Audioperfectionist." He goes into great detail about these different speakers and comes to a conclusion based on his experiences. He ultimately chose Vandersteen and tells exactly why. I too agree with his conclusions. Vandersteen's test as good as any speaker, they are time and phase aligned and are constructed of the finest drivers and parts. I have tried a lot of speakers over the years and the Vandersteen 3A Signatures and the Model 5's are a couple of the best available.
Everybody has a favorite sound or a favorite speaker. Look at all the people who like Electrostatics. Talking about test results, find one of these that is any where near flat over their range but it doesn't stop people from liking them.
I think it's best we not try to convince someone else that because we like a speaker that it is the best and everyone will love it because that is certainly not going to be the case. Each person can go out and do their own investigation. Read, read and read some more and then create you a list and head on out for the day. I, in the past, have bought speakers on Audiogon and turned around and sold them a month later. It was the only way I could get to listen to them. It afforded me the chance to listen to speakers that no local dealers have in my room.
9rw- The test spec sheet proves nothing which is why I was making the reference to the audiom TLR tweeters(retail on the tweeters alone was $2400 for the pair, so they were pretty serious car speakers- but any ways) spec sheet, frequency response is going to be SOOOOOO different from room to room and for that matter from car to car, they have other ways of testing tonal accuracy and linear excursion but again even that is still pretty pointless. I am not saying these are bad speakers, not in any way just not the last word in performance- to my ears. Happy listening everyone.
I agree with the Thiel/Vandersteen/Dynaudio recommendations, all excellent choices. My personal preference is Dynaudio, as I find the Thiels too bright and the Vandys too warm, but system matching is important as always. Re Dunlavy, IMO most people place far too little importance on time and phase coherence. Dunlavy didn't do everything perfectly, but he was on the right track, no doubt about it.
To Audioguy -
Thanks for the additional information on the Montana's.
It is my understanding that the XP uses first order filters everywhere except on the tweeter, which uses a third order high pass. I don't know about the crossovers in the rest of the Montana line.
Just for the record, John Dunlavy's negative characterizations of vented enclosures do not apply to all vented alignments. Along the same lines, if I were to characterize all sealed boxes based on the transient performance of a Qtc = 1.2 alignment it wouldn't be a fair generalization. There are vented alignments that exhibit superb transient response, comparable to that of a critically damped (Qtc = .5) sealed box. In my opinion, Dunlavy's stance on the innate superiority of sealed boxes is a bit dogmatic. I say this as a moderately experienced amateur speaker designer and builder (over 55 systems including sealed, vented, passive radiator, isobarik, pressure relief, transmission line, and dipole. I'm currently working on three systems: a dynamic dipole; a transmission line variant; and a well-damped, ultra-slow-rolloff vented alignment).
Piega 10's are more tranparent and revealing than the IV,IVA,and the V's which I've had in my system for 5 years plus. The Dunlavy's have a bigger soundstage and must be played at higher levels. The music got to be fatigueing after long periods of play. The difference that appealed to me was in the bass. The Dunlavy's had a huge but boomy bass while the piega's was tight fast and deep. If you have the space you may want to hear the Soundlabs also.
i need to cast my vote both with Brauser and with Karl. I used to be a Vandy guy until i found the Dunlavy's the Athenas were so much more open sounding than the sig 3s. I thought the thiels were a bit bright. that said i also thought the dunlavy III to be bright. the wrong cables (i.e. silver) or nasty recordings can make my athenas down right evil. With tubes and some nice copper cables they can be amazing though a harsh cd will still tear your ears out...LPs on the other hand are always nice.
Dunlavy was on my short list but I bought Green Mountain Audio Continuum 2. They are very well engineered (first order crossover with very expensive components and fully adjustable for any listrening room) and constructed speakers. The upgrade to C2i has made them an excellent speaker: very dynamic, soundstage imaging like mini-moniotrs with substantial bass response and easy to drive (91dB).
I am not a Dunlavy fan, I will admit that up front. Dynaudio lost my business when they introduced the new Confidence and Temptation with two tweeters and two mid/woofers design. I have never heard a speaker with very good and precise imaging when multiple tweeters or midranges are employed. I used to own Dynaudio Confidence 5 which has one tweeter and one midrange dome, sitting at 6' away from the speakers I was able to create pin point imaging. Listening to Dunlavy or Temptation require at least 10' from the speakers for the sound to emerge and sound focus. Even then, it is still not perfect.
Tannoy and Lowther build their markets on one point, literally one point, point source is the only way to create precise imaging. Yes, the new Confidence and Temptation are more advance than your typical MTM design in the crossover by varying the output and crossover point on every single driver. So no two drivers have identical output or crossover frequency in the new C2/4 or Temptation. But end result still requires a larger than normal domestic living room to create precise imaging.
Some designers stick with this theory and will never go above one tweeter or midrange driver per channel. Look at Verity Audio, Sonus Faber, Aerial, or Revel, they will rather sacrifice a little power handling than building a giant speaker to create giant sound. Go listen to Pipe Dream, see if you can tell the height of the performer.
Just my 2 cents.
The boomy bass you had was not the fault of the Dunlavy's---it was the way they interacted in YOUR room. Very few really good high end speakers that I can think of (and I won't name the ones I can) have "boomy" bass if carefully placed in the room with the listening position also carefully place. The bass may not be to your liking but it should not be boomy. None of the Dunlavy's have boomy bass (that still does not mean you will like them, of course)
You are correct Audioguy 123. They did sound great in the store which had a smaller room and they were on the long wall. All walls and ceilings were heavily damped with room treatments galour. Even Dunlavy used an anechoic chamber to do his tests and listening. I couldn't get the sound right in MY room. The piega's are a better match.
We went from the Vandy 2ce to the Dunlavy IV, and after a sidestep to the Sonus Faber Extremas...:-), to the Acapella Campaniles. Now we are dealers for the Campaniles, even though (or maybe because? :-) they look like Dunlavy Vs with a horn pasted on the side :-) But Acapella speakers are phase and time correct, efficient, and tall - for that BIG sound we like - just like the Dunlavys. If someone made the IVs and Vs with a nice look (rounded back maybe, exotic woods) and used high-end components instead of generic while keeping the price down... they'd have a hell of a speaker and, I think (BWDIK), a nice customer base. Peiga's seem close - but a little on the 'short' side maybe...?