"Are smaller high end speakers really better?" - Naw!
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If you think the Sonus Faber is fatiguing, I'd have to wonder about the source and amplification upstream compared to you Boston Accoustics. Sometimes, better equipment/speakers reveals flaws. Like putting a magnifying glass on things. They look fine in normal resolution, but magnify it and wow, I never noticed that before.
Some cases things sound great, in others, you just highlight the bad stuff...
I've heard those speaker and liked em...something else in going on in your listening experience I bet.
Or sometimes, it's just a preference. And that's ok to!
I remember very vividly the '67 Mustage I drove in H.S. Driving School. That car was a blast to drive. The way it drove, rolled, and accerated was wonderful. Nice forum topic. I liked the way Mfkeleher put it. I've been putting together systems together lately using older stereo components (which have costed a song). I was really shocked when I heard the $35(inc. s/h) 60's Electro-voice bookshelf spks I bought on E-bay. They sounded great! The all important midrange was right-on. Bass/highs weak, but such an enjoyable spk. to listen to. Hooked it up to a mint Kenwood KR-2120 Rec.($20 inc. s/h), AQ type 2 (used '26, $10), 80's Hitachi CDP and presto...music. My dad really enjoys this little system. (He likes analog tuners and the Kenwood is able to pull in station w/o even an antenna!) One area where I found newer stuff really beats out older stuff is IC's and Spk. wires. Of all the bookshelf spks. which I've owned, I regret selling my Spendor S3/5's. Bill
Sonus Faber fatiguing? Go figure. Sounds to me like something else may be awry. My monitors (Harmonic Precision, Caravelles) are not only non fatiguing, but have bass that,( although a sub, for me, is a requirment) for many, will satisfy. Powerful, prodigious bass slam from this little monitor, plus coherence to die for.
"Better" is a relative term...the trademark of hi-end monitors has always been very focused, stable imaging and improved transparency(vs. larger speakers)...however...the majority of modern monitors can sound bright and thin if paired with inferior electronics(which baffle touched upon)...that being said...I wouldnt put Sonus Faber in that category...they are more in the "musical" camp vs. audiophile/reference sound...and image extremely well...just my input...for the record...I own GMA Europas...and couldnt be happier...
I guess bookshalf speakers are great for mid and high range. However, often need to match with a nice subwoofer. I got the Electra 906 ($1200) and match it with B&W ASW300 ($250). It took me four hours to get the sound right but it sounded wonderful afterwards. However, if you don't want to deal with that and have the room, I would really go for one of the larger Martin Logans with 8" or above woofer. I had the SL3 before and had a good marrage with Aragon 8008 amp. I don't have as much room now so those have to go
This is one of those priority issues. I too am very familiar with the Boston Acoustic line and the A200's. Once upon a time there was a local dealer that carried them. Other than their tizzy etchy sounding HF, they were ok for the money especially for R&R since most of those recordings I listen to are compressed anyway.
I agree with the posters that suggested a component mismatch with the Guarneri's, sounds most plausible for the fatigue you were getting. So far as not enough bass well that is more a taste issue as well as again, you probably didn't have the right amp for the speakers.
We both agree on one thing, if all I ever listened to was R&R its not too sure I would even be around here cause the gear has always been a means to an end. For R&R satisfaction came quite easily with a Pioneer receiver and Sansui speakers, why spend more? Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, Debussey, Rachmaninov, Stravinsky, Gershwin etc, jazz, acoustic and choral music, thats why to me. Your taste and mileage may vary but it is quite true that there is no need to spend more than is necessary to achieve the end goal which is musical satisfaction. How we each listen, what we listen to and what is important to hear is the reason that this hobby is so healthy of a wide variety of equipment to realize those differences.