I have to recommend the Sonus Faber Concerto Grand Piano's. They are like sculpture. I was originally shopping for a speaker in the under $2500 range. My wife is an architect and we were redecorating our apartment. On the way out of one store, she saw a pair of Grand Piano's tucked into the corner and asked the sales guy what they were. He set them up and they sound great. She was hooked by the look and the sound. We bought them together with the stone isolation bases. They look great.
I should add that they retail for $3500 plus $500 for the bases. They take a long time to break in, but they peform terrifically. Stereophile.com has a review by M. Fremer archived for your reference. Good luck.
Beauty is even more subjective than sound, but I particularly like the looks of Sonus Faber Homage (both models) and any of the Avalon models.
I agree with the Amati Homage. They are stunning and the workmanship is wonderful. Maybe you can specify what price range.
Gallo Acoustics Nucleus Reference's or better yet the Solo's. Round metal spheres on angular tubular stands. I am usually not fond of using industrial style inside my home but feel that these would be an exception. You can view these discontinued speakers at Audioreview.com and they are usually for sale on the used market. They also sound very nice with good equipment.
I'm not sure what beauty is to you, but to me it's great styling and cabinetry. I think the Vienna Acoustics Mahlers are yum, yum, yum in rosewood or cherry. The upper end of the Sonus Faber line also has gorgeous cabinetry. If your interior decor is very modern, the Revels are striking, although not to my taste personally. And the Avalon Eidolons are both visually striking and provide superb sound.
I agree with the V/A Mahlers. I also like the flagship Wilson/Benesch and the B&W 802.
Visual attraction is not always shared, but if your tastes run to modern or architectural..but yet not overly large, you might want to "see" the Martin Logan Aerius i. I have always loved the looks of the Magnepan MG-20....but it's only because they sound great....without the sound...they are a somewhat of a squared off surfboard!
i own a pair of what i perceive as being among the most beautiful (looking & sounding) speakers available: avalon eidolons in myrtle cluster burl. but the speakers i would buy, if beauty alone were the criterion, would be ae-1's or 2's signatures. while they're just more "little boxes," the highly-polished, gorgeously-grained rosewood and the overall fit 'n finish take these into the realm of classic ferraris, or maybe aston martins.
diapason adamantes, on their dedicated stands - these are absolutely gorgeous, imho. some of the best sound i've ever heard from 2-way monitors, also, if that's of any import... :>) they do an amazing disappearing act. doug
B&W P Series and also Vienna Speakers in Cherry or Rosewood have classic good looks.
Jadis J1 ! They are currently on sale (!?!?) for 25k (!!!). Here is a picture : http://www.northstarleadingtheway.com/products/speakers/eurythme.htm (No, I'm not a dealer. Yes, I have a weird taste.)
i heard these a few years back - best sound in show at s'phile '96, imho... (the diapason adamantes' weren't far behind, at 1/9th the price!) but, prolly no better than the avantgarde acoustics. (never heard 'em back-to-back, tho) as for looks, tho i like 'em better than the avantgarde's, i dunno about ackshully havin' 'em in my room - they look too much like yosemite sam! :>) doug
Carfrae! Lowther based, "horn" speakers. Any model, is piece of "Art!"
If you need a sub the REL's in Cherry look nice.
Hi Sugarbie! If beauty also means smallish stature (and to my wife it does), the only high performance 3-ways she found aesthetically acceptable in our music/living room were the 803N/804N and the Verity Audio Fidelio/Parsifal. The build quality of the latter is astonishing, and I bought them because of obvious sonic superiority. They make a visual "statement", but it's a demure, refined one, in our opinion. Good Luck.
O'Heocha are by far the best looking speakers I have ever seen: http://www.o-d.co.uk/d2.htm is where they can be seen. Not for everyone, though. Especially not if you are into wood. But I am getting the black chrome ones.
This will get boos from the audiophile's on this website, but B&O really fit into decor well. We have a pair of beolab 6000s bedroom on either side of a Japanese Tansui. They are driven by a B&O 4000. There is a lot of art in our house and the B&O equipment is at least great industrial design art, outstanding egronomics, and good music. For my main system Wilson Watt/Puppies in Asian Pearl White do beautifully in the living room and do the real music for me. The Watt's small size, shape, and small foot print help and Wilson's painted finishes are of the highest quality. In person the Sonas Faber Amati Homage dazzles me with their the quality of their wood finish but would never blend into our living room. Most speakers (wood or painted) mentioned in other responses have that problem for me. It all opinion and have fun!
Hello Ljgj, The Avalon Acoustics Eidolon in the curly maple or the myrtle cluster burl is IMO just beautiful. When hooked up to the right equipment is when it shows its real beauty though. The looks and sound will beguile you!!! Good luck, Tom
Beautiful elegant sculptures, SF Amati Homage are very striking and original looking, works of art. BW natulis 801 is modern design design icon, 50 yrs from now it will be in books of good design. New Quad ESL are simple, but undeniably beautiful, as are some Martin Logan models, and the discontinued Apogees.
Thanks for all the responses. I currently have a pair of Quad 989's that my wife calls ugly black boxes with plastic cheap looking endcaps. They sound fabulous but beauty is in the eye of the beholder I guess.I am not sure which way I will go next.
go for sound - looks are secondary for music. i'd only consider looks if sound was also the best. i'm saving for a custom pair of newform research r645's - almost as ugly as the O'Heocha's! ;~) my wife sez "anything but those"; i say we don't have the $$$ for anything that's gonna sound that good & look decent. i told her we have 30-day in-home trial, & i bet she won't let me get rid of 'em once she hears 'em! if your wife doesn't like your quads, she must not like music! ;~) good luck, doug. ps - if looks *are* really important, get the diapason adamantes l.e.'s yust adwertized here on audiogon by prosound - best soundstage of any dynamic-driver speaker i've heard, & my second choice...
As this model is relatively new and I assume you haven't had them that long - how did you get them in the house without the Wife going along with their look??? My god man, it is my opinion that you have one of the finest speakers that can be owned. To suggest changing these wonderful speakers to accomodate a specific look is absolutely ludicrous!!! Most of us only dream of owning a $8K speakers (and of course the ancilliary gear to go with them) and would sincerely try to build a room to accommodate them just to realize the marvelous sound reproduction they could provide. I guess I am just jealous and would dearly love to be in the position to say "change the Quads - they no longer suit the room..." But you know what - I would never dream of changing them - if the room is so important then flog the Quads and have a HT contractor install a pair of in-wall units - the kind you can paint to match the walls - the hell with sonics - lets make sure the room can be featured in Martha Stewart's next issue...