Best $1,500-ish New or Used Floorstander -


After pouring through many posts over the last few weeks, I thought I would tap the collective Audiogon genius for advice on my quest to get back into the hobby. I have been a many year (decade?) fan of the community (lurker) but wanted to engage directly as I look for a good set of speakers for a 2 channel system I will be building.

What should my short list look like for speakers in the $1,500 range?

I am very open to used, but if there are any current production speakers that eclipse the used value equation I'll certainly give them deep consideration.

My room is "lively" and roughly 15 x 20.

Associated electronics: TBD - but budget commensurate with speaker pricing.

I'd like "well rounded" speakers in terms of music genre - not focusing on speakers that do well for "opera" and not rock, for example. If anything I'd like to make sure they "rock" though.

If you had $1,500 to spend on speakers that you hope last you many years - what would you get?

all suggestions are at used prices:
Focal Chorus 836v
Dynaudio Audience 82 or 72SE
Von Schweikert VR2
There's a pair of Apogee Calipers for sale here:

Hard to find anything that sounds as good as these for many multiples of this price.
Tekton Lores with upgraded finish and you're still under budget.
Magnepan 1.7

You have eliminated a lot of speakers by going with
floorstanders only. Lot of great monitors at that price.
Anthony Gallo Classico CL-3 new,Acoustic Zen Adagios used,or anything by Joseph audio used in that range.
For a long time, used speakers represented a particularly good value, and sometimes they still do, especially if you pick something that was ahead of the curve when new, such as Magnepan 3.6, ADS M12, Dynaudio from the past 10 years. However, there have been such advances lately in driver design--cone composites, diecast frames, stronger magnets--and enclosure design--non-parallel walls, better bracing, narrow, extra inert baffles--that some of the new speakers make for compelling values.

Two examples are the Monitor Audio Silver RX6 and RX8. RX6 list price is a little below your budget; RX8 a little above. I've seen lower prices online. RX8 received a glowing review from TAS; RX6 did the same thing very recently with Stereophile.

Things that set these speakers apart is an extraordinary resolution and low level detail for a dynamic speaker of this price. S'phile's test measurements show the RX6 to have a smooth, flat response curve, good bass extension, and is very free of cabinet resonances. The mid and low drivers are a sandwich of magnesium and ceramic, making them very light and resistant to cone breakup.

As for powering these speakers, you'd be hard-pressed to improve on the Marantz PM8004 integrated amp. I've heard this amp powering a $12,500 pair of Sonus Faber floorstanders and they left nothing to be desired.

Both the Monitor Audio floorstanders and Marantz amp are much easier to own and use than a 15-yr-old pair of full range ribbons plus the high current amps required to power them. Yes, they'd achieve very high quality sound for the money, but the Marantz/Monitor Audio setup is no-muss, no-fuss, and a better choice for someone getting into--or getting back into--quality home audio.
Dynaudio Contour 1.8 MKII as a suggestion, used < $1500. Use a good 150W/ch high current amp.
These would be my picks from current listings:

I agree the Monitor Audio RX series should be on your list, too, especially if they tamed the peaky treble from the RS series.
You have the perfect room for Vandersteen 2Ce.

I agree the Monitor Audio RX series should be on your list, too, especially if they tamed the peaky treble from the RS series.
The TAS and Stereophile reviews indicate that they did. Because Robert Reina reviewed the RS6 a few years ago he did the review of the new RX6. An excerpt from his new review:

I was intrigued by Monitor's statement that in the Silver RX6 they'd eliminated the RS6's slight peak at 11kHz. Sure enough, as I switched back and forth between the RX6 and RS6, I noted that the RX6 had more natural and realistic highs. Sibilants were more prominent through the RS6, and could be a bit brash in highly modulated passages, but not through the RX6.
You have the perfect room for Vandersteen 2Ce.

+1 on the Vandersteens. Although at your price you should look at the Signature or SignatureII series.
The only problem I see is getting full size speakers shipped. It can be hazardous. Look for a local seller who will meet you or let you pick the speakers up.
I had the MA rs6'a great speaker.But I just got a pair of new Martin Logans Vistas for $2k'They sold for $4300 and are on sale.They blow away the MA rs6s and have a sound on like any thing most box speaker do.I would really look into this.Free shipping also.
PSB Stratus gold i.
I was in the same situation as the OP 6 months ago.
I have always had a soft spot for Martin Logan and got a great pair of ML Ascent for under $1,500.

I use them both as the front speakers in my HT and as the stereo speakers for my audio system and I am VERY happy to be back in the audio hobby...

I also bought a Perreaux 2150B power amp to drive them (less than $500 for 400WPC in 4 Ohm) and again very happy with my purchase.
Johnnyb53, my compliments for putting in the extra time and effort to try and help a guy find the right speakers. Too bad there aren't more philes here as consistently willing to help other philes as you demonstrate. You've advised me before too! Thanks. Still dealing with the Mirage OMD 28's.
Many thanks to the community for your guidance - I'll second the special call-out for Johnnyb53. Much appreciated!

I made it out to my local Magnolia/Best Buy to listen to the Monitor RX6&8's lat night. Great advice! The demo conditions were less than ideal, but gave me a good indication of the potential. I'll take some of my music and try to give them a good listen.

To further muddy the waters, I hooked up my old Madisound stand-mount 2-way speakers with a Polk sub... I am now thinking sub/sats could be satisfying in my room. I like the idea of being able to invest in a good sub to match down the road.

So, I'm open to 2 way bookshelf speakers, but still leaning towards floorstanders.

In a perfect world, something not too difficult to drive, keeping my amp options more free. (I know you can't have it all for $1,500....)

Thanks again,
Energy RC-70 at Vanns. Beats speakers costing double the original retail price ($2k).
I have seen three or four ads in the past two years for Aerial 10T's for around $1700. In my estimation the 10T's are as good as any (and better than most!) speakers mentioned in this thread!
I would contact Tim Kroll from Shelby Kroll to see if he has any more of his B stock Nano Monitors left and get the matching sub at a later time. Awesome speakers and the sub is supposed to be awesome as well.
They haven't been professionally reviewed yet but they will be with a price increase surely to follow
Hi Guys - As an update, I snagged the pair of Monitor Audio RS6's advertised here. They should arrive Friday. While well under my budget, I think they will be a great value and stepping off point - down the slippery slope!

Many thanks for the guidance and advice.

Now off to researching a nice integrated to match.

07-17-12: 968firehawk
Now off to researching a nice integrated to match.
Seriously, don't buy anything until you hear a properly set up Marantz PM8004. Read the TAS review from the ilnk I supplied above.
I have had many speakers in my house... ml aerius i, magnepan mmg and mg12, bw 9nt, vandersteen 2ce signature, paradigm, psb...
I bought a pair of rega rs5 last year and could not be happier: nice, well balanced and clear sound in a compact package, not too forward nor laidback; just right for me even close to the back wall. One more suggestion I know, but for the price ($1500-ish), to me they are worth it. A real step-up compared to what I have had for less and for more.
Linn Majik 140's. Retail at $3,000 and you can find them used on occasion for around your price range. Pair it with Linn Majik DSi and be done. Smoking good system that will play anything well.
Congrats on your RS-6. I've enjoyed this speaker in my home for a while and consider it very good. My best advice is to feed it tube amplification. My local dealer had it set up on his Ayon tube gear and I heard an absolutely stunning soundstage. I'm currently using a B&K mosfet amp which has tube-like sound, but falls short. I can't afford tubes at the moment, I have kids in college.
I bought a pair of Linn Majik 140's for 1500.00 new. Kept them for 1 year then moved up to Lipinski 707's. The 4 way Linn's are the best sounding Linn's I've ever owned. The 242's are great also but more expensive. I ran the 140's with SS and Tube. Tube being superior in all ways as usual. Good luck.
I would recommend the best PSB speaker you can afford, new or used they play well above their price point. Stratus Goldi can be found in your price range, former class B speaker as well as Synchrony Two. The new Imagine range is very good also.
Playing my Daber Monitor 3 speakers with the Marantz PM8004. Great combo. The Daber brand is an under the radar speakers. Very well constructed and sounds like dream for well under two grand.

As mentioned above, the Marantz PM8004 may blow your mind for it's price. In fact regardless of price.