Best Kept Speaker Secret?

OK all you speaker experts out there here goes. There are always "sleepers" or "exceptions to every rule or cost" in high end audio equipment. In your opinion what is the best kept secret or exception to the cost for the very best speaker you can buy for $4000 or less (Used). Your feedback will be greatly appreciated toward building my short list. Thank you.
Ok, I'll bite on this one:

$4000 +/- 10%

Best deal: Infinity IRS Beta, although $4000 is low, but doable depending on seller's desire to move 'em. Problem:
Need serious biamping and frontend to sound their best.

Aerial 10t. Doable at $4000. A speaker most folks think as part of an HT setup. How wrong they are. Michael Kelly has built what IMHO, beats many designs up to $20K.

Maggie 3.5r/3.6r and a sub! Doable at $4K. Planars!!!
A no brainer here.

My opinion, your's may vary.

Check out the newest RM-2 or the RM-40. The RM-40 won Best at CEC show. I haven't heard these but being an owner of older VMPS I would highly recomend. I don't think you could go wrong with either.
Von Schweikert 4.5 -- you've got to hear 'em to believe 'em.
I just picked up a pair of Thiel 3.6's and am conflicted since I then heard the Von Schweikert's -- unbelievable!
Although the above choices are wonderful, my personal favorite, and the pair I own, are the Vandersteen 3A Signatures.
ditto on the bigger Magnapans.. I've heard these demo'd. a few years ago and they are great.
ProAc's "ultimate in compact speaker design" the Tablette 2000 Signature. It's larger than their 1SC, contains all of the Response line's features, but sells for less; a true marketing anomaly and gift to the faithful.
Gallo Acoustics, the Reference or the Ultimate (I have the latter). Weird looking, wonderful sounding. I thought my ProAc Response 3s were pretty good until I got the Ultimates. I've seen them used for $2K, which is the buy of the century.
I agree with Dopogue, I own a pair of Gallo Nucleus Reference speakers and there is NO way I would part with them! These are the most realistic speakers that I have ever heard. I will admit that they do not have a conventional look to them as they look more like works of art. They are hard to find on the used market, but if you find some GRAB THEM!
The Voce Divina Soprano.
Westlake Lc4.75 Pro. Retail new is $999. Many, many studios use these to monitor the recording process.

If it's good enough for the guys recording your records, it's more than enough to playback.

These are the ultimate in resolution. Perfect for a small room...
Martin Logan CLS. Crushes everything here mentioned so far with the possible exception of 10t's, in terms of clarity, transparency, speed, detail. IMNSHO of course. I have ML's, Aerials, Aliante, a/d/s/, and some others for comparison.

Shouldn't be a secret, but the silverline sonota, EITHER version one or two can be readily had used w/ change back from your $4k. Yes the martin logans are terrific, if you like electrostats (yes, i do), if you don't mind plugging each one into the wall, if you don't have any pets. For a cone full range the sonota is the speaker to beat. While silverline specs have been generous about how low thier speakers go, and the sonota won't go below 25, in my room i get plenty of 30, and that's not sujective, i've measured! I consider that a true full range speaker. My only consideration would be don't try to squeeze them into too small a room, and they sound better on the quieter side through an average listening level than on the louder side. They will be happy w/ a very small amp, and can handle a very large one as well.
As a former 10T owner for 5 years,I submit the Montana ESP.--Near the price range.
I'd invest what is left in a pair of Titan II LEs or there newly introduced sub. Wonderfully musical and dynamic!
The Dantax Albatross 3
Gershman Acoustic RX 20's
Aerial 10T's without a doubt. I bought a used mint pair with the Santos Rosewood finish for about the price you are contemplating. Fit 'n finish are second to none. Wouldn't trade 'em for, well, most anything. You connect them to the right amp and you won't be lacking for anything. Slightly sweet sound with a powerful, taught bottom end down to about 23 Hz.

But they love as much power as you can throw at them. If your amp is less than 150 or 175 wpc into 8ohm and you have no intention of upgrading the amp, then you might want a more efficient speaker. The 10T's are rated at 86 db sensitivity at 4 ohm.

I have to agree with fizgig, the Silverline Sonata's are superb from top to bottom. All the speakers mentioned here are very good and I've heard most of them but the silverline just disappear and let you hear the music.
Do yourself a favor and look for a pair of Tyler Acoustic Linbrooks--4500 new. It was the best thing I ever did. My best friend has a pair of Martin-Logans and I left him crying and angry after hearing the Linbrooks for the first time. We went to an Avant Guarde Duo demonstration, that's a 12,000 dollar speaker roughly, and me and my buddy thought the Linbrooks were nearly 90% of the Duos. The Duos had more "air", more ability to separate instruments in the soundstage, and it had a touch more low-end. But both speakers were refined, highly detailed without edginess, and threw a wide soundstage. I bet you can find a pair here for something like 2000, check out their website.
Von Schweikert VR-4 MkIII.Magenepan 3.6/R ribbons and full range panels. Both are about $4k new.
A company from Belgium, specializing in cello manufacturing has designed a series of speakers called EHS. These comparitively diminutive floor-standing speakers reportedly use no crossovers, but utilize the fabric cover, which is non-removable except by the company. So, if driver blows, back to Belgium. I owned a pair of "Tenors", the company's flagship, for about two years. Holographic, musical, romantic, but rolled off. For string music, especially small ensembles, the presentation was fabulous. Lay a rock or funk jazz track, though, and the heart of the energy was lost. Costs for these speakers (I'm not sure if they are still being made), range from around $600.00 to $4800.00.
By the way, the cabinet work was top quality and a joy to look at.
Nobody's reading correctly. The 2 key words are BEST and SECRET. Most of the above ARE NOT secret and maybe not the best. The correct answers are: VMPS(ribbon hybred $1600 up new)the Australian lab Ambience (ribbon hybred $6K new). Possibly the best kept secret is the gigantic line from the little known french lab called Cabasse. I'll know in 3 days.
Scratch VMPS from my list. Thank You.
tweekerman-that's this week last week it was martin logan, let us know what you think in a few more weeks.
Hey Tireguy at least give me credit for trying. Instead of joking about my sincere interest lets hear your best kept secret speaker, if there is such a thing. I heard ML's on a friends conrad johnson 6 yr. old monos, MAN!! do they drink the juice. On the krell 300 they sounded better. Alcoholics them ML's! Not for my little amp. But like i say by wensday or thursday i'll know about this Cabasse and will let you know if it is THE best kept... OR BETTER kept secret. I scratched the VMPS because it possible is a good kept secret but can't say BEST.
I don't have any best kept secrets, I like to stick with the major names but if I had to pick one I would say the Piega line in particular the P10(more then 4k though) not many are famaliar with them but those who are know what I am talking about, one of the few lines I would ever think of replacing my avalons with(kharma's being one of the other brands I would consider though they are more well known)
Hey Tireguy i'm just the opposite i go for the "esoteric" if there is such a thing. Maybe Jadis qualifies as a secret which is why i got the little Orchestra as a start. I've gone "major brands", recently NAD Rotel B&W ,you can't get more brand popular than that. Never again not at any price. Not with Audiogon around and threads like this one.
Here's one to toss in this arena, for roughly $1,400 used, you can buy the Totem Hawk speaker. These speakers are ideal for small to mid size rooms and when driven correctly, they are dynamic, transparent, spacial, and very musical. Very difficult to find another speaker for the price that can match the performance, soundstage, and sophistication of the Totem Hawk speaker.
Used full-range Soundlab or Acoustat 2+2 and professional series, maybe used Martin Logan CLS2z's also. They are all tremendous bargains in the used market, at least for the right person ready to accomodate larger speakers. Properly set up, a good full range esl is very hard to beat in every aspect.

Thorty thats probably true. But those electros really drink the juice!! Powerholics!! True they sound great except the low end is soft. They are QUITE BIG. I prefer a great small AFFORDABLE quality intregrated to drive efficent speakers as opposed to BIG POWER amps driving nice sounding electros. But like i say if you have the large room and have a big amp say like the Electrocompaniet NEMO or their 160 watt class A monos WOW!!!!! Maybe the ML CLS2Z or the SL.
I have to say that of all the speakers I have had and critically listened, the Paradigm Reference Studio 100s are my favorite. I was truly surprised when I first heard them. I ditched my expensive B&W N804s and got a pair of 100s. I love them! I want to hear the new McIntosh Academy speakers however.
Tweekerman, with the right amp even 70W can be enough for Soundlabs. I am using a Berning 270 with mine with excellent results and have very good BASS; (no softy bass either) no extra sub required in this room let me assure you :)
I agree that electrostats in general need a fair amount of quality power and my Soundlabs are no exception but 70 killer watts from the Berning, believe it or not, does the job very well in my modestly sized room.

True, I wish the esl's did not require so much juice to do a moderately large size listening area justice but fortunately my present room (27'x12'x7') is small enough to be happy with 70 high quality OTL watts. Now, wouldn't it be great if you could get bass from a smaller esl panel? What a dreamer I am :)


living voice avatar obx - very rare but live up to legendary reputation.
Thorty now thats a new one for me. just went to their web the beautiful photo of the inside electronics is awesome! even the name -ZERO HYSTERESIS ZH270- lets me know its a departure from tradition. however at $4500, it better be great. as well there are others to consider at this price range. I'm getting Cabasse today, if they don't do it for me i'll more than likely follow your trail and get used SL's. yes you are very correct. 1 QUALITY watt = 2 to 4 generic watts. i have a little 40 watt tube amp and it delivers FAR MORE (ie. more than TWICE) the power of my supposingly 100 watt ss amp. i will not mention names gets irrate some owners of their beloved.
Tweek - what happened to the Pathos idea?
Hey Ljgj i thought this thread was about speakers. But about the Pathos uuhh dunno , What you can't have alittle fun in this hobby. You've probably been at it a long time i see. Seems you've heard it all so go check your email i just sent you, got ta ask ya something about this potentially most expensive hobby ...which i'm finding out very fast leads to relational difficulties with the SUPERIOR (underline that last word please) sex. Been at it 1 month dunno how much longer can hold out wish me luck.. if no see me post call ambulance..$..???.$$$..?^*@$$$)"@}....$
look at the jubilee/jems for sale for 2300. look at my comments on these on audiogon and on audio asylum. the only speaker i liked better was the verity audio parsifals. these replaced my quad 63's! these were a great buy new at twice the price. by the way these are not mine and i do not know the owner (and mine are not for sale).
Thank you for the response Newbee. I could not find a website for Paragon, are they still in business? If I bought these I would like to know that if anything went wrong I could get them repaired. Please let me know if you can. Thank you again.
Anybody try to top the VMPS 626 or if you prefer more bass the VMPS RM1 Both at a great price. For expensive look to Quad but maybe better is the (watt demanding) SL's line.I've heard the following: b&w mirage paradigm spica vandersteins wilson martinlogan mageplanars cabasse psb. These are well known and not secrets. If you get a chance read the review by Pfeffer on the Alon Circe loudspeaker at $12K!!!! in the absolute sound dec. issue. In 2 and one half paragraphs he sums up the state of cone tech. You draw your own conclusions i've already got my UNBIASED opinions AS to what I LIKE. A well made woofer will always be needed. But read the interesting VMPS web page before you buy your next traditional loudspeaker. But why VMPS still makes a budget traditional cone speaker is beyond me. Sorry please disregard some of my previous posts Thank You
check out the Montana EPS's. Biggest bang for your buck IMHO
PSB Gold (or Goldi) in combination with ARAGON 8008BB.
(I also use a VELODYNE HGS-15 for the lowest octave;
i.e. 20 - 40 Hz, electronically crossed-over in the SONY
TAE-E9000ES pre/pro w/Version 2.01 upgrade, but the Golds'
are flat down to 35 Hz [- 1 db], so a subwoofer is not essential,
but does add something if the source has deep, deep bass).
Extremely neutral and smooth, yet detailed presentation.
Mondial (maker of ARAGON) has great customer support;
both ARAGON and PSB Golds are a great value - new and especially used.
Connecting the grounds of all the elements in each speaker with the SHORTEST possible connection will enhance the coherency of the speaker.
I will second Newbee on the Paragon Jubilee / JEMS. Paragon is now out of business but they use Dynaudio drivers that can still be obtained direct from Dynaudio. I wanted to by the pair here but am in a finacial pinch and can not. They are similar to the Watt/Puppy but much more enjoyable over the long haul. Wilsons can be analytical and fatiging, not the Paragons though. I have a pair of Paragon Regents which I also think are one of the best kept secrets but not as much as the Jubilee / JEMS. These speakers are awesome and at 2300.00 that is a steal. They have smoked most speakers I've heard under 10,000.00 (IMHO). Contact me direct if you have any questions about Paragon.
Scratch all my previous posts. I got lucky! My energetic research has paid off...anybody heard of the kits offered on there you have it ...THE BEST KEPT SECRET in all of the audio world...all criticisms are enjoyably welcomed.
ATC Active 20's... They are internally bi-amped. So sell your amps and put the money towards a pair of new ones... I've never heard a better imaging, neutral, or dynamic bookshelf speaker that disappears more than these...
I don't know how "secret" these are, but I love my Genesis Vs ($3700)
Nestorovic type 4.
I recently purchased a used pair here on a whim and it is the best audio purchase I have ever made. They were designed and built as I understand it by Mr. Nestorovic who designed one of the best ever Mcintosh tube amps then went on to design speakers. They are the best I have ever heard at any price. I have owned or auditioned many, many speakers: maggies, martin logans, dunlevy, jmlabs, sonus, spendor, vandersteen, polk, ohms, klipsch etc. the list goes on and on. With these I am amazed every time I turn them on. They were made to be mated with a tube amp. They are highly sensative 92db which I find essential in speaker performance. 8" woofer, 4 3/4" midrange, 4 1/2" ribbon tweeter. They are truly wonderful sounding! I am in love again and my search is over. I do use them in a small room with a stand. I do not feel they need a sub.
The best thing is they sold new for $2400 10 or 12 years ago and would be much higher today. I am firmly convinced that speaker design for the most part is not better today and the materials used such as in the magnets are poorer today than they were. I got mine for under a $1000 !!! The best speakers I have heard at such a great price.
It feel so good to be in love again :-)
Sonus Faber Electors. (Not Elector Amatours) These are a very small book shelf speaker that retailed for $3200. Great looking wallnut speaker with sound that seemed impossible to get from something so small. They were my first high end speaker and my most researched item. Of all the speakers I demoed in this price range these were by far the best regardless of size.