Best Monitors for Rock N' Roll under $2500

I'm looking for some suggestions for a great pair of monitors that work great with POP & ROCK music.

Here's my equipment:
Rotel 1080 amp
Rotel 1090 preamp
MMF-5 turntable
Rotel 1055 cd
Signal Cable power cords and interconnects
Anti-cable speaker wire
Richard Gray 600S

I'm currently using Aurum Cantus Leisure 2SE's. They sound fantastic with Jazz, Vocals, acoustic music but not the sound I'm looking for to handle my everyday listening; lots of New Wave, Punk, Classic Rock. Can anyone help?

Brands I'm considering:
Paradigm Signature series
JM Labs Electra 907 BE, 906
PSB Platinum 2's
Dnyaudio Contour 1.3SE

not monitors but I'd highly suggest you give Von Schweikert's VR-4JR (used) or the VR-2 (new). I solely listen to Rock and you just gotta have a full range speaker to truly enjoy it. I went from PSB Silvers to Vr-4 Gen III's and am in hog heaven.

If you really want monitors, they have the LCR 15's that can provide a fair amount of bass with that great Von Schweikert neutral sound.
I would look at the reference 3a mm de capo I
I'm real happy with my Revel Performa M-20s, which are in your price range new and about half that used. If I had $2500 to spend on used monitors, I'd try to hear the Totem Mani 2's.
I have to say that I lstened to Green Mountain Callisto? Monitors last week, and wow are they good...check them out, for $2300 they sound really REALLY good!
look at klipsch rf-7's
Listen to the Reference 3A DeCapo MMi, or if you really like the Aurum Cantus mabye a subwoofer added might do the trick.
Hands down I think used Aerial 10T's are a steal! Those speakers can seriously Rock!
i would recommend a quality floorstander. lots of cool brands in this pricerange that are very balanced from top to bottom. even the finest monitor(other than a larger vintage model) just doesn't nail rock and roll.
I recently saw Judas Priest live at Cricket Pavillion in Phoenix AZ.
The main thing I noticed about the sound was the ENORMOUS impact and clarity of the bass guitar/kickdrum. To say it was "visceral" is a vast understatement.
My friend said it very well: "THIS is the sound I've been trying to reproduce with my stereo system all these years!"
BTW, the concert was phenomenal, and easily in the top 3 I've seen in the past 25 years.

To put some perspective on it, my B&W 9NTs with Servo-15 and Adcom GFA 5800 250wpc amp cannot even come close to reproducing this level of bass impact. (Not that this system is state of the art or anything, but it's fairly well endowed in the bass department)

To duplicate live Rock, you need speakers of extraordinary sensitivity with clean bass response at high levels.
$2500 is a tough nut; probably the Paradigm Studio100 or Klipsch RF-7 would be a good place to start, and an interesting contrast.
The klipsch will stomp all over the Paradigm in terms of raw acoustic output, but the Paradigm will have a more refined sound and fairly decent punch.
If price were no object, the JBL K2($25,000 pair) would easily be my first choice for realistic reproduction of live rock.

IMO you should Forget about refined "audiophile" mini-monitors and floorstanders with teeny woofers (especially in the $2500 range); most lack the raw punch and air moving capability required to adequately reproduce the emotional impact of live rock music.
Rock is not about retrieving subtle nuances and throwing out focused holographic images at 90db.
Green Mountain Audio Callisto. 90-91 db effecient, rated at 50 hz, but I sold my sub since they go way lower than that. I listen to all kinds of music, but rock kicks butt on the Callisto's. Best speaker and company for the money and worth much more. Please take the time to hear these before you commit to another speaker. These will change your life.
If you haven't heard the new Platinum
M2's their really good PSB has really entered the world of audiofile speakers with this line, not only do these look fantastic but sound awsome!

I recommend them for anyone shopping under $2500. least that's what you said 3 months ago.
You really do need to check the Green Mountains out, all the hype is dead on accurate!
Boy. Hands down for rock and louder volumes the Reference 3A mm de Capo's. I used to have some wild Holloween parties with the de Capo's used them rather then larger floor standers because they can go loud and handle the power. You can blast away with 30 watts and up. I once had them rocking with the Atma-Sphere MA-1's 140 watts and we just dumped all of that into those guys. People would start dancing. These are classics. Huge sound stage and imaging plus more then enough base for all but organ lovers. Good review of them in the Oct/Nove 2001 TAS. Aaron Shatzman tells about a bunch of musiscans at his house when he cranked them up to Mahler and startled every one in the house.

I listen to similar music through my Alon Petites. Check out their new monitors.

Brad Day
Atlanta, GA
Infinity Intermezzo!
I would put in another vote for the Reference 3A decappo's. They are seriously great monitors and can be bought in your budget used easily.
I'm running the Paradigm signature S4's/C3/S2's Paradigm Seismic 12 with Levinson power. Not real happy with rock at louder volumes. They have great detail in more jazz/blues type music but seem to struggle a little at high volumes.

I was running Klipsch LaScala'a - Now there is a "rock" speaker that will make your heart stop. It can take a relatively small power amp and make it sound huge.
I listen almost exclusively to rock, especially the cruder genres with a minimal number of chords. My suggestion is to forget the twee audiophile speakers and go for real monitors. I use a pair of JBL LSR 32s which have a 12" carbon fiber composite woofer, a kevlar 5" midrange, and a 1" titanium tweeter. They're something like 93 dB sensitivity, reasonably neutral, and will play loud enough to stun dogs at 50 yards. They have explosive dynamics that make most audiophile speakers sound broken and a visceral character that I find very realistic. JBL published a dynamic compression spec that claimed less than 1 dB non - linearity at 100 watts input. As a product aimed at the highly competitive pro market they were routinely discounted. I bought a B stock pair for $1200 from and got 45 days home audition too - if I didn't like them I could return them for a full refund. The only downside is that the speakers are definitely not a piece of fine furniture. The cabinets are painted flat black and the front panel is some sort of molded composite that may be CF or fiberglass.
Green Mountain Callisto fans,did you previously own the Europa? How much more bass does the callisto provide. I'm constantly on the fence about whether or not my europa's rock enough for me. I've considered the close out Mirage OM-9 or Meadowlark E series as speakers that would increase my bass for a low cost.
Harbeth, Spendor. Too polite for some, not for me. Both minis are swell!
I own the GMA Europas and on their own they have inadequate bass for rock music. For that matter every monitor I have ever heard has inadequate bass for rock.

I have my europas crossed with a REL strata sub at 45Hz and the overall effect is very seamless and very good. Rock .... no problem. Chamber music and jazz ... no problem.

I think for good rock reproduction you either need a sub under the monitors, or floor standing speakers.

The callisto is near identical in size and uses the same low frequency driver as the europa. I have no doubt it's a better speaker, but I just can't see it producing significantly more deep bass than the europa.
I vote for floorstanders as well. If you want to play rock and roll with impact, the speaker has to have some size to it. I just listend to the DVD of Eric Claptons Crossroads guitar festival, which is great by the way. I use Klipsch Epic CF3's. They have 2 neodyium magnet 10" drivers flanking a big ole horn. They are 100 dB efficient and can handle 250 watts continous with 1000 watt peaks. They play like concert monitors and will play loud and clean way past your ability to endure it. I sold my Audio Physic Tempo 3's for them and couldn't be happier. They have a clean undistorted sound and can easily handle concert volumes with tremendous impact and slam that just makes you smile. They also sound great with Rotel gear which is what I have as well.
How about NHT 3.3's ? Not a monitor but, as per the other posts here, you'd be asking a lot of any small speaker. I owned the 3.3's and beside needing some power they were an unbelievable speaker that compete with the best designs of today. At $1500-2000 used I can't imagine a better rock speaker.
it just occured to me that speakers shound have numbers and not names. rock and roll music isn't supposed to be played through a product with an odd name. it should be something like xr5's, non euroscouts
KRK Systems are very good along with those mentioned already,Bob

You may trade in your Europas for more bass, but you DEFINITELY will miss the quality of sound happening above that bass.


The Callisto has dual ports, and is tuned to allow more bass output. Try listening to Ciarra's "Goodies" or Akon's "Locked Up" with the Europa. Both of these tracks have high-volume synth bass and TR-808 kicks. If you can't turn it up loud and rock your room, you now know what's to be gained in the Callisto. True, the -3 dB is 47Hz, but everything there and above, rocks!
I am a huge fan of the 1.3SE's and the Special 25's. If you want power in neutrality.... look no further.
Dynaudio Focus 140s or Merlins are my pick. I have personally owned B&W 804, 805, Dali Helicons, and Onix Reference.
Snicklefritz really summed it up:IMO you should Forget about refined "audiophile" mini-monitors and floorstanders with teeny woofers (especially in the $2500 range); most lack the raw punch and air moving capability required to adequately reproduce the emotional impact of live rock music.
Rock is not about retrieving subtle nuances and throwing out focused holographic images at 90db.
My Monitor audio silver 9i do Rock way better because of their "forewardness" compared to my Epos "imaging champs". You have to think that BIG "drivers" are better in this case. The DeCapo's may actually be a good choice if you really want a monitor type speaker as they play like a big speaker. Failing on the monitor style means that you will just have to try some bigger candidates. I personally love the sound of dynaudio but I'm not sure if that will give you what you want. Certainly I remember the first time I heard Dark side of the moon (~1974)on some classic JBL's with 12 inch drivers. The heartbeat i heard wasn't duplicated for 30 years with any of my own speakers!
You should put the Reference 3A mm de Capo on your short list. no crossover---high sensitive (this means rock out) and they handle power like crazy. Great speakers. Better for rock others you mentioned. Great bass by the way.
Let me be the contradictor here .
As the owner of the De Capo i's , I think that they are indeed very nice speakers ! But they were designed , and in my opinion sound their best , with tube amplification .

I also don't think that you will enjoy the JM Labs . I have had the JM Lab/Rotel combination with your type of music .

It has been 2 years now ! What have you done ?
Mark And Daniels Rubys. Just finished a post on them, they are like floor standers in their output, phenonmenal bass and can handle tremendous dynamic passages. I listen to Pink FLoyd, The Who and Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath.
I was very impressed with the Totem MANI-2 Signature. Totem uses Dynaudio drivers. Not many monitors out there that can hit 27hz like these.
Speaking of Mark and Daniels, don't they take a lot of work to sound right. I guess they need a lot of power, and they have to be out in the room a ways to sound their best? Not ideal for most living enviorments. I guess if you get those things worked out, they do sound great. How are they with tubes?