I sit 6 feet from my Merlin VSM-M. Sounds great. Very intimate sounding. used ones should fit in your budget.
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Any of the full range Soundlab electro stats are exceptional in the near field. Reason: they are a full range single element; no crossovers, no need to blend seperate drivers. You can listen to them very close almost like giant headphones. Nearfield listening also has the advantage of minimizing room effects from the back wave of the panels.
Thanks for all the greta suggestions.
I have never heard the Harbeth's but would love to. How would you charcterize their sound? I like a detailed open sounding speaker. I have had e-stats previously and have valued these virtues.
The Refernce 3A is another speaker that is getting raves. These are larger than the MM De Capo??
I heard the Audio Physic's at the NY show, they sounded very good. Also liked Joseph Audio and Triangle.. a very energetic speaker.
Hiflyer, the Harbeths are often compared to electrostatics in their midrange clarity. More dynamic with sufficient power. The AP Virgos would also be a great choice, one you might prefer if imaging and soundstaging are paramount. Only thing is, I think they are kind of deep and you'll need to have them pretty far out into the room.
Re: Sonus Faber Extremas. I listen to mine in the nearfield as far out from the long wall as possible. Speakers and chair form a 7 ft. equilateral triangle. ENORMOUS soundstage, up to 180 deg. with some recordings. No or minimal room effect. The absolute best I've been able to find for my room (12X18). You'll need 200w/ch. though to get the best out of them.
i listen to my acoustat model IIIs about 7-8 feet back and the sound is gigantic. i think these work great close because they beam (one of their drawbacks) and dont interfere with each other. once you find the right position it's heaven. although you'll be doing most of your listening alone. they do sound significantly better at higher rather than lower volumes though but turn these things up and you're there like no other speaker i've heard. you can get a pair of mint acoustats for $1000 and spend the other 4k on prostitutes and cheeze nips...treat yourself.
My Verity Audio Parsifal Encores (front-firing bases) are extraordinarily coherent in the nearfield. "Hey, they're $13k new!" Yup, but the top-half satellites (Parsifal Monitors) cost only $5500 list new!...and measure even flatter in the nearfield (although they roll off below 60Hz). If you could find a used pair of these for around $3k I'd STRONGLY suggest you get 'em! 'Stat-like speed and transparency with GREAT jump-factor. And small, too.
Good luck. Ern
My actual listening area is 12' long by 13' wide with 15' cathedral ceilings!! Dirctly behind this room is a 9' long by 13'wide kitchen. I listen to 90% jazz and female vocals and 10% rock and roll.
Everyone thanks for all the choices. I have some work to do. So far, it looks like the field is harbeth, Audio Physic,Sonus Faber and Merlin.
Will try to hear as many as possible. will report back on my choice.
I compared virgos with sonus fabers.
I really liked the sound of the sonus faber electa amators, but they seemed to really lack dynamic impact. They still sounded wonderful though- with an extremely coherent timbre throughout the range.
The Virgos, which I bought, are also very coherent (a tough goal in the $3000 price range) but had the added bass extension and more of a lively, rhythmic feel.
The difference would be easily recognized in a bruckner symphony, I use Celibidache conducting Munich on EMI. I love the huge brass impact whenever they make thier entrances. With the virgos it was what I wanted, but with the Sonus Faber's I never really felt the excitement the same way. I was actually sort of let down, because the speakers are so nice in every other regard.
wjones, yer experience is why i prefer to buy used & get more bang for the buck. sonus faber extremas, @ $4300 used, may not have let ya down the way the electa amators did. i've heard the *relatively* less-expensive sonus fabers, & got a similar reaction as you - they *were* nice, but i want it *all*! :>) the extremas can give ya that, w/careful ancillary equipment. even used, they're beyond my budget now, but they'd be on my short-list of speakers to audition in that price-range, especially if nearfield listening was contemplated...
hiflyer, it's been a couple years since i've heard the extremas, &, to be honest, i don't remember the specifics re: amplification. i *do* remember they were great, & that they *do* require lotsa juice. yer monoblocs, at 150 per, may be enuff, especially w/nearfield use, but more important than watts is *current* - how many amperes of current can yer amp output? for example, my electrocompaniet aw60ftts that i'm now using, are only 60wpc, 110 into 4 ohms, but they're stable into loads below 0.5 ohms, & put out >60 amps of current... the extremas *do* demand lotsa current to sound their best.
Hiflyer: I use the less expensive Reynaud Twins MKII which work just fine in the near field (they easily out perform my old Rogers Ls3/5a's in all areas including the midrange). The Trente however has a top mounted tweeter (bottom mounted on the Twin). Try contacting Elliot @ Acoustic Image in Studio City, CA as he has had them set up in the near field in his listening room. Maybe it's just my setup, but I do not find it necessary to toe the speakers in when listening in this manner, which is a bit odd I think. If you go to the Reynaud website, it will link you to O.S. Services (the US rep) who can put you in touch with Elliot (he may be listed on the web as well under his business name). I got the impression that Elliot is not only into the music, but into properly matching gear as well and he will give you the straight poop.
tanks, hiflyer! :>) where, by the way, can ewe audition these speakers? i know only of hurricane hi-fi in az, that carries these. the distributor said he'd send me a pair for audition a couple years ago, but i was up-front & told him i could only afford a used or demo pair, & dint want to waste his time (this was for the gnu series III, i've heard the series II). anyway, keep us posted - i tink yule really like 'em!
good luck, doug s.
I just wanted to let you know that I will be purchasing the AP Virgos. They are simply amazing!! I currently own th Odyssey Stratos monoblocks(Symphonic Line) which are supposed to be a good match. Have also heard that tube amps are great with them. Let me know waht you use with your AP Virgos. Can't wait to get them!!!