Best Speaker New or Used under $1.5K


Hello all,
I've been reading reviews all day long and never quite found what I'm looking for and now very confused. I recently purchased the Arcam AVR 300 and have Pardigm Ref. Studio 20's and CC with a little pair of Tannoys for the rear (they were free). I use my system 50/50 music and movies. As for music, I'm an old rocker growing up with Hendrix, Clapton, Allman Brothers, etc. now listen to Dave Mathews, Sara Mclauglin,etc...and will always listen to Stevie Ray. I'm looking to upgrade the speakers and would really appreciate your input. Starting with the mains? and maybe the CC? Thanks All.
denon53
It would help if we had a little more information to go on. Do you want to replace all 5 speakers for $1500? What is wrong with the Paradigm Studio 20's you have right now (they're good speakers for the price)? What change are you looking for in the sound?

Michael
Dynaudio... neutral, fast, and transparent. Look into the 1.3SE's used or a if you bump a little higher $$ you can look at the 1.4's used. The 52SE's are great sounding as well.
Ok, well, my system is in the living room which is aprox. 14'x 18' with standard 8' ceiling. I am looking to replace just the two main paradigms for the time being, then the center channel paradigm and last but not least the rear tannoys. I am also going to be upgrading my Harman Kardon DVD player, probably to an Arcam. I guess when I got the Arcam avr300 I was hoping to hear more transparency with more depth and imaging. I keep reading about Totems and other speakers and the person will talk about how the speakers seems to disappear and leave just the music. I hope I'm making myself a bit more clear as to what I'm trying to accomplish.
The Dynaudios are alittle bit out of my budget range. Any other suggestions? I'm open to all opinions. I live in San Jose, Ca. so I do have many Audio Stores for auditioning :)
Denon 53:

Finding a good speaker at your price level shouldn't be the problem ... identifying what you like in a speaker is usually the problem. I recognize up front that my tastes are somewhat different, as I tend not to care for some of the more popular choices around here. With that said, I would suggest taking a look at:

NHT ST4 floorstanders ($1000 list). This speaker is actually 2 speakers in one ... their SB3 sealed box design monitor integrated with a side firing 8" woofer. I had been using a pair of the less expensive SB2's in a bedroom system and decided to pair the NHT's up with my Prima Luna Prologue Two tube amp for a while. I never heard warmer; more detailed; and more nuanced sound from a system. (I use Omega Super 3's now, which are high efficiency, single driver systems made for tube amps, not recommended for Arcams). The NHT's made it back to the bedroom and a vintage Marantz receiver ... not an ideal match, but more than OK ... NAD is slighlty better though.

The other speakers that have really captured my attention (and imagination and if I am not careful, wallet) are somewhat out of your price range. They are made by Focus Audio ... its is their Signature Product line ... FS68 ($2000/pair monitor) and FS78 ($3000 pair floorstander). Simply magical.

There's no best speaker. You have a very good receiver, just find what mates well with it.

Regards, Rich
Interesting. There are a number of good choices. First I've owned several pair of Paradigm and always ending up feeling bored. I have just acquired a pair of Bohlender Z7's on 'Gon for a silly price and they are unreal for the $$. If you like to rock, can't beat some classic Klipsch (Forte's, Quartets, Heresy's) they drive real easy too. PSB has some outstanding values in their Image series. Good places to start. Good Luck
I bet you could get a good deal on a pair of Soliloquy's... I hear that they are out of busines...
I also listen to your taste in music. I have a pair of Tyler acoustics ref monitors and they do the job extremely well. You can pick them up used for about $1000 and new for $1800. They are monitors and have good bass for their size, but if you want deep base, a sub-woofer is needed.
I had the Paradigm Ref 60's and upgraded to Merlin TSM-M's which I purchased used (can be found around $1200 used). I still use Studio 20's for the rears, and Studio CC and was worried that the TSM-M's would not blend in well with the Paradigms when watching movies/TV. It worked out much better than expected and I'm quite happy.

I have a good subwoofer so I don't have a problem with the lower frequencies. The TSM-M's will not improve much on the low end of your Studio 20's, but will improve in every other aspect.
A couple of good options also. There are surprisingly good speakers under $1500.00. I've owned 2 pair of Soliloquy's, while rather nice I found them a tad uninvolving. Good used Klipsch can be found quite reasonable-horns are horns though. Meadowlark Kestrels2's are another option, that company is kaput but made great speakers.
Hello Gents, so far so good, I am making a list of these recommendations to check out when I have some spare time. I did forget to mention that I do have a Sub, HSU VTF2 V.2 for those really deep notes and explosions. As much as I've read previous to posting this question, I am kind of surprisded that no one has mentioned, Totem, Focal, Canton. So far the Bohlender Z7 or Tyler Acoustics may be the best bang for the buck. ??????
Great sub!!! Just sold mine ONLY to get the matching Zsub. I just listened to everything from SRV, Roy Clark to early Bee Gees on the Z7's am I'm still floored. The planer tweeter is something else, hey just sold a custom pair of meadowlark ospreys to keep these. Call me crazy, but I know what i like.
Hello Beernut, it sounds like you really love the Z7's. I wrote to a dealer earlier today and he said he has one pair left in Black, he'd let them go for $500.00. One question, do these speakers have to sit far from a back wall to sound their best? I don't have alot of room so I am in need a speakers that can sit maybe a foot at most from the back wall. Thanks for all your input Beernut.
Hello
I just did a quick check to see what's on sale used here within your price range. Here are some winners!

PSB Stratus Gold i
Can't go wrong at this price. I had them and loved them..will rock the house, never sloppy. No sub required, may last forever.

Vandersteen 2ce sigs. I had them here too, great full range, no sub required.

Meadowlark Kestral II
Fast, articulate, beautiful, you will need that sub. Had them here too.

Magnepan 1.6 qr, requires some power, never had them here but...

Triangle Antel ES..never even listened to these but , within your reach.

Spendor S5e, great reviews! Sub required.

good luck!!
Hey, Shoe provided some fine choices, I like them all. The Z7's are very room friendly. I think you'd be fine, plus they have a small footprint. I've owned PSB, Audio Physic, Vandersteen, Meadowlark Kestrels and Ospreys, Mirage, Klipsch-blah, blah, blah. I am as impressed with the Z7's as anything. That's me. At that price you won't believe the sound.Probably the same place I got mine in cherry finish. The $$ you save you can get a sweet little integrated or cd and be very happy.
Beernut
Paradigm 100 V3's, Vandy 2ce Sigs (love these), Magnepan 1.6qr's (needs big amp), see if you can find some of the Powered Paradigm 40's from a few years back. Great sounding rock speaker, and you don't need an amp.
Good choices also Macdad. The 'Steens offer tremendous value. Maggies are nice but our friend has space issues and maggies need room to breath. I must admit to being a 2 channel guy, never heard music done right in surround. My suggestions were purely from the musical aspect. As mentioned before PSB offers great bang for the $$ in the Image series. Owned a pair and couldn't believe the sound. But like many of us-always searching for the holy grail. Axiom also is another consideration-high value ratio there. Confused enough? he he
Hey Beernut, I apreciate all your input. It sounds like we have similar tastes, when it comes to music, I prefer 2 channel also. Yes I am getting alittle confused but I like all the suggestions. I am slowly going through the list. I'm torn between between having bookshelf type speakers because of space and floor standing types becuase of better sound. Ok all, what is a good stand mounted speaker that has the fullness of floor standing?
PSB Stratus Gold i's- stop your search. You can get these used in immaculate shape for around 1K. That leaves you 500.00 left for your center.
Hello Krelldog and Shoe,,, since I already own a good sub, what do you think about the PSB Stratus Mini vs. The Goldi? Wouldn't it sound as good except for the lower frequencies?
Hello Denon
Yes you are right, it would sound almost as good, except for the bass. Now to confuse you even more...I would guess that you would rather have some high quality monitors or how about a
Slim floorstander? The JM Labs Cobalt 816 S
can be bright in the wrong room but phenominal in the right room and with some decent equipment. If you have a dealer near you give them a listen. Immediate, dynamic, highly detailed and image very very well.
Denon, IMHO opinion there isn't a small speaker that sounds big-doesn't work. The issue with monitors and subs is integrating the 2 which isn't as easy as most people think. I have owned the Stratus Mini's-great small speaker. If you wanted to go that route it would be at the top of my list. Stratus Gold is great too-however quite large and HEAVY. I have decided to go with floor standers and sub to fill the bottom octaves, works for me. Don't forget, your monitors will require good stands($$) and will still occupy the same footprint. Really, the Z7's are silly good. Next to them the Image series of PSB are great for the $$-lively and full sounding. Good Luck and remember-our hobby is fun.
Beernut
Green Mountain Audio Europa's at $1K/pair new would be my choice as they are certianly going to be more listenable on your older rock recordings due to the time/phase accuracy of the speakers. Whatever speaker you purchase, listen to them with your old Hendrix records, not just audiophile pressings. Most speakers do audiophile well.....only a handfull do Hendrix well. Good luck.
I second Songwriter72. Go with Green Mountain and never look back.
Songwriter72 and Elsneb,,, will the Europas be ok with a Solid State Receiver? It seems most of the review I've read have them attached to tube amps.
I have 200 watts of solid state power and they sound very good. But you know whats great about them? Because of the time/phase coherancy they sound good on pretty much ANY amp. I have used mine with:
An old Citation 24
A newer Arragon amp
My son's Aiowa all in one system ( $200.00 at Costco).....and yes....they still sounded pretty good.......who'd a thunk it?
No worries. These speakers are sure to impress.
Hi Denon
When you finally decide what to get let us know, I was really getting into this topic!
Last fall I picked up a pair pair of Revel Performa F 30's. they may fall within your budget, They are big heavy and bulky but the best I've had yet.
IMO, Green Mountain speakers sound good with all equipment. They are very neutral. If the recording is bad, it will sound like a bad recording. If it is good, it will sound very good. I also found after buying Green Mountain, I wanted to upgrade my equipment to meet the performance level of the speakers. Every addition was only better. Very enjoyable process.
Ok Gentlemen,,, What are your thoughts about the Triangle Titus 202's which Stereophile Magazine Raved about and put it their B category?
Hello All, I haven't had any responses to my last question. I'm afraid I have burned everyone out on this topic. Please know that I greatly appreciate all you of comments and suggestions. It was very helpful in my decision making process and I learned a few things also. Thank you.
Hey Denon, we haven't lost interest- you don't listen to us!!! Just kidding. I've never heard the Triangles but have read the reviews. Personally, I try not buying french made products. That's the old Military in me. Nonetheless, you have many great choices in your price range, the Green Mountain products are first rate too. Look for some Kestrels also. Very good sounding with all types of music. If you still rock, again PSB Image series offers some great values. Good Luck in your search.
Hey Beernut, I have listen to everything all of you have had to say, Especially YOUR comments, I enjoyed it very much, you made me laught more than once. I am not all that kind on the French either, I'm X Navy. But I had an unexpected expense and had to use my speaker money for that purpose. So I had to revamp my strategy. Everything I've read about these Triangles is good and they are relatively cheap. When I get another Windfall, I will do this all over again. I alsost went with the Green Mountains but they aren't bi ampable. I have all the suggestions written down for further reference.
Well Guys, I lost out on the Triangle Titus Auction so I'm back to square one, Bummer. The Green Mountain's aren't bi ampable, the Kestrel's are too big. I guess I'm going to have to save up more money and start looking once again. Thanks guys for all your Help.
Have you looked at Morelusa, especially the Morel 705 they are $1,550 a pair new. Also they have a complete HT line up when finance’s permit it
Great News!!!!!!!!!
A salesperson from an Audio Store, Upscale Audio, in S. Calif.
called me back this evening and had one pair of Triangle Titus 202's left. I got a great deal and I should have them by Tuesday. I hope they are as good as everyone has said. We'll See! :) Thank you for all your input, it was greatly appreciated!