totem winds or sharmans
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Eggleston Andra-2 Speakers (used)- two woofers, two midranges, and a Dynaudio Esotar tweeter per channel. powerful but sweet trebles. you should have bought my pair (they were mint). all the good reviews of them should be fairly convincing as well. BTW you can get a pair for LESS than $10K even though they are worth it.
In my humble opinion, there's no way anyone can answer that question.
Since the speakers are last in the chain from source to your ears, every component in this chain affect the outcome of the perceived sound from the speakers.
I heard Wilson's WAMM setup in a audio store that sounded terrible, and I heard Martin Logan's electrostatics setup in a home that sounded amazing (mine ;-).
Unfortunately gone are the days of the boutique audio store where I could take home a set of speakers for a week to audition them before deciding to buy them or not (good 'ole days, sighh).
Speakers are in the same class (but more so) as most of the equipment in the audio chain: totally subjective opinions as to who likes/dislikes a particular link in the chain.
You know... I see good threads initiated all the time that receive no response. But heres someone seeking advise that there are so many solutions for that its truly nonsensical. How many $20,000 speakers ($10k used = $20k) can meet the subjective criteria: visceral punch & wont rip your head off?
Answer: All of them!
I know how petulant I must sound but...Arghhh!
Speakers preferences are subjective by nature and unfortunately the only way to even get a less than ideal way to audition them in a variety of venues. The usual suspects are the few B&M stores, the big shows, other audio people's homes, free trial periods etc.
That said when you asked for visceral punch I thought of the classic brands like Cerwin Vega always a bass monster, JBL driven with adequate power etc. You know that the amp you use plays a very important role in determining which speaker you can use. If you use an amp capable of visceral power to pump up the punch that power amp is a is a prerequisite. Sweet high are also frequently an amp factor as well, Modern tube power amps are not the sloopy oozing blob of loopy sounding dark highs anymore. As an experienced audio guy I doubt that I am telling you something you didn't already know.
I will say in all seriousness that the Japanese speakers seem to be marking inroads, with better speakers and the highend JBL never let up although have yet to return to their former glory. Cerwin Vega is also still in business but I haven't heard one in years, the prices a right, that's for sure
Your asking the perrenial quest for many of us are trying to achieve. We want a big Krell KSA powering the woofers with their enormous current reserves and a tube amp, modern or even old style on top. Evidently this is easier said than donw requiring an external crossover. I suppose some really kick ass monitors with a musical fast subwoofer could do the trick just get a pair of subs to maintain the imaging in the relatively high frequences you are asking of your system.
I have owned C4's/N800/Andra's/Sanus Faber/Aerial/Uno's
And dozens of others. Maybe I did not define exactly the advice I was seeking. Sorry.
A speaker while sitting 12-15 feet away with a 100 watt amplier is capable of moving air to your chest, and still maintaining a stable sound stage and natural tonal balance.
Thanks again Curleyques
Vandersteen 5As, no doubt. They are phase-copherent across the band, use excellent drivers and design, and the powered-bass system is EXCELLENT for definition, power. and extention...as in below 20Hz. The bass system is also tuneable to remove most of the peaks and valleys from 120Hz down that occur in virtually all our listening rooms.
At c. 87dB sensitivity, they do need power, but that's easy--merely connect them to a pair of McCormack DNA-750s.
I sure do love mine...both the 5As and the '750s...and can't imagine ever replacing them.
in response to the ANDRA I VS ANDRA II question, the 2's have better bass, the woofers sit higher off the floor, and the transition from woofer to midrange is much improved due to new crossovers. the 2's look better, too. you can place them just about anywhere.
OTOH i did get to hear a pair of Focal Mezzo Utopias and they sounded wonderful (driven by a Rowland amplifier), but they don't have the dynamic potential of the Egg's. also, the Vandy's have a good reputation; i am not sure what you would have to pay for them. nor are they clothed in Italian granite.
but never having heard them, i have to assume from other owners that they are superb speakers.
"Hi Josh. Visceral to who, you or Curleyques? Visceral is a very personal effect."
Hi Phaelon. That's a pretty widespread description. The dynamics in that price range typically have more bass slam. Whether this matters to someone is a matter of personal tastes. I assumed by what Curleyques said that it was one of his main priorities. But, of course, you're right -- it's subjective and it might be that he would be delighted with the bass performance with the big Maggies (the big Sound Labs are a bit out of his price range). They are no slouch in the bass, good to 25 Hz, and will beat all but very large dynamics.
My personal attitude of course is who cares, you can always add a sub, or the Maggie woofer. :-) And I much prefer the naturalism of planar bass. I haven't heard the 20.7, but the smaller 3.7 has superb bass performance.
Not sure what your personal tastes and tendencies are, but of all the speakers I've auditioned over the past three years during my own upgrade search there are three speakers that stood out on top that would qualify.
1) Revel Ultima2 salon or studio. Hands down one of the best speakers I've auditioned
2) NOLA Baby Grand. Spectacular. Superb speaker and a soundstage to die for with an open baffle design.
3) Wilson Sasha. Sounded just right.
I auditioned B&W 802 diamonds also and I'd rate them my #4. At this level these speakers are all truly magnificent. It's about what nuances or WAF you prefer.
And just to be clear, the Revel Ultima Salon2 bass slam and extension made my jaw drop. The bass drums in Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man in my collection was amazing. Played other classical and soundtrack pieces. Hands down best bass slam. And it wasn't just slam--it was incredibly clean and tight bass.