Best Speaker under $3K - New or Used

In my other thread, I asked about the B&W 804 but I decided to pass on it since it's a 13-year speaker with a high asking price.

Anyhow, it seems I'm going backwards in building my system since I've settled on a Parasound JC2 as the pre-amp. Now I'm back to the drawing board for the choice of speakers. Any reommendation of a great, balance speaker with excellent mid range, sweet and open treble, tight bass under $3K - New or Used, bookshelf or floor stand?

I listen to a wide range of musics, including symphony, chamber, jazz, vocal, light music, pop songs.

FYI, I auditioned the Vandersteen 2CE Sig. II, 3A, Proac Response D2, Studio 140II, 100, Totem Hawk and Totem Mani 2 Sig.

While I read rave reviews about the 2CE Sig. II, I didn't find the clarity and imaging I heard from typical British speakers (ProcAc D2, Harbeth). It might be due to the set up and gears used at the dealer showroom.

Totem Mani 2 Sig. has great bass and imaging to me. Anyone had experience with it? How does it compare to Harbeth, ProAc bookshelfs? Is it neutral, natrual, accurate?

Thanks for your input.
Magnapan 1.7's
" I listened to the Maggie 1.7, 804 Nautilus, and Totem Hawk and like the sound of 804 and Maggie 1.7, which has a bigger sound stage. FYI, I had experience in Hi-Fi 15 years ago and owned the Harbeth HL Compact, Celeston 600Si, Spendor 3/5A, TDL and AE. But I found they all lack performance in bass. This is why I want to get a pair of floor stand speakers."

Thanks for sharing your experience.
R0817 (Threads | Answers | This Thread)

Magnapan 1.7's
I'd get these
Thanks for your suggestions. Magnapan 1.7 and the Coincident Total Exlipse would be too big and tall for my room.
I have had a few pro acs the d15 and D2 as well as the tablette 2000 sig also the vandersteen 2c. I personally prefer the sound of Dynaudio. I have the C4s and have had the audience 42 as well. They have a similar sound and to my ear it is a lot better than pro ac. After all the time I spent with pro ac I have decided I just don't care for the sound. The vandersteen is smooth and boring to me as well. Revel M20 sounds really nice hooked up to a creek destiny integrated in my bedroom as well. Another brand worth considering is Von schweikert. I have had the vr 4 jr and sr and. They are both great sounding speakers for the money. Personally though if I had 3k to spend I would stretch it out a bit and get some Dynaudio C1s.
Merlin tsm`s. Natural, neutral, accurate. Perfect description.
Apogee mini grands. There's a pair for sale on AGON for $2500.
New 1.7 Magnepan.
Used 3.6 Magnepan
Magnepan are an aquired taste.
Many folks love them. Some hate them.
For thosw whom it is a love affair.. the 3.6 is the best bet used right now.
Plenty of good ones out there...
I own magnepan 3.6 i bought new two years ago..
Event Opals
Do you have the ability to audition speakers in your area? I'm a fan of Harbeth. I also love everything Totem, but I haven't heard any Totem's since I bought my Harbeth's. Honestly, you're going to spin in circles with this if you can't audition locally. Please, please try and find a way to do this through a local dealer. You're speaker lineup is awesome. They're all good, but I'm going to tell you to look at Harbeth's because I dumped my money on them and I want everyone to love them because of that. Even the person that owns a Parasound JC is going to convince you that his speakers are perfect, even if they're not. You might have wall to wall carpet and he may have hardwoods. Let the Parasound JC2 salesman give you suggestions. That's what they're good at.

My suggestion is to build a local relationship with your dealer. I'm not a dealer (not even close), but I've found that the easiest way to save money is to buy new. After intensive listening, reading, posting on Agon etc.. you'll be at a point where you know what you want and you can buy used without even thinking about it. This is a serious hobby. Buy new until you figure it out. You're local dealer will have your back. (at least mine does).
I like Parasound products as well and I have been happy with Dynaudio Contour S1.4, and C 1 (35Hz-22kHz). I am also a fan of Volent CL-2 and VL-2 (30Hz-57kHz). I am hoping to get to listen to the LSA-1 Statements (30Hz-34kHz). These are all highly respected and easy to read reviews on them. The type of music you like is also the type they excel at. Your actual listening and system integration will tell the final story.

If you cannot hear them first I would not let that deter you from buying. They can be sold without too much if any loss if they do not please you. Well reviewed pieces of gear are always in demand.
The Vapor Breeze is well under your $3000 price at $1250, but it uses very high end components. RAAL 70-10D up high and the Wavecor 6" symmetric drive Nomex cone. After hearing them in Chicago a few weeks ago, your comments on needing clarity and imaging made me respond with the Breeze suggestion. It's a smaller monitor, but your music choices seem like a perfect fit.
Maggie 3.6 if you have a little space and power. Very good speaker under 10k. Jallen
Mirage OMD-28. I s'pose it's cheating because it was a $7500/pair loudspeaker, but it's available on closeout for $2800/pair from, new with return privileges and full factory warranty. When Chris Martens reviewed these at full price in 2007 he bought the review pair to use as his reference. I have their little brother, the OMD-15 and I feel that the OMD-15 is every bit the equal of the Magnepan 1.7. The OMD-28, however, uses far more sophisticated driver materials, is larger, and has bass that extends strongly to around 26 Hz.
Gallo Reference 3 or 3.1. I've had mine for 7 years and am now in the process of upgrading within the Gallo product line. Superb speakers, IMHO. Can be had for $1200-1500 used. The new Gallo Stradas with floor-mount stand+ TR-3 subwoofer are real contenders at the $3K MSRP price point. Check the review at 6moons.
This will be on the low end of the budget, but I'll thow in a vote for a used set of Martin Logan Aerius i. If you're concerned about imaging and clarity, you won't find much better, and you should be able to find them for under $1000. It would free up some change to improve your other components. I would give them a chance.
I just got a pair of mint DCM time windows for $250.00.for a backup system. My mains are Magenpans. Nothing at even over $3000.00 will beat the time windows .It took me several months to find a mint pair ,but it is doable.I am using a vintage Marantz 1070 to drive, and the sound is unbelievable for the $$$ . My back-up system is now my main system.
PS Spica TC 50 's are worth a look.
"about the 2CE Sig. II, I didn't find the clarity and imaging I heard from typical British speakers"

My Sig IIs were somewhat veiled in the midrange at first (much like what Art Dudley wrote about in Stereophile). Break-in, set-up, and (especially) cables really opened up the midrange. The newest iteration is said to have a new midrange driver, the woven cone from the 5A. I haven't heard it but presume it has greater transparency.

Regarding imaging, I'm surprised by your comment because I find the Vandy's to throw as big of a soundstage as any speaker I've heard (that list includes stuff like TAD Ref Ones and Avalon Ascent) with stable, palpable images. Years ago, I owned Chartwell monitors and still have B&W DM12s in a secondary system. To my ears, the Sig IIs are better than those British montiors in every parameter I can think of. Never heard a ProAc or Harbeth, tho'.

Also, Ayre is a great match with Vandersteen.
I would take a long look at the Zu Soul Superfly's. They absolutely disappear when properly placed with killer tone, fantastic dynamics, no phase or timing issues because there's no crossover and can be driven by just about every amp that was ever made so the world is your oyster.
Aerial 10t or 7b might be worth a look. very good at almost everything and at bargain basement prices. 3k will get you 10t's and if they are to big...2k will easily get you a nice set of 7b's.
By far -- the Coincident Total Eclipses... They image great, have great versatility (tube or SS amps), and great dynamics (and low end bass)...hell, at $5K they would still be the best (used price). Just my opinion...oh, and another good one...Legacy Focus 20/20...again, great value and competes (performs) w/ big buck speakers.
There's a nice clearance sale right now at Audio Advisor on the MartinLogan Source, at $1347.50/pr + shipping (new), and the MartinLogan Vista, at $2999/pr + shipping (new). I haven't heard them, but they would certainly be among those I would want to consider in that price range. Both models were discontinued by the manufacturer not too long ago, I believe.

The cost of amplification that would do justice to them might be an issue, though.

Good luck in your search. Regards,
-- Al
Audition the Salk Songtower with the RAAL tweeter or the GoldenEar Technologies Triton Two.
Luvs2listen cracks me up on his post. He is the one who helped design the Vapor Audio Breeze and brought them to Chicago. He is self promoting his own product here. I know it's an old post but there is bad blood between me and Vapor Audio after buying a set of speakers from them. Nobody knew who this guy was until the cat was out of the bag. It's unfortunate the company has to stoop this low.
certainly not sacrelige to mention these:

Not sure how close they will come to your $3k limit, but definitly not a shameless plug...
Seriously Jpl, bump up a 9 month old thread for that? Using this forum as your personal toilet is getting old. You and 2-3 others that have nothing to do with anything worked awfully hard to get the last Vapor Audio thread deleted, along with the testimonials of 15-20 happy customers.

Your motivation at this point seems like nothing more than a personal vendetta.

I'll just say again for the record that I'm a 110% satisfied Vapor Audio customer. The Cirrus has ended a decade long search for speakers I can completely enjoy with all music.
It's getting old. Real old.

Get yourself an attorney and close the piehole.
Find an old pair of castle winchesters buy them and enjoy for many many years and if you dont like them I will buy them from you, they will be under $3000 but hard to find as nobody will let them go.Vienna acoustic bach grand there is a pair on audiogon right now for $800 obo a fantastic price so smooooooth! as you can tell I like smooth detailed sound which these speakers are if you like forward sounding in your face speakers these are not for you.Happy hunting trust your ears not what I say or anybody else as these are suggestions on what we like and you may not.
Is the OP still on a search?, or are our suggestions going into thin air?
Right at $3k, the Revel Performa F-52's are worthy of your consideration set. I would second the Aerial 10-T recco above as well.
I would look at Merlin and Dunlavy.