Dyanudio Excite X12 (I'm selling a demo pair)
Focal 807 W Prestige (they are on special for 40% off retail everywhere)
Paradigm Monitor 9 (latest version)
I sell (and display) the Venere 1.5 and think they are a great bookshelf speaker too.
A pair of gently used Gallo Reference 3.1s is very hard to beat. Google THE reviews, they are universally lauded for their exceptional sound quality.
You can find them here on Agon for $1400 - $1700 pair quite often and they are truly world-class speakers...
Thanks for the ideas. How much are you selling the X12 demos for?
Wow, those do get great reviews, thanks.
The Magnepan Super MMG (two MMG panels plus a DWM woofer panel) come in at $1295. I'd also take a serious look at the LSA 2.1 floorstanding speakers. LSA has changed their business model from retail network to Internet Direct and has dropped the price on this speaker from $2800 to $1299
At $2K I'm presently teetering on the fence between an LSA 2.1 Signature ($1999) or Magnepan 1.7 ($1995).
Since you have already found a speaker that you love, your on the right track as to what you like. So I suggest you go and listen to other brands similar to the SF Venere 1.5 to narrow down your preference and find the absolute right speaker for you.
The Venere 1.5 has a soft dome tweeter and 6" woofer. Other speakers that are similar in driver configuration and material would be the already mentioned and excellent Dynaudio X12. Also, consider the slightly larger X16 or the bookshelf models in the next range down, the DM 2/6 & DM 2/7. Last, I would also be sure to listen to Vienna Acoustic Haydn Grands, another speaker similar to driver construction and configuration of the Venere 1.5. Have fun!
One of the very best speaker's at its price on the market today is the outstanding Polk LSIm 703 which has been recently compared to and sounds very similar to Sonus Faber. In a recent review a pair of Anthem 1000 watts per channel mono Class D amps were used on the 703's with a pair of Sonus Faber's in the same room. The speaker's go down to 35 hertz and produce very powerful bass and sound their best with a high powered amp. What makes the Polk's so special is the Orth crossover network designed by Polk Engineer Scott Orth, who holds a degree in Acoustical Engineering. The 703 is a true three way design and is only $1500.00 a pair.
Thanks for all the good suggestions. Wow, I've now tried quite a few different speakers. Fun but also stressful! I've tried B&W, Paradigm, Magnepan (few different models), Dynaudio X12, Audio Monitor RX6 (surprisingly underwhelmed), Vandersteen (1ci - also underwhelmed), and today I just tried the Martin Logan Motion 20. I keep wanting to like a floorstanding speaker, but keep coming back to the Sonus Faber Venere 1.5. I would say my second favorite was the Dynaudio X12. However, today, I was really surprised with the quality of the Martin Logan Motion 20; caveat on that - Magnolia (Best Buy) is including a ML subwoofer for free if you buy the Motion 20 or 40. I have to say that the Motion 20 with the ML subwoofer sounded great! Anyone else hear these? I have a relatively small living room - 11 by 16 - so not sure if I want to go with the big monitor or the small floorstanding. Thoughts on the Martin Logan Motion series welcome. Thanks!
I listened to the Motion 40 a couple weeks ago and was really impressed with its
speed and neutrality. Those Heil-type folded ribbons are very nice--clean and
extended with none of the harshness you get from overshoot and oil-canning
with some dome tweeters when pushed hard. They have a small footprint and
have very nice cabinetry. I like perforated metal grilles as they protect the drivers
better. All I would have wished for is a bit more bass extension and it looks like
the complimentary sub would take care of that.
Thanks for the reply. Agree. I listened to both the 20s and the 40s. I have a pretty small living room, so the 20s should do fine. Do you think these would pair well with either the Rogue integrated amps - Sphinx or Cronus (that's the direction I'm going - starting from scratch)?
You haven't really specified what it is you like so much about the 1.5s or what's important to you from a sound reproduction standpoint so tough to make specific recommendations. I demoed the 2.5s in my system so I probably have a good idea of what the 1.5s sound like sans some bass. But just for some others worth consideration...
The Silverline Preludes are certainly a popular option in that price range, and I'll throw in Golden Ear and Epos as well that would be worth a listen. If you have a Nola dealer nearby the Boxer would also be a great speaker to hear. There's a pair of Joseph Audio RM25si Signatures for sale that you might be able to negotiate down close to $1500 -- imo they would blow the 2.5s out of the water let alone the 1.5s. There's also a pair of Reference 3A Decapos for sale in this price range as well, and I'd take those way before the 1.5s as well. But then again it all comes down to personal preferences, and if the 1.5s really do it for you that's what matters most. Hope this helps and best of luck.
Another speaker to look at is the KEF LS50 Anniversary. Recently did a demo and the sound was impressive. If I decide to downsize my Media Room system (which doesn't have the real estate to support Maggies or Martin Logan's)I would likely pull the trigger on these. (For the curious, I'm running B&W 805Ds through an Ayre AX-7e)
If you have slightly more budget, B&W CM8s have a great sound, are floor standers that can fit within a narrow space, and have a great fit & finish for the money. Hope this helps.
I recently listened to Spendor and Dynaudio. Don't forget about Spendor, very nice speaker. I have the small S3/5 in small 11 X 12 space, and they are excellent. The one I heard at the store was a 3/1 R2, just a little bigger than mine. Very nice indeed, but may be pushing your price range if buying NEW.
Try to give the Spendor 3/5R2 a listen. They are in your price range. I had the 3/5's years ago and thought they were a great little speaker!
I would consider A pair of Pre owned Vandersteen 2CE Sig 2s they may catch you with their out of the box lower profile baffle less enclosure which is most likely what you like about small mini monitors.
Yet they will dig deeper into the bass offer a smoother more enjoyable in room response
add to that they are phase and time correct, Made in USA with great coaching on setup, support etc.
Vandy dealer for over 20 years.
Well, thanks to all for great suggestions. In the last month, I've gone to 6 different hi-fi stores, some 2 or 3 times. I've auditioned many - maybe most - of the suggestions here. It's so hard to compare apples to apples (different size rooms, different amplifiers, etc.). In the end, I narrowed it down to the Martin Logan Motion 20s and Totem Sttafs. I use the word "captivating" to describe the Sttafs, though I've learned that they're not for everybody's taste. They are truly a very musical speaker. A little weak, admittedly, on the low end, but overall in the $1500-2000 range they turned out to be my favorite. Love the natural, laid back sound, and they seem very fast and responsive. If need be, maybe I'll add a sub at some point. I will again say that no one should sell the ML Motion 20s or 40s short - they are great speakers for the price. I got an excellent deal on the Sttafs, btw. Now, my final challenge to put my system together - speaker cables! SUGGESTIONS? I don't really want to spend much more than $200. My amp is the Rogue Cronus (not the Magnum version), if that matters (and I know some swear it does). Thanks for being kind to this novice...