Best speakers for 2000-USED

I'd like some suggestions on speakers. Are there any high quality speakers out there that really excell at producing a very big and very 3 dimensional atmosphere for around $2000 -USED. Good tight bass (hearing detail in an acoustic bass in jazz), timbre and smooth detail are also very important. I listen at moderate levels although I sometimes like to really fill up the room with music as long as it remains smooth and clear and not start to get edgy or harsh. My tastes in music range from rock to jazz to pop to symphonies to blues, with more of a emphasis on guitar pieces; artists like R.E.M., James Taylor, The Beatles, Acoustic Alchemy, B.B. King, Pat Matheny, Mannheim Steamroller, Lynard Skynard, Dave Crusin, Dianna Krall,Micheal Hedges, Mark Knopfler- Dire Straits, Heart, ZZ Top. I'm trying to get that sence of presence and 3 dimensionality I get with good headphones.
Citation 7.1 amp (4 x 150)-will bi-amp or bridge to
2 x 450-Which is best?
Adcom GTP-750 Pre-amp-another Citation 7.1 in the sys.
for movies
CD player:
Luxman DZ-111 (old 16-bit dual DAC unit
Cambrige Audio D500-SE
P.S. I don't drive and there's no audio places within 20-plus miles so I don't get much of a chance to audition. Also; I haven't been in the market for audio equipment for the last 12 years so I'm not up on what's out there that's new and exciting and what's mid to high quality nowadays
Say, today's hifi market is much different than 12 years ago. The secondary market is huge because of the internet and there are several great vendors of used equipment. That said, you can buy speakers,audition them in your home, then resale them if you don't care for them. I've ownerd several speakers over the last 1.5 years and I've lost less than $100 on any pair by resaling them on this site.

(Caution, shipping can be expensive on large speakers)

You will need to first decide if you want floorstanding or stand mounted monitor speakers. Both have benefits. Monitors generally image a bit better and provide a huge soundstage, whereas floorstander generally have a little fuller sound and generally produce more bass. You may need a subwoofer if you choose a monitor. Personally, I prefer monitors, but that's just my style. I could never even suggest that one is better than the other for your application.

So, if I had $2000 "burning a hole in my pocket" I would look for a pair of used speakers from Tyler Acoustics, Dynaudio, Silverline or possible the new Triangle Celius(new for $1995) among others. I would be patient, keep my eyes open for a good deal, then jump on them. If I listened for a couple of weeks/months and they didn't move me, I would resale them on this site and start over again. However, you may find that you love your first pair, and stop there! I've bought many great speakers for 50% of list or less and all were in excellent condition.

Have Fun,

Magnapan 3.6's
Great advice from Reubent, but I would try and stay with some more sought after companies also if resale is to be an option if you don't care for them. I would have to add B&W to the list for your styles of music. They play everything from heavy metal to jazz to synphony with great results. Remember to keep your objective clear and always have fun buying and trying. Happy listening!
I'd consider the Triangle Lyrr ($3700 new, about $2000 used). See review at
I second the Magnepan recommendation, but if they are too big and bulky a used pair of Thiels has phenomenal imaging as well.
The 7.1 is a nice amp. I'd go with a pair of Apogee Duetta Signatures full range ribbons (~$1400). Then get a Marchand electronic x-over (~$300...if you can find one)with a 400 HZ module. The Duettas then can be actively bi-amped. The 7.1 makes it a snap! This setup will be fantastic for the type of music you like.
I am going to suggest a monitor, the Dynaudio 1.3 MkII. They have all of the qualities that you are requiring plus a very smooth high frequency response and excellent driver integration. If you really like to ROCK a decent sub may also be required but with much of the music that you listed I think that you could avoid it. Many people don't mind the small lack of bass quantity in these speakers because the bass quality is so excellent. It is worth a try and the Dyn's have great resale. The Taylor's mentioned are also a good recommendation and you may be pleased with B&W 805's. If you want that expansive sound stage where the speakers just fold up into the music then monitors are the way to go. I prefer the Dynaudio 1.3 Se but it is considerably more expensive. But it was worth it. I just don’t get to eat lunch out for the next two years to offset the over spent speaker budget. Dale
Then again there is the Vandersteen 3a & 3a Signature, both well under $2K.
There have been a number of pairs of Snell C/Vs on the market lately. They are superb floorstanders.
proac response 2 or 2s. about 1000 to 1500 used. use the rst to by some music.
Hi. You may be able to purchase Gallo Nucleus Reference speakers at this price point. Good luck! -Sam
It would appear that I can't have my cake and eat it too, such a shame. There's nothing quite like the intro to Dire Staits "Money For Nothing" on an old pair of Cerwin Vega's with 15" woofers. The drum rolls are so real and involving, the excitment generated is tangible. Conversely, I can remember hearing Mason Williams on a big pair of Megnapan's long ago and getting the feeling that Mason was right there in the room with me. Being at such opposite ends of the spectrum, any attempt to find a middle ground is still going to be a serious compromise. So I guess I'll have to go with Mason on this one and forgo that thump in the chest with each snap of the drum,.......Pity
Can I still get at least a little poke now and then?
Thiel 3.6's are my favs. They do alot of things exceptionally well, image really well, nice bass, crystal clarity. They are extremely uncolored and put out what you put in. They will rock and acoustic guitar is very immediate and real. Snare drums snap with great decay. IMO they are unbeatable for 2K used or even 4K new for everything they do right. Good luck in your decision...
Say811, that is not true. Although we speak of compromise the distance is not that great. Music played on Cerwin Vega's may have visceral impact but the quality will make your ears bleed. There are some speakers that are made for what you want. Legacy makes some speakers that seem to be created just for rock ( Although some say that you will have to make some reasonable modifications to make them sound good ). Speaker sound quality has moved so much higher than the cheap sound of a set of Cerwin Vega's with 15's. You need to get out there and hear some of this stuff mentioned. Now it may be that your preference for music and the tune of your minds memory of how you like to hear music may prefer the Cerwin Vega sound. That would be great. Then you get off cheap and the search is over. I used to feel that way about the standard Infinity line. But I think that you are in line for a real eye opener. Let us know Dale
Good luck finding Maggie 3.6s for $2000. Anything under
$3000 would be a good bargain.
How about NEW for under $2000-! I had a pair of the Magnapan 1.6's and they will give a HUGE 3-D soundstage with an almost live sound! Great snap and punch! There are of course 2 provisions to getting this great sound 1) you need PLENTY of power, which you have. I would bridge the amp, and bi-wire. Just make sure that in the bridged mode that the amp is happy with a 4 ohm load. The Maggies are almost a flat resistive load so this presents less of a problem the some other 4 ohm speakers which can dip to 2 ohms OR LOWER! 2) the 1.6's are what I would call "analytical speakers"...revealing and extremely detailed. They also are great to "crank" with some of the music that you listed...however, they do not give the mid-range sweetness that I have heard with other speakers.
hello, stretch your budget $500 and get a used pair of Dunlavy 4 speakers you won't be disappointed they can play anything well including ZZ TOP LOUD !!!
Pick up a pair of used VR4's, 4.5's, for 4-GenII's for $1200-$2000. You might even consider a new pair of VR3.5's for around $2600, that many compare favorably to a pr. of new $7k Quads! See at "archives" or for a review of the new VR-4Gen III's.
A significant price increase for "new" is scheduled Nov 1st.

I'll second your Von Schweikert recommendation

I own a pair of the older Vortex Screens and they are great at imaging, naturalness etc.
PSB Stratus Gold i's,
1953- tell me where I can get a pair of used 3A sigs for under $2K and I'll have an MO in the mail before you can say Vandersteen!
Well I don't have the room for magnapan's so I'll have to cross them off my list. I'm still left wondering as to which speaker(s) in this used price range are the best at my main priority: imparting a real sence of precenece. A BIG LIFESIZED presentation in 3D; that startlingly real effect. Piano comes to mind as an example, I seem to always hear a piano recording, sometimes very well done, but I've never gotten a sense that a real piano was in the room with me.
I'm thinking now of taking a weekend trip to somewhere, where I can audition as many of the suggestions I've gotten as possible. Maybe a little 3-day vacation/speaker hunting expedition. "Keep those cards and letters coming folks"

Thanks to all,
A pair of Hales Rev3s have just been listed here on Audiogon. I have a pair and I liked them better than PSB Gold I's/B&W CDM7se. I'm driving them with Citation 5.1 in bridged mode. The only drawback is that Hales is no longer in business. Replacement drivers are available thru Madisound though.
Pops is right on. Thiel 3.6's are THE used speaker bargain. One thing to keep in mind is that you have to be careful about buying something that's going to have some parts availability. Hales are great speakers (I just picked up a used pair), but now that they're out of business and their ultimate fate is in question, they're a risky proposition. The Thiels reproduce a piano better than ANYTHING in this price range. Acoustic guitars, female vocals...incredible. Low end is deep and very tight. Acoustic bass is woody and palpable. And, when you're in the mood, they'll rock pretty hard. Impedance drops down into the 2ohm range, but your amp is a GREAT match. Bi-amp would be terrific. The 3.6 is still a current model which lists for $4450, but can be found used for as little as $1700 here on Audiogon. Plus, if you ever need service on them, Thiel is going to be around for a long time - And their service is first-rate.
Bottom line is that there are a TON of great speakers out there. You just need to find the one that "does it for you". All that we can do is offer suggestions to point you in the right direction. But if you're going to buy something w/o listening, stick with something that'll have some resale value (ie. demand). You may find a great deal on a "lesser" speaker, but odds are good that you'll have a hard time selling them if you're not satisfied. Hence, something like a Thiel 3.6, Vandersteen 3A, Dunlavy SCIII, etc., will allow you to experiment w/o getting burned. Have fun!!
Don't buy Thiel 3.6s i owned them for 7 years. I loved em till i tried other speakers and heard just how bad they are. Without any doubt in my mind the absolute best speaker to buy in this price range is the Merlin VSM SEs with BAM there was a pair on here for 2400 a few months ago. They are so much better than the thiels that its disgusting. I'd take the merlins over the CS 6s. They are simply wonderful and no i dont own merlins, I have a pair of talons for myself. But they are above his price range.... I hope this helps.
The Merlins probably wouldn't be a good match for his electronics. With a 90+db sensitivity, his Citation amp would make gain adjustments VERY sensitive. Also, he specified his budget to be $2000. Even if he could find a pair for such a low price, it would still be 20% over budget. Besides, one of the most critical factors in achieving good sound is matching components (which I think the Thiels would do nicely). Finally, if you didn't hear the Merlins using the same electronics in the same listening environment as the Thiels, then you don't really have a good reference point for a fair comparison/analysis.
The advantage of the Vandy's is that if you're being unheard, very few people find that they sound poorly in any particular set-up. there may be better synergys out there, but trying before buying doesn't seem to be an option here.
I bought a pair of Thiels 10-12 years ago (3.5's I believe) and ended up returning them after about 2 weeks. Something just seemed to be missing to me, they just didn't have the presence I was looking for. I really can't explain it, I heard all the right notes but the music had no soul. I also auditioned Vandersteen back then but felt that they were "cloudy" sounding, muffled. Of course a lot has changed since then, not the least of which being myself, so maybe I should give them another try. BTW The speakers I am currently using are Wharedale Sapphire 88's (6" woofer,6" mid and a silk dome tweeter) Don't everyone upchuck on their
keyboards now but they sound SURPRIZINGLY good to me and they were $79.00 apiece new in the box. They surely have their weaknesses but they're something to listen to while I try and sort out what I really want.
Danheather, nice points, you are so right when you say matching up components...synergy is not easy to achieve. If you achieve it sooner than later then you are lucky. Again, I agree the Thiel 3.6's sound like a good match to me, Say811. One thing, they need alot of space between them and from the side walls to sound their best. The manual recommends 10 feet apart, I've got mine 9.5 ft apart and they really open up the soundstage and become totally transparant. BTW, the 3.6's and 3.5's are completely different speakers. The fact that the 3.6 has been in production for 9 years indicates it's a great design - and Thiel is fabulous to work with if a mishap occurs - good luck...
Whole heartedly agree with Pops & Danheather !!!! Thiel CS3.6 are truely one of the best bargains especially used for $2k. If your room size is medium to large and space permits you can achieve some sonic euphoria. Cable experimentation may be required depending on what type you already have. MIT MH-750 series II would be my suggestion for your system as well as MIT 330+ interconnects.(fairly cheap on the used market) I have these cables in one system with my 3.6's and talk about a Holographic sound!....................................I have also just tried out the Paragon "Regents",....sadly now out of business but they are fitted with Dynaudio drivers which are still available. These are also one of the Best disappearing acts to have graced my listening room and they do like to rock with out as much fuss as the Thiels. If you can find a pair of Regents they should be well under $2k which is another audio bargain.
Buy Newform Research 645's brand new for around $2300. IMHO, they are better than most of the speakers mentioned here, by a long shot.

Not only has the audio "used" business changed in the last 12 years, but so has technology!
I think the best thing about the Newforms is that you have the option to return them in 30 days if not satisfied.
If you decide to return the Newforms, however, you will have effectively paid shipping costs both ways (not cheap), whereas if you buy something used you can almost always sell it for the same as you paid (unless you buy something obscure and hard to sell - like Newforms!) and you only have to pay shipping once!! No tax, too! Plus, if you buy locally, you don't have to pay ANY shipping!
I second the Vandersteens, you could get the 2's (special edition) or the 3's (used). I have had Vandersteen 2Ce's for a very long time (about 7 yrs), and recently went speaker shopping, looking for something smaller, more precise and with better imaging for 2K-4K. Know what, the smaller speakers imaged a tad better, but could not come close in total sound, in bass (smaller in size but some had subwoofers), and in impact. I really don't think I will be selling or disconnecting mine anytime soon. Its scary how $4,000 speakers with fancy electronics in a special room with supposedly good interconnects sounded worse than my 2Ce's. Go figure? Anyhow, I don't think you will be unhappy with these speakers and they can be had new for your price, or used for about 850-900 (with stands). Anyhow thats just my opinion.

I would hardly call Newforms obscure at this point and they are rarely seen for sale in the used market.

And secondly, if you buy locally, you have already paid for shipping, marketing, commissions, sales taxes, the retailers and the manufacturers insurance, retail rent, etc. When you "add it all up", it just doesn't "add up" to ignore buying direct. Like it or not, the web will continue to change the way we do business. I for one like the opportunities it presents.

I personally believe I would have had to pay two or three times as much through the retail system to get these phenomenal speakers.

There is nothing in the price range of the 645's that can touch them. IMHO

(And no, I am not associated with Newform in any way or any other audio tentacle for that matter)
Try They have a kit for the Rhythem Unlimited project that costs $2300 with the cabinets. This is the same speaker as the Pro Ac 3.8 at less than 1/3 the price. The Pro Ac sells for $7500. The kits have BETTER crossover and a better more silent cabinet. This is one of the BEST speakers for the price in the market period!!
Go figure? Everytime I go to a dealer showroom (which seems to be rarer and rarer), I'm always appalled at the way the systems are set up, even the real expensive ones. Sorry, but, of all places, the dealer is NOT the place to get a real handle on speakers. Got to get 'em home and check 'em out there. Having said that, I did check the Maggie 3.6s out at a dealer and heard just enough that I knew I had to have a pair. Go figure.
Fiddler, the topic is best speakers for 2000-USED! When I refer to buying locally, I'm talking about from a private party, not a dealer - necessarily. You said it yourself, the Newforms are rarely seen in the used market. If you think that's because they're such a tremendous speaker that nobody ever sells them, don't kid yourself. Honda's have a great resale value because they're well known and are famous for having great reliability. Does that mean that you never see a used Honda?? I don't care how great a product is, if it's not marketed well, nobody will know about it. If nobody knows about it, they're unlikely to pony up their money to buy it. My only point here is that if SAY811 is uncertain about what to buy, he's better off getting something that's a "safe" bet. By that I mean that it's got a good chance of meeting his expectations, but if it doesn't, he can turn around and sell it w/o getting burned. Hence, a speaker like the Thiel 3.6 or Vandersteen 3A, or Magnepan 1.6QR, etc., is a safe bet. I'm sure the Newform is quite good, but let's face it, since they aren't available for audition at the local audio salon, most of us can't give a recommendation one way or the other. Which is also why a potential buyer might shy away from such a speaker, especially in the USED market!! Know what I mean??
Aloha Dan,

You make some very good points.

However, the author established a reference point of $2000. My point was exactly contrary to yours. Why buy used when for $2000 when you can buy an incredible bargain (IMHO) for $2300.

Also contrary to your point, if you buy in the secondary market and you are unhappy when you get them home, 99% of the time you can't return them.

Hey, I live in Hawaii. I was certainly taking a chance on the Newforms due to the shipping from the manufacturer, but what more can a company do than offer a 30 day in home trial. If you don't like them send them back. I had rather get stuck with a couple hundred dollars in shipping than $1000-$2000 in a speaker that I can't return.

Yes, some Newforms have been sold in the used market, but I think you would be surprised at what the % might be to many other similar speakers.

You also refer to marketing, I think you would also be surprised to know how many speakers Newform is selling per year. I have heard anecdotal numbers and it is rather impressive. Advertising in slick magazines doesn't impress me, word-of-mouth does. That's why I and so many others have purchased Newforms.

Hey Dan, they aren't for everyone, but I was just trying to offer Say811 my opinion, that for the "used" dollars that he was considering, with a slight stretch, he could purchase new with little or no risk.
So many speakers, so little money. Well I've got to start somewhere so maybe I'll try either Vandersteen 3A sigs, Von Schweikert VR-4 Gen 11's or Theil 3.6's. OK, so of these three, is there one which is hands down clearly a superior speaker? (Though I must admit to being intrigued by the possibilities of those Newforms that Fiddler mentions)
Didn't like the Von Schweikert VR-4 Gen 1, don't know the others. I'm Maggies' man.
Dynaudio Contour 1.8's are a good deal used. I think they run $1700-$1900 or so.

I prefer these to Thiel 3.6's. Much more natural midrange and less fatiguing, though still detailed, highs.

Not to mention the dreaded WAF advantage. The Thiels are huge and the Dynaudios are only about 36" tall by 9" square

If you can find Revel Performa F30 for $2k used grab 'em fast!
B&W nautilus 805's with a good sub...may end up being closer to 2500 but it will definitely hold it's value
Spendor SP100
1. Spendors
2. Maggies
3. Merlin

Given where you are coming from, stay away from the Northcreeks, etc.; they are a tough used sell and eating them will bum you out eventually. If you have the room, Maggies are a good choice, assuming you also have the current to dump into them. If you want to be an auidiogoner and want speed in a speaker, get the Merlins. If you want to get speakers and go back to listening again for the next 20 yrs and forget about all of us who love to talk about audio, get the Spendor SP100's. Good luck.
Nobody has answered your question, Say811, so I'll give it a try. I have listened to all of these speakers and each is VERY different from the other. The VR-4's, as you may know use a rear-firing dipolar tweeter. The model "VR" stands for "virtual reality". If you enjoy a more ambient sound and a larger sweet spot, then you might like the Von Schweikert's. In addition, they have TREMENDOUS bass response, probably the deepest if not tightest (for lack of a better term) of the three. Vandersteen and Thiel are at the opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of their overall sound. Many people consider Vandersteens to be somewhat "dark" in their presentation while others find the Thiel to be too "bright" or "forward". In any case, the Thiels are more analytical and will probably be more revealing of any weaknesses in your system. Meanwhile the Vandersteens are a bit more forgiving of system shortcomings as well as poorly recorded music. Although your musical tastes are quite varied, most of the artists who you reference produce(d) relatively decent sounding recordings, so this might not be as critical. I will say, however, that there's something to be said for a speaker that gets out of the way and just lets you enjoy the music, and in this regard I would have to give the nod to the Vandersteen 3A. I don't own any of these speakers, but I recently bought a pair of Hales Response 2's here on the Audiogon. The Hales follow a very similar design philosphy as the Thiels and also have a similar sonic character. While I LOVE them for the things that they do well (female vocals and piano in particular), I find myself listening to less of my music collection and have actually begun to purchase music that I know will sound good with the Hales'. I don't think that you could possibly go wrong with any of these choices. By the way, in your original post, you asked whether you should bi-amp or bridge your Citation amp. I would strongly recommend bi-amping. I sometimes wish that I had purchased that same amp and kept my speakers (Platinum Audio Solo). It's an incredible amp for the money! Best of luck to you.
How about Spendor SP-1/2's for $2,000 NEW? Find the right dealer and that's the deal. For two grand, these speakers are a steal.
Danheather has nailed it. Vandys are the most forgiving of the bunch. You should be able to get 3As for about 1.5K leaving .5K for good, biwires. The 3Asigs will almost undoubtedly cost you more than $2K.