JM Lab / Focal are on my short-list. These speakers have a really sweet sound, IMO.
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Buy yourself an old juke box, load it up with a bunch of 45s. Nah, it's not the least bit "audiophile", hell it ain't even stereo, but there's something about listing to old Rock & Roll, and Honky-Tonk on a juke box that no stereo system can capture. Remember, when this music was recorded it was mixed to be played on juke boxes and car AM radios. ;-)
i took a chance with some jbl L-series speakers (mine are L-830 6inch 3 ways). they are very dynamic speakers, and for not alot of money you can buy a floorstander. it will image, it will produce a very convincing wall of sound. it will lack some refinement in producing details in the mids and highs, but mostly on very critial recordings of classical, acoustic folk, and jazz. but at the price they are a bargain. even if you decide to get into string quartets one day, they'll still sound "pleasant". audiophile speakers sweat resolution and cut the low bass which causes too much distortion. they emphasize nuances in the midrange and lower treble, with a smooth rolloff further up. so what you get on rock alblums is flaws in the mixdown, no deep bass, and a thin and sometimes harsh treble where guitars and vocals weren't recorded for their subtlety.
I got a speaker for you!! You'll need a grand more..but it is worth it!!!
A friend and I heard these speakers over the weekend. They are called Emerald Physics C2s. We were both speechless! This is as close to live music as I've ever heard out of a pair of speakers. You do not need esoteric gear to make them sing either. Me and my buddy both have these speakers on the must get list!! I wouldn't even look at another speaker until you hear these!
The C2s can play at stratospheric levels without compression. All the while..using only a few watts to do it. I'm sure they'll blow away many at the CES show coming up..I have no doubts at all. This pair was run with a $400 pro amp for the Bass drivers and Bel Canto 300s for the tweeter/midrange wave guide.
Just imagine what a pair of Egglestonworks Andra IIs combined with the best electrostat you've heard. That's what these sound like!
For 3 grand..there's likely to be a long waiting list in order to get a pair! This speaker with auxiliary equipment was around $7000..it sounded like a $50,000 system I kid you not! I'm not affiliated with this company at all..just very excited about getting a pair myself!
Believe me now and hear me later, check out a pair of Hornshoppe Horns. I spent several hours with a pair the other day, driven by a BYOB (10 wpc) amp (with car battery). For me, the jury is still out on jazz and classical, but rock ... MAN THESE THINGS ROCK!! These are serious rockers! We easily blew past 100dB with Metallica and they still sounded clear. Don't be fooled by their diminutive size (4" single-driver). They kick serious ass. Ed allows 30-day trials. Only $850!!
Well I find alot of 3 chord rock to be subpar recordings, so your choice must be forgiving of the source material.
You don't mention your room or other components, but I think Paradigm Studio 100's would fit the bill. Large sweet spot, tons of bottom end and well within your budget. Do use bi-wire speaker cables with them.
ATC 11s. Your beloved rock was probably mixed on a pair of ATCs. In-house choice of 1,000 recording studios for 30 years. Sony Studios, Pink Floyd, Tom Petty and Rolling Stones all use a more sophisticated studio version of these. They come in active mode as well, ATC 20s and 16s, which have built-in amps. www.sonicflare.com just did a nice review of the 19, which is a step up from your budget. One of the best reviews I have read. Have used this product for 20 years. Will run circles over most speakers listed above and love to be played loud.
Can second Richmon: Paradigms are the single best value-for-performance speaker in the consumer market. Studio 20's and Atoms are great speakers. Sound great with Almarro tube amps out of Japan. Try the 205. If solid state is your sound, try the NAD 372.
Thanks for all of the great recommendations. I actually have a 1960's juke box at my cabin and listen to a lot of old stuff on the weekends. It has tubes and does sound better in mono than in stereo!
I think I may be leaning toward the horns just because a lot of the stuff was recorded in mono thru tube equipment. I did check out the Horn shoppe, but can these little things acually be that good? My listening room is 14x20 with 16' vaulted ceilings and a real open floor plan. Actually the best place to put speakers are in the corners so the horns may even produce some bass.
Shadorne - curious, why not Horn Shoppes?
I don't think that small 4 inch drivers can keep up with bass requirements of rock and roll...that is all. I guess in my minds eye I see "The Who" with stacked JBL's and big woofers as the epitomy of speakers of that "Animal House" era and not something more suited to modern domestic use, such as the nice looking and very easy to drive Horn Shoppes. I have nothing against Horn Shoppes but it just didn't strike me as quite the best fit in a largish room...
Shadorne - I can understand your skepticism. I too was an unbeliever about these small drivers/boxes. Granted, I have only heard them in a small room driven by a 10wpc chip amp (BYOB), but even there they astounded and confounded me. Their ability to produce clean, clear rock at high SPLs was shocking, considering the size of the Horns and amp. My brain is still knotted up over this. A kind gentleman has offerred me another opportunity to hear them, this time in a large room (17'x24'x10'), driven by tubes. I will report back about this trial within the next couple of weeks.
Rockadanny - I'm really interested in what you hear in the new room since this about the same size as my room. If you can, listen to some old british rock to see how the recordings from the 60's sound. I'm located near Ann Arbor Michigan so it is doubtful I will be able to hear the horns unless I buy them.
One of the all time great rock speakers is the Gale 401a.
These need heaps of power to really open up [you need an amp that can deliver 400 watts into 4 ohms],but are one of the few speakers that stay really clean and coherent at volume.They are one of the least boxy sounding speakers ever made and the bass from two sealed box 8 inch woofers is incredibly powerful and tight.
You get to hear the music-not the box.
I have a pair of these in my second system and nothing I have owned[including Klipsch and Edgar horns can do rock or blues like them].They also do the all the audiophile stuff and can sound very refined.
Most Gales do need woofer and mid rebuilds though.Replacing both surrounds and spiders is essential to bring them back to their original performance.
Scott_wojo - Sure will. Ann Arbor? The last time I was in Ann Arbor I was standing inside the stadium feeling mighty queezy as Colorado just scored the winning touchdown in the final seconds in what, for me, was UM's most shocking and sickening loss of all time. I haven't been able to convince myself to go to another game since. That, and the fact that I moved 800 miles away the following year. Boy, do I miss Zingerman's. Now I'm hungry.
Scott why not go and audition some speakers at Paragon
I think you will be impressed. They carry several respected brands and are in your home town!
Nothing is better than your own ears in an audition, Ask to hear ATC SCM 19's and SCM 40's some Def Techs and B&W's. They even carry Wilson's so you can compare. If you go on a weekday when they are not busy then they might let you experiment for several hours.
You are not obliged to purchase anything be honest about your budget and tell them that you want to hear things in your range but also their best fare - dress nicely and be courteous and go when they are not overwhelmed with customers....and bring a few favorite CD's...good luck.
Oh ...and report back please!
dress nicely and be courteous and go when they are not overwhelmed with customers
Upon re-reaing this it could be taken the wrong way. I mean no disrespect to you.
....all I mean is that if you show people a great deal of respect then they tend to give it back and that way you will get way more out of an audition...I know from bad experiences myself.
Ive been hunting the same, though in addition to 3 chord rock add metal to the mix. So far I tend to find an either/or kind of presentation. Either great with imaging/nuance or punch/power...but not both. Its all about trade off's I guess. But without typing a novel, the latest speaker I heard that did both very well, was the B&W 804S. Probably not much above your budget used.
Scott_wojo - Heard the Hornshoppe Horns in a medium/large room (17'x24'?) the other night driven by a Cayin A-88T (integrated). The sound of these IS addicting. I am still not convinced of their use for jazz, but can say with utmost confidence that for rock, these buggers ROCK!! This implementation had them pulled away from the corners but were augmented with Ed Schilling's "The Cube", a small (10" box with two 6.5" drivers) but very effective woofer box driven by external amp (box and amp sold together) to fill in the lower freqs. Together, these would be a great choice for what you are looking for. Affordable and small but MIGHTY is how I'd describe this set up. And they can play very loud, yet maintain clarity and control. The speaker bases were filled with copper BBs, spaged about 12' apart, and crossed about 1-2' behind my head. I would not hesitate replacing my $5,000 mains with these $850 wonders, except I am still undecided when it comes to jazz music. Vocals, acoustic, and rock - these are great! Chamber, opera, jazz, piano - I could live with them but not sure I'd be as happy as with my current mains for this type of music. For me, I still need to evaluate more. But for you, call Ed today! Also, I preferred them with the Cayin over the BYOB for jazz, vocal, and piano. For rock, either would be fine.
Rockadanny, I think I'm sold on the horns since I live in a condo and can't shake the floors with the big stuff. I'm not sold on the tube amp since the system will be on about 10 hours a day at a low volume and I don't want to have to replace the tubes. I'm thinking about a small SS amp with good bass. Any ideas?
Scott_wojo - Only SS I've heard them on was BYOB http://www.mother-of-tone.com/byob.htm and for rock they did really well. It was only on some acoustic (piano, guitar, voice) that they sounded "cupped" to me (i.e., cupping your hands around your mouth when speaking). But after speaking with another Horns owner, he felt that effect may have come from having them too close together and crossing in front of the listener. Perhaps. I have read numerous times that Ed Schilling prefers Nelson Pass' First Watt amp, which are sold used here at times. I have heard (rumor?) that Nelson designed the First Watt with Ed's Horns in mind. But I've not heard the First Watt with the Horns.