I would like to upgrade to some new speakers and I might have a maximum of $3000 to spend if all goes well. I don't care if they are new or used but my real world experience is limited so I am asking the experts! I know it is subjective. I have Mirage OM-7s now with a HSU sub. My amp is a Bryston 100B SST. Also, I have a chance to buy a set of Thiel CS 2.4s. I plan to try them. Thanks for any advice!
As far as new speakers go, the best I've heard under $3K, that I believe most listeners will enjoy are the Spatial Audio M4 Triode Masters, recently replaced by the M5 Sapphires. They do require a fair bit of distance from the wall behind them but are not finicky otherwise. Spatial's customer support is excellent as well.
There are other speakers I prefer that can be had for less than $3K or near $3K but I don't consider them as good of all-rounders.
So you’re best looking at used, and even then there’s nothing obvious to report. At this point real full bandwidth upgrades start getting costly. Harbeth M40s, big Tannoys or DeVore models, Wilson’s, and yes the Thiel 2.4s may also be an upgrade if this review is anything to go by.
I heard some spatial audio speakers at the tweek geek's house at a Colorado audio society event and thought they were very nice (Spatial Audio X3 Open Baffle System w/ Beyma AMT).
I've also considered what I would do for similar money if I ever needed to move my Coincident PRE's out of the living room. I think I'd try out some ohms. Very positive impressions in those threads around here.
"Best" is very much in the ears of the beholder. If you told us a bit more about what kind of music you like, what volume you listen at, and what you don’t like about your current speakers, people might be able to give better advice. Do you prefer standmount or floorstanding speakers? Also, will you still be using the sub, or do you want a full-range model?
I hope you weren’t entirely serious when you called us experts! We are just a bunch of other audiophiles, with more or less experience, every one with opinions, but we won’t be listening to your system for the next X years. Who knows, one of us might even be a teenager who hates music but reads her father’s copies of TAS and occasionally posts here to get even.
https://www.vandersteen.com/products/model-2ce-signature-ii if it's a PA system or a 2-way paint job you want to pay for then look elsewhere. If you are trying to enjoy the musicians' character and intended efforts true to the recorded Venue or as it really happened, a turntable with the latest 3 k Vandy Sig 2 will blow your mind * Fact:: The Vandersteen 2 series is still the best selling hi-end loudspeaker of all the time. Best JohnnyR Vandersteen dealer
Thanks for the replies! My room is about 20 feet long. Half of
it is 20 feet wide and the other part is 14 feet wide. Sort of an L
shape. As for music I listen to everything from jazz to Meshuggah
and everything in between. Allman Bros to Yes. Not much classical. I use a VPI Scoutmaster II table and a Cambridge Audio cd transport that's relatively inexpensive. The DAC is a Bryston BDA-1. Currently I keep the Mirages around 3 or 4 feet from the back wall and around 4 feet from the sides.
The room has some soft stuff on the front and rear wall to try and help
the sound a bit. It seems like a fairly good room as long as you stay
out of the corners! And I listen
at moderate volumes because I find things get a bit harsh if it gets too
loud. I'm not sure if the harshness is the speakers or the room. I'd play it louder if it stayed smoother. Thanks all!
I just upgraded from the Mirage OM-10's to the Focal 936. All I can say is I love em. Go audition them someplace. I thought the OM 10's sounded good. Well, their just isn't any comparison what so ever.
Couldn’t hurt to check out either Tekton Pendragons (aprox $2,000) or the Double Impacts ($3,000), and that includes shipping within the US. I listened to a pair of Thiel spkrs (among many others) also before going with a pair of Pendragons. . Choosing the right speaker isn’t easy. Best of luck to you!
Mike in nc is right . Couldnt have said it much better . You need to talk about your listening space and your type of listening . Do you require book shelf , floor or what have you . Infinite baffle , planar , coaxial horn ? On and on . Which brand are you partial to ,because those always sound the best.
Philharmonic speakers are outstanding also Maggie 1.7i with a sub but everyone is going to have different ideas best to listen yourself. Depending on where you live get out to the stores and trying to get an audition in someone's home is also an option. Good luck happy listening.
I concur with the Golden Ear Triton 1's comment, and just purchased a set NEW for $3500 (Dealer closing out stock, to focus on new T-Ref's). Had I not found those (at that price), I was going to spring for the Tekton Double Impact's.
I've heard most of the speakers mentioned so far, the Spatials outperform most of them, no contest. That even goes for the $2K M4 Turbo S. They make Maggies sound veiled and diffused in comparison. As for Focals, you have to move up to the Kanta range to compete, and even then, the bass definition of the Spatials is superior. I realize I sound like a raving fanboy, but know that I don't own any. I actually returned the M4 Triode Masters due to my preference for Derek Hughe's lossy-cabinet designs and their amazing soundstage abilities when dialed-in, but that's a completely subjective preference. However, when it comes to overall performance/dollar, Spatial just kills it, even with their pro-audio drivers which I wasn't expecting to perform so well to be honest. I think part of their advantage is the tweeter also covers most of the midrange, rather than the woofer covering most of the midrange as with a typical 2-way.
1.) what types of music do you generally listen to? 2.) How large is your room? and in what orientation will you have your speakers. 3.) Do you have 2 to 3 feet to play with in terms of getting speakers away from the front wall?
But to answer your question based on my speakers here are my personal thoughts:
The Thiel's will be excellent choice and have amazing sound stage and are known for their excellent bass response relative to their size. Some complain the metal dome tweeters are harsh.. I don't think so myself.
I currently have and listen to regularly:
*Magnepan 1.7i --For $2200 new and better used price these are incredible but crave a subwoofer depending on your tastes. Great for jazz and acoustic and actually sound incredible for EDM, electronic, and smaller classical arrangements. Picky about placement and you need some real estate to really get them up and sparkling. They crave power. Recommend more than 200 watts/channel if you can. Universally lauded as one of the great values in hifi.
* Spatial Audio Hologram M3 Turbo S (around $2800 new)- Need space from the back wall but these do a lot of things really well. Imaging is wide and images are presented with precision when set up properly. The depth of sound stage is less impressive, but adequate. These will absolutely piss your neighbors off if you want. Personally I also like the minimalist aesthetic to these as well.
*Gallo Reference 3.1 w/ SA amplifier for the second Voice Coil: --These are seriously special speakers. The CDT tweeter is incredible and with the subwoofer amp will go go down to around to 25 hz fairly flat depending on room acoustics. These are truly incredible all-a-rounders and sound amazing with most types of music. Spatial cues and top extension are rendered with amazing detail. Are very revealing of upstream electronics, but never harsh or fatiguing. The sound stage is one of the best I've ever had in my home truly these disappear. Can be found on the used market for around $1800-$2500. Currently a pair for sale on another site with the SA subwoofer amp for around $3000. I've been through a fair amount of speakers in my time, and these are permanent, never-get-rid-of classics. Check out reviews and you'll see what I mean. Super duper hype about these when they were new.. And they live up to it.
*Gallo Reference Strada 2 (essentially the 3.1's without the bass section updated mids and tweets compared to the 3.1's):-- Can be found new on Ebay for around $2k. I got mine used for under $1000. These monitors, with the help of a decent sub or two, will blow your mind and are my current favorites among all of my gear. Small, diminutive form factor wont take up much room, can be placed closer to walls, and COMPELTELY disappear when set up proper. Bang for the buck these are truly wonderful and sturdy little performers. At times they seem to have the same quick transient response associated with electrostatics but will also hit hard with big dynamic shifts in music. They completely fill my 13x23 room to concert levels with no strain... Can Not give them high enough praise..
I'm plugging my paid listing here only because the Spatial M3 Turbo S came up in a few posts. Mine (as-new pair) are for sale for well below retail, if you think they're right match for your system. Check the listings.
@bajaed , An amp with 100wpc should be fine for just about any Vandy speaker. I have never heard a Rogue, and would be interested in hearing your impressions. +2 for Vandersteen. From the 1's to the 3a sig's. And, don't discount the VLR bookshelf speaker, either. (I have the VLR's mounted near the ceiling corners and a pair of HSU subs. Though not as refined as my Treo's, it really is a nice pairing). If you do opt for the 1's, adding a subwoofer or two should be within your budget, especially if you buy used. Bob
Curious to know why good used is not being discussed? It is no secret I am a Klipsch fan and the reason is because there is a lot of great stuff on the used market even though they don't last long. Chorus I's and II's would work for that room size and fill it up if you wish and play any genre and if you can find them go for $900 to $1,400. Nice thing is if you decide to move on to something bigger and better like KHorns which can be found for $2,500 you get all your money back out. CF4's can be found on rare occasions and they are awesome and the last set around here went for $1,800. KLF 30's are another popular one with a great sound and run from $700 to well over $1,000. All this new stuff people mention will take big hit if you decide in time they are not for you. The forums for all other brands is dwarfed by the Klipsch forum where you can find out anything you need for tinkering with your Klipsch speakers. Your $3,000 wont go far on new but it sure will in used.
Ascend Acoustics’ Sierra Tower with RAAL option. Fight me.
That is if you are looking for a speaker that is accurate, easy to power, high-ish sensitivity, excellent imaging, placement forgiving, comes in 5 colors + custom finish jobs, and has 7 years parts/labor.
Spatial Audio M3 Triode Masters $3000 used If you like imaging and soundstage. I have had 20 or 30 different speakers come through my room over the last 10 years including Goldenear, Maggie’s, Vandersteen, Gallo, Martin Logan, and on and on. Evaluating and comparing new gear all the time is my hobby. Most sounded great and all had their own merits, BUT Spatial M3 Triode Masters are my top pick for under $5000. Open baffle is the future IMHO
Find some used Aerial 5 or 5b speakers. Mount on Sound Anchor stands specifically manufactured for this speaker. The stand is as important as the speaker. Think of the stand as part of the speaker. It is. Buy new from the manufacturer to ensure you get the correct stand
Another vote for the Focal Aria 936. Incredible full range speaker with a spectacular soundstage and jaw dropping transparency. Really shines with tube electronics but also not necessary. Can be had far around $3K used