Best Speakers to Audition in the $5-10k range?

I am looking to audition some speakers that are not massive in size with a large sound stage and lots of air that are fairly detailed in the $5-10k range that will sound good off of an Ayre V-3 amp and Krell Showcase Pre/Pro. They will be used for 90% home theater. Any suggestions?

A pair of used Wilson Audio Sophia loudspeakers will be right in your budget. They are the first speakers that poped into my head when I read you wanted detail. They are also pretty sensitive and your Ayre amp should mate well with them.
This is scarry!!! I just listened to a pair of 1978 Ohm C2 speakers that had details a Paradigm Signature S8 didn't reveal. To say I was floored is an understatement....
For very high quality home theater, you'd want main speakers that are free from coloration; disappear as the apparent sound source; give a wide listening area; have enormous macrodynamic capability without becoming harsh; and finally have excellent clarity, detail and articulation. This is a rare combination.

May I suggest you consider the GedLee "Summa", designed by the world's foremost authority on waveguide design, Dr. Earl Geddes (I'm Dr. Geddes' first dealer for this speaker). The price is currently under $5,000 a pair in matte black finish (for minimal light reflection in a home theater application). Here's a link you can follow to learn more about the Summa:

For more in-depth discussion, take a look at the white paper accessible through that page. I think Dr. Geddes' design (using high quality prosound drivers in a unique enclosure that gives very well-controlled radiation patterns) is extremely intelligent and I think I understand it well enought to respond to most questions if you have any.

Dr. Geddes uses three Summas (front mains + center behind a screen) in his system, and has done several custom home theater rooms for clients using Summas. He has also written an excellent book on home theater, linked here: (This really is a different link, even though for some reason it looks like the same one.)

Best of luck in your quest!

Duke, how do the GedLee's sound? I assume they are outstanding to be included in your lineup.
Used Vandersteen 5A's and 5A sigs. Klipsch horns, Innersound Eros MKIII (used), Magnepan 3.6R's, Paradigm S8 signature (awesome speaker, period), Gallo Ref3.

I like Maggies, you could prob find a used pair of 20.1's for 10k, and many people, myself included, feel that is the pinnacle of speakers at any price. Amplifying them correctly is going to run another 10K plus as well though.
Try to audition a pair of the new Vandersteen Quatro's. They offer exceptional performance for the price, and they are also reasonably compact in size.
Merlin VSM-MX should definitely be on your list, IMHO.
PMC OB-1 seems to fit your needs, you may find you need more power but that is only a small chance.

The Paradigms mentioned above would be the only speakers anywhere near the PMC's infitting your needs, the Vandy Quattro's are just too ugly (a highly subjective thing of course).

All due respect to the other's mentioned, most are not "small" foot prints and Dipoles make the worst theater speakers....5+5.1 anyone?

Gallo reference III (?) terrible midrange dynamics for theater and the Merin is a pretty small in your price range to measure up to other options that are available.

PS: Sleeper pick DALI Helicon 800 and Dynaudio Contour towers should also make your list.

Make sure whichever speaker you choose a proper matching center is available if you cannot use a third tower for the front.

Happy Shopping.
I completely disagree with Cinematic systems regarding the Gallos Ref III, and pretty much every reviewer who has ever listened to them disagrees as well. I owned these for a couple of months, and they were spectacular speakers, regardless of price. When taking into account the abilty to run the second coil on the woofer as a sub, they are an AMAZING cinema speaker. If you match the very affordable Gallo Due (actually you could use 2) for a center and rears as well, you get an incredibly affordable Reference level system. With the amplification you have, this would be an amazing set up.

With regard to the "Dipoles make the the worst theater speakers" they have obviously not read the Absolute Sounds review of their ULTIMATE surround system, which is all Magnepan speakers.

Dali's are great speakers, but they do not have the soundstage and air-ness of Maggies. That is Maggies are known for. No cone speaker can match a planar for what you are looking for. Maggies, Innersound, Soundlab, or really top of the line, I hate to say it, Martin Logan's are what you are looking for.

Vandy's are really, really nice too.
Hello Wellfed,

For quite some time now I've wanted to add a high output, high efficiency speaker to my little line-up. I've heard most of the big names out there, and some of them are very good indeed. The GedLees outperform other high-efficiency systems I'm familiar with (up to about fifteen or twenty grand) in freedom from coloration, transparency (disappearing as the sound source), coherence, and width of soundstage. Their imaging is better than I've heard in a multiway high efficiency system, but I have heard single-driver high efficiency systems that image better (unfortunately single-driver systems can't handle complex passages with the ease that a good multi-way can). Tonal balance and timbre are excellent, and you can hear very very deep into the recording. The Summas excel on human voice, and are non-fatiguing to listen to for hours on end.

The GedLees have limitations in two areas: First, they are minus 6 dB at about 35 Hz, so they really don't do the very bottom octave - you'd need a sub for some applications. Second, many people don't like their appearance. The materials and design are all chosen for acoustic reasons, not aesthetic ones, and unfortunately for us it seems that aesthetics plays a fairly significant role for many people. Of course there are those looking for maximum sonic bang-for-the-buck and/or who like the form-follows-function lines of the GedLee, or who will hide the speakers behind a screen or by turning out the lights (as in a dedicated home theater room).

Efficiency is about 95-96 dB/1 watt ballpark, and nominal impedance is about 8 ohms (minimum 6.5 ohms as I recall). The drivers are high quality prosound drivers from B&C of Italy that would never be pushed anywhere near the limits of their linear range in a home application.

Earl may well offer the speaker with the crossover optimized for either a high damping factor or low damping factor amplification.

Hope this helps - feel free to call me if you'd like to shoot the breeze sometime.

(504) 866-1730
Thanks Duke, I'll be in touch.
I sold my Paradigm Signature S-8 speakers because, in my room, I could not live with the harshness. The replacements, Vandersteen 3a Signatures have all the detail (and more)of the S-8, but without the harshness. Since I listen for the music, a fancy cabinet may look cool, but I'd rather get the bang for the buck sound improvement.

(associated compoments: McIntosh C22, MC275, MR71, Rega Planet 2K, Music Hall MMF-7)

Bottom line: NEVER go by what reviewers say, but your own ears!! Like finger prints, no 2 pairs of ears have the exact same "response".

One last thing: Phase and time alignment are very important speaker design parameters and should not be overlooked.

As far as Di-poles being bad as was mentioned above, thats a load of BS, it is all up to your taste, I have Innersounds Eros up front and BW di-poles for middle in di-pole and a pair in mono-pole in back, di-poles are awesome for the long side wall! Also as they run out of phase in nature they are easy to foget where they are and thats very important for HT
Kmiller5, IMHO if you're using your speaker for 90% home theater, most planar speakers may not be the best choice. I used to own many highend planar speakers (Maggies, Apogees, and stats). The problem with most planars are limitd dispersion, lack of macrodynamics, and difficulty in room placement because they need ample room from the walls to sound right. If you're planning to use a subwoofer, then you'll run into problems with integration.

I would recommend dynamic speakers with very good dispersion with relatively small foot print, and perhaps Martin Logan system. For HT application, you need 5 speakers with a sub. So I'm assuming, your range includes all 6. You want airy speakers, I would consider Thiel (3.6 used as front L and R channel, very detailed but it may be a little more experimeting to get the airiness you seek), Definitive Technology (under $5K, very airy but not the most detailed and slightly veiled), Martin Logan system (very airy and detailed but will require more room, smaller sweet spot, and some lack of integration between the ultrafast electrostat panel and woofer). I would also consider Von Schweikert system (VR4jrs as front L/R channels, very dynamic and airy with the right amplification - DK design group amplification comes to mind). I recommend these systems because the above manufacturers have consciously produced an integrate HT lineup, so the speakers will integrate well.

There are better sounding speakers in your price range for a 2 channel only setup, but getting proper integration may be a problem and will require much more work on your part. Hope this helps.


1. It's a real simple fundamental problem that I can't seem to get anyone to answer about Dipoles, What are you going to do with all those back wall reflections? How do you adjust the levels and phase for that? And lets clarify Dipoles aren't bad speakers they are the wrong speakers for this application. As would a Fostex based single driver "not ideal." So why recommend them?

Plus the Ayre V3 can run out of steam on Magneplanar Mg1.6's, so what dipole speaker did you have in mind?

2. "di-poles are awesome for the long side wall! Also as they run out of phase in nature they are easy to foget where they are and thats very important for HT"

Only if you use THX which almost no one does anymore. If the soundtrack is mixed on monopoles than I think you would want monopoles for rears.? Or if you can argue otherwise let me know. I think they have mixing/playback standards for a reason.

People haven't used Dipoles for rears on a regular basis since the mid 1990's, do you know why? I don't know why? :)

3. "As far as Di-poles being bad as was mentioned above, thats a load of BS, it is all up to your taste."

This is true, the part of it being you're own decision. If you want to do it wrong from the start it is a America. I've built a great deal of Ikea furniture in my day and when i didn't follow the directions most of the time I was ok, but every once in a while....ooops! Want to find an ooops on a $5K-$10K investment?

In the end

If you believe suiting yourself is to be placed above the artists intent than colorize your sound and system to any fashion you want! The idea is to enjoy your system.

But recommending it to someone else is a whole other story. You have to understand what your system is, and how it fits into the grand scheme of things.

If you wish to be true to the artist than you should make the system so that it does not alter their art or minimize the distortion your system imposes on the presentation. And this means following the rules to a great degree.

What are you going to do next month when "Minimalistic" is a pair of fully active Maggie MG1's with custom 15" JBL Subwoofers, Roksan/Ear864/MicroBenz analog. Gonna want your input!
Shahinian Oblesk's
All I know is it sounds good, and I feel I have pretty demanding ears
Second the Merlins,Bob
Definitively Vandersteen Quatro & Opera Audio M-15.
Dynaudio Confidence C1. It had mind boggling sound quality for the price at HE2007.... Use the leftover money to add a good parametric EQ subwoofer to the setup and you will have one amazing setup for the price. That's what I would do at least, for that amount of money ($10K).
Merlins if your room is right.Merlins if its wrong,good luck,Bob
I agreed w/ Jkalman. With a pair of Dynaduio C1, Contour SCX center and SR speakers, you will get amazing sound not only with HT but also with musice listening as well. You will need to buy them used due to your budget. You can add a sub if you budget allows.
I'll start off by saying I'm a dealer, so my recommendations are somewhat biased. However, there is a reason why I've chosen the brands I have. :-)

The Aerial Acoustic LR3 or LR5 would be excellent. Very dynamic with a wide a soundstage. Excellent build qualities and great sound. One of the very best speaker manufacturers out there IMHO.


Dynaudio Confidence C1 is absolutely amazing and mated with a great sub will fill just about any sized room with musical delight. Just as dynamic for theater usage as well.

Soundstage goes to the Aerials, but certainly the Dynaudio C1 is one of the very best monitors in the world and would work well given the right amplification.
Do you think that maybe.....just maybe, he might have bought some speakers after two years?!?!?!

Good grief I didn't even notice. Oz, nice catch!

Hey, Mrjstark were you bored or something?
Hey OZ....I sure hope so!
I would check out the new Thiels. They are very nice and as good as I have heard under $10K.(I cant think of anything I like more in this price range) My second choice if your tastes lean slightly to the warmer side of the fence would be the Quatros. Not as nice in the bass as the new Thiels but easier to adapt to in different rooms, and they dont need as much power. Also as hard as this is to say the Thiels image and soundstage better. which is saying something because the Quatros are great also.
Anyway, if buying new under $10K one of these would be my choice.
If you're willing to get off the beaten track a little, think about the Ohm Walsh 5 Mk III. I was fascinated by the unusual omnipolar design and thought the four month trial period was very generous. After several happy years with Vandy 3A Sigs I found a very significant overall improvement. They are not as different as you think they might be from a typical monopole and the end result for me was outstanding. Lots of benefits, but be prepared for a long break in period -- I'd estimate 200 hrs. before they fully developed.
Why do you ask?
It will be tough to audition it, but the Silverline Audio Bolero is my pick in that range.

Another tough one to find, but worth it, IMHO, is the Roman Audio Centurian.
You might want to consider the new Rockport Mira Monitor. I believe it's about $5800.
Gedlee sold the Summa technology to a Thailand based company called Audio Intelligence. They will be replaced by a new product known as ESP15. Someone may have posted this already, but I haven't had time to go through the entire thread.
Good grief I didn't even notice. Oz, nice catch!

Hey, Mrjstark were you bored or something?

Perhaps he is a time traveler!
"Perhaps he is a time traveler! "

Perhaps to many Si-Fi then Hi-Fi ????
I'd second Aerial Acoustics.
Nah. For passive speakers, for HT dubties, not too large, I like the Wilson Cub III's, er whatever. Refinement, high sensitivity, dual mid/woofs for reinforcement, speed, and less distortion. Overall superb clarity. Yeah, that's good
Looks like Kmiller5 ended up with Vandesteen Quatros:

"Vandersteen Quatro ($7800)
Four-way class A speaker with 300 watt built in subs. I am using them with the balanced crossover and they are amazing."
That's from his virtual system.
Salk HT3's
Jim's work is exquisite
great imaging, tonal balance, seemless
well worth hearing and no dealer markup
Green Mountain Audio Calypso's. Best speaker these ears have heard. Not many time/phase coherant 3-ways out there.
You might be able to find a used pair of Eggleston Works Andra 2 for $10,000 .
Best speaker I have owned . Bass is articulate and the soundstage is huge!