The VonSchweikert VR'1s are vastly superior to the VA Haydens. Once they are broken in - about 300 hours - they have uncanny imaging and detail, are very dynamic and have tight, articulate bass down to their limits. Very musical and also very revealing.
Once I heard them, the VAs weren't even in the running. So, I bought them and have had no regrets. They even out-image my VR$JRs.
try a pair of paradigm studio 20 or 40. both speakers are awesome.
Polk Audio LSi9. I still regret replacing mine for Totem's. Simply a stunning speaker which would make alot of people on this forum reconsider their idea's of "High End". The Polk's sound ALOT like the Krell Resolution 3's.
Thanks everyone. I'll look into these, and they are bookshelf size right? cause I do have size constraints and can't go with floorstanding.
Call Alan at Silverline. He just came out with an incredible little two way bookshelf using very high quality drivers. I think he is pricing it in the ballpark of $1,000 and it is a tremendous value at that price. Jeff
Read good reviews on all these and will try to find a way to listen to them all.
Did read a very strong review on RBH, especially the 61 Signature model. Any one listen to these?
Check out the Harbeth P3 monitors. They won't knock the walls down but can play at good volumes. No deep bass but the bass they have is very articulate and tuneful. Most of all, they have that magical Harbeth sound. Very natural tonality, supremely musical with excellent resolution and 3D imaging.
A second for the Polk LSi-9. What a surprise these speakers are. They provide so much detail without fatigue.
The Tyler Acoustics Taylo Ref. Monitors are certainly worthy of consideration. On proper stands, the VA Haydn is a very nice sounding/imaging speaker. Amazing bottom end from a monitor its size.
So,whats the price ceiling?
TAS reviewed the new NHT classic three and spoke very highly of them. I can't think of too many three way bookshelf speakers currently available for $1k.
I just bought some era Design 5s and really like them. They have small, beautifully-finished, cabinets, but sound great (bigger than their size would suggest, and you can always add the matching sub if you want deeper bass).
In my food chain have been SF Concertinos, Dynaudio 1.1,s,
Taylor Ref's, Silverline SR17's, Dzurko Jaguars (wonderful speakers), and Gershman X1's and to my taste and PRICE the Gershmans were a very nice surprise and sound. I also have a Selah audio MTM and then things really went way up the ladder. Enjoy as many as possible! I don't now if I will ever reach the peak!
Merlin TSM. They aren't cheap, but you will stop looking. Bobby has the best customer service possible.
I went to listen to the Von Schweikerts and two customers who were just leaving said "don't bother, we just did a comparison with the Focal Chorus 807's- blew them away"
They did sound incredible. Soundstage and imaging were fantastic. Much better than the Vienna Acoustic Haydns I heard yesterday.
I may just buy them tomorrow for $750 out the door. I know I won't be disappointed based on the way they sounded and he was running SS Cambridge Amp/Pre-amp. I'll be using ARC tube gear.
I also listened to some Totems which sounded nice but nearly as well as the Focals. Couldn't touch the imaging/soundstage.
The only issue is I really nead to stay with the 806 due to size constraints. The only dif is a 6 1/2" mid vs the 7" in slightly smaller cabinet. My sub should handle any low end missed but these speakers already had very nice low-end.
I really really urge you to at least listen to the Polk Audio's, if you can get past the name and plan on keeping the speakers for awhile I think you'll be suprised at how bad they'll make most of the speakers mentioned in this thread look.
I did get a chance to listen to some Polks but don't believe they were the lsi9's. Unfortunately it was at Fry's which is a big box electro store and the audition was under very poor conditions.
If I can find a higher end store I'll give them a try but again, for my music tastes I really liked the Focal speakers.
If anyone is still following this thread, I did buy the Focal 806's today after another listen. Still feel the imaging and soundstage are wonderful. I'm sure there are plenty of other speakers out there to keep me confused but I went with the Focals and so far feel great about it.
Thanks for the inputs.
You will be able to hear the Polk Lsi9's at a Tweeter if there is one near you. Not exactly a 'boutique' but they do have a few decent brands there. I would have jumped on the Lsi15's at the asking price but wife vetoed the cabinet.
Thanks for the info James. It's appreciated when the thread originator posts his results. Enjoy the Focals.
Welcome Timrhu. I know you like the Polks and I did talk to a seller. He also said great things about the lsi9's but said if I found a pair I already like for a good price just go for it which is what I did.
So far no regrets.
I have listened to both, and liked them. My recollection of the VA's is that they were tonally very elegant and well balanced, but that they were not particularly well focused. They played big, but without great spacial definition. It could have been the positioning. I really like the focus 140's, though they are more money. You could also listen to the Totem Rainmaker. I find them a little harsh on the high end, but for under $1000, they are a real value. With the right electronics they would probably be fine.
Marct- did listen to the Rainmakers at the same dealer and same set-up. He just changed over the wires and everything else was exactly the same including listening position.
Did appreciate the Rainmakers. Sounded very nice but both the dealer and I agreed the imaging and soundstage sounded quite a bit more pronounced with the Focals. He also gave them to me for $750 out the door NIB, so I couldn't decline.
I think the Polk LSi9 speakers have it all and then some. I do agree with the other posters regarding the midbass and to some extent the fine details in the higher freqs which I felt were being overshadowed by the larger amounts of bass the LSi9's were producing. So yeah, I thought they were just a little bass heavy. Otherwise, build quality, imaging, soundstage, slam, etc. pretty darn fantastic considering their size and price point.
So in the spirit of the hobby, I just started tweaking and tweaking these little monsters through trial and error to cater the sound to my ears. Long story short, they're keepers.
People really seem to enjoy tweaking these speakers with upgraded caps and what not. I didn't want to spend any money so first thing I did was play them without the grilles. If you leave the grilles on and play them at high volumes, the rubber surround on the lower woofers rubs against the backside of the Polk logo.
Secondly, since I wasn't biwiring and just got plain bored with this jumper and that, I desoldered the connections to the top lugs and resoldered them to the bottom ones. This made a huge, positive difference to the upper end, leaps and bounds better than jumper cables.
Third, some self adhesive felt pads under the speaker where it sits on bumpers mounted on my stands helped give the sound more immediacy and cohesiveness.
Fourth, plugged up the holes in the front. That elimated a majority of the muddiness errr chesitiness.
Fifth, added 1.3 oz of fill to control the bass as the speaker is made to produce as much bass as possible which I think is characteristic of the polk sound.
Sixth, used material similar to neoprene to create gaskets for the woofers and futher isolate them from the cabinet. That did wonders to improve imaging.
Seventh, lined the inside of the cabinets with thin sound absorbing material.
Eighth, cut out perfect self adhesive felt to completely cover the tweeter bezel and the painted white polk logo.
The speakers are placed 8' on center, tilted back 5-7 degrees, toed in 1", and placed approx. 20 inches from the front wall.
They abosolutely rock out. You won't get better sound from spending more, just a different flavor. Spend $2k more for solid copper phase plug woofers from the neitherlands and fancier cabs. You'll get more air, more truth of timbre, but lose the punch these speakers deliver.
These are speakers for the true audio hobbyist. They're instant out of the box classics. How can you beat that?