My vote will go to the B&W 300s. They are $250 a pair (at least the pair I bought was that price--the new version may be more). I think the sound quality they achieve at that $ range is incredible.
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I haven't owned a pair of Maggies for a long time (switched over to Martin Logans, and haven't been disappointed). However, if the sole criterion is value, not absolute sound quality, the Magnepan SMGs ("Baby Maggies") are very hard to beat. They have given me the chance to help a bunch of friends buy into good sound over the years when their budgets were not in Bill Gates mode. Short of a headphone-based system, its hard to do better when bucks are tight.
For least amount of cash spent, I'll go with B&W. Abstract I think they can be had for around $600 and they do sound very sweet. I love My Martin aerius i and will eventually buy the cls2. But if I had the cash I would buy the varsity parsifals and put my martins in another room to do the ht thing. I heard the parsifals with a big balls tube amp and was ready to sell my truck for the combo, good thing the wife had the keys and restrained me.
The Harbeth Compact 7ES, around $2000 or so new maybe a little more. Does everything a speaker can do except low bass. Uncannily clear midrange, smooth top end, solid bass, just a little dry, and the most realistic micro and macro dynamics you can imagine. Nothing under $5,000 comes close. The, the Harbeth Monitor 40 at $6500-7000 or so, also qualifies as a best buy from everything Ive heard about it, but I havent heard it.
Paul, If you don't mind, what do you run your Harbeth's with? I know that you use tubes somewhere in the system, but am curious as to your setup. My dream speakers, I just discovered through further research, would not work with any tube setup (that I would ever own) thus my curiosity about the Harbeth's. Not too far off the thread as compatibility is part of value, I would think anyway. I am in search of a new dream/value speaker.
Yes, the B&W DM302 are an excellent value. Easily the lowest price speaker on the Sterophile Magazine Recommended Class C List. They do list for $250. Has anyone heard the new DM303 ?? B&W Speaker as pretty good value at every price point except the Nautilus. The Nautilus are great speakers, but also very pricey.
David, I use an Audible Illusions Mod3a (smooth attenuators), Muse 160 amp (a tad soft on top) and a meridian 508.24. Charlie loves his with the Complete integrated, a lot softer than my M3a/Muse. The dealer from whom I bought mine and REG of TAS have used a little sharper more incisive solid state. The nice thing about the Compact 7 is that it works well with almost anything, just better with better and the more power the better.
Oh, and as far as economy speakers go, I think the AE Aegis One is a lot nicer than the B&W, but to each his own.
Acoustats: anybody else freaking out over these? ive got the model 3s and love them. Can be had for 400-1000. they are big so usually gotta buy locally. are these really that great or am i missing something? i like to hold onto them naked while listening to various renditions of coltrane's spiritual. friends stare but let em!
Thanks Paul: They sound very doable with a reasonably priced push/pull setup. Some of my favorite value speakers have already been listed, but I will repeat them as well as add to the list. Most interesting are the small Magnapan's, and at a higher price I will also include the 1.6's though I am not certain what it would take to push them well, they were auditioned with Plinius. Also note worthy are the Reynaud Twin's (my current speakers being driven by a 7 watt SET), Coincident Triumph SIGs (used price), Castle Acoustics Isis speakers (now discontinued but they kill on classical, jazz and acoustic music, I owned a pair), Soliloquy 5.0's (my favorite of their line and 2nd from the bottom), NHT Super Zero's with a decent sub (don't laugh, I listened to these at a friends house playing full scale classical music with good electronics and a sub and they were quite amazing, but required a fair amount of clean power to perform this way), AE Aegis one (must be completely broken in which is way over 100 hours - maybe closer to 300) and last but not least the Silverline SR17's (used price - one of my favorite mini monitors to date). The "maybe" value speakers for low powered tube amps may be the Hammer Dynamics kit speaker. Never heard them, but they seem to have a following and "good" efficient speakers are usually quite expensive. The Hammers may be my next big project (the basic parts are under $600 plus the cabinet expense) when I get back on my feet and then I will know.
All good recommendations, but my taste leans towards Apogee Stages, CLS1's and Quad's -- all of which can be found at extremely reasonably prices given their performance (all seem to be running in the $1200 to $1400 range). Another value speaker that I like (maybe on the oddball side for some) is the Spica Angeles. Although I currently have three sets of speakers (only one pair in use), I am always soooooo tempted when I see some of the great deals on clasic speakers that are out there.
The Quad 989 or even the ML CLS - both full range electrostats - the 989 is the clear winner but twice the price. The maggies are good too - so are the ML Prodigy and Odyssey ( 10k / 6k retail. A lot of great choices at this level. If you can pull in a pair of Eggleston Andras in this range they are great dynamic speakers.
The entire line of Vandersteen speakers, within their respective price ranges, are "high value" speakers. Richard Vandersteen has emphasized value for years, which is why the money goes into the cabinet assembly and the drivers, rather than an expensive finish. Of all the speakers that Vandersteen makes, I'd say the 3A is probably the best "value", particularly used, although a good case could also be made for the 2Ce Signature. I own the 3A Signatures, which I think are a noticeable improvement over the 3A, and if a $3500 speaker is within your budget, they are well worth the extra cost.
i"m *hoping* the newform research r645, @ $2265 delivered, or the nhb645 for ~$200 more, is a giant-killer. everyting i've read about 'em sez they're *it* for me, but ya gotta hear 'em before ya know for sure! :>) i've been saving for a pair for a while... 30-day in-home trial, so if i'm not happy, i will be out a couple bills to ship 'em back. seems fair to me...
My vote goes to the PSB Stratus gold i's. I believe you can find them for as little as 1200 used. You will need some power though. And you'll hear the difference with whistle clean power. My rig running the MF A3CR amp and pre is getting close to a Martin Logan-Mark Levinson setup at probably 4 times the price. When I get the furniture rearranged I'll add a second MF amp to biamp-I like it loud. I'm not saying they are the ultimate in all things, they are one of the bargains in audio .
This thread has been done before and it is an important one for those just tuning in. I am another in the Vandersteen camp at the MSRP. Full range I don't think it gets any better. I would vote the 2 series in the top 5 values in audio ever.
And Doug we have been waiting for at least 6 months for you to make a report on those Newforms. So pull out the checkbook and order a pair. Like you said, if you don't like them all you're out is shipping costs. It's time to bite the bullet and sate your curiosity; and mine!!
I agree with those recommending Vandersteen. I've had some 2Ce's in one of my systems for 4 years and at the time nothing in their price range could compare, even now I would end up paying much more $$$ to get something with as clean of a sound and some real bass extension. Used ones would be even a better value. Give the 2 or 3 line a listen and let us know how it goes.
Famous cement speakers from the 80's are now back.
Acousticaly dead cabinet and amazing sound. This is
truly the value speaker.
Price is $1,950.00 Swedish kronor = $190.13 US dollars
Do a search on www.audioasylum.com in the speaker asylum for reviews of this speaker
Used original Quad ESL's. Nope, I'm not a "used Quad" dealer, though I've owned and (alas!) sold several pairs. But get a pair at a grand or so, spend another grand having them refurbished and/or upgraded, and for two grand you have the best midrange for under ten grand, period. And getting the midrange right is getting the heart and soul of the music right.
Bwhite, Thank you for the info on the current Rauna Tyr. I owned the Tyr and Tyr II in the 80s and found them the only competition to the LS/35A back then. Another promising small speaker called the Palantir was made by a company that went out of business.Too bad, it may have been another alternative. The Rauna Tyr got the voices right. Its concrete cabinet was revolutionary. "You want to resonate, resonate on this" If the speaker betters the original, I'll be ordering a pair for my second room soon. Thanks for the info,..Frank
Your welcome Frap. It's been a while since I heard the Tyr. I don't know what the current generation sounds like. There was a thread on Audio Asylum about a month ago and some said the company went belly up but an engineer somehow got the rights to the company. Whatever. I recommended these speakers on this thread because I thought it was a 'value' question (which to me means cheap but good). The Tyr's are better than good and at under 200 bucks a great value.
You would be hard pressed to find a better value and bang for the buck than Von Schweikert (www.vonschweikert.com). From entry to cost no object, the Von Schweikerts compare favorably to any speaker, dynamic or electrostat. They are quick and dynamic with huge soundstage, and are very forgiving to room environments. They are custom made, not mass produced and offer a unheard of 10 year warranty.
the pair you like the best that's in your price range... it really all comes down to what YOU like. One thing to take into consideration if you're conserving cash, though, is how difficult to drive the speakers are. My example is that I wanted to get decent speakers ($2000-3000) but I didn't want to simultaneously upgrade my admittedly crappy receiver into a good pre/amp combo. So I listened to a bunch of demos of speakers that were slightly out of my price range... and I listened to them with both great and horrible amplification. I narrowed it down to B&W 804s, B&W 805s, and Linn 5140s. At the end of the day, I went with the Linns because I thought they fit my circumstances best -- (to me!) they sounded better than the 805s on good & bad equipment, and they sounded MUCH better than the 804s on bad equipment. The 804s were better with a great amp/pre combo. But, they were more expensive, and I didn't want to shell out for the amp/pre at that time. I'm just getting ready to start looking for the amp/pre now, which will be great -- another huge upgrade...
Good luck, & buy what you like, not what we like...
No mention of Tyler Acoustics. I'm considering the reference monitors that can be purchased tirectly from Tyler for around 1,300 used. Any one out there herd'em?
By the way I'm a newby in mid-fi range and work in the trades (general contractor). So please don't beat me up as a sales guy for Tyler....
The Gershman Acoustics GAP 520 X
This speaker is elegant and refined like no other in the price range . Each time I look at it looks more beatiful
Throw away your big boring boxes and quirky designs and let the beauty of this speakers sound and looks seduce you.
Here is what the experts say:
"Thought the sound was refined and dynamic -- not to mention eminently affordable" (Stereophile, April 1995)
"...The sound delicious, relaxing, effortless and wonderfully musical" (Stereophile, October 1996)
"...Gershman GAP 520-X produced a sound that definitely high-end. Gershman Acoustics speakers impress me more every time I hear them. In another room, the smaller Avant Gard RX-20 sounded very good driven by Melos Electronics." (Stereophile, December 1996)
"Low frequency extension rounds out the Avant Gardes' strong points, and I mean a really strong point, the type of rock solid foundation that, once you've heard it, is tough to live without...I was wondering just what it was about the Gershman that made them so musical? What was it that they did right, or at least a little bit better than the rest, that allowed them to capture the magic? (The Absolute Sound, Winter 1996)
"...Sounded not just very good, but superb! ...The Avant Garde loudspeakers will literally sing." (The Inner Ear Report, Vol.7, No.2, 1994)
"No coloration, rock solid bass control, and a tendency to disappear magically...Extraordinary, allying robustness and warmth, firmness and refinement. The bring out countless treasure from your records." (UHF Magazine, No.43, 1995)
Epos are the best inexpensive UK speakers value for money IMO. B&W are good for rockers, but do not handle subtlety well enough for me to want to buy a pair.
I also think some of the KEF reference series give a lot for the money.
I'm afraid I'm not familiar with US speakers, though I own Spica Angelus, and they seem pretty good for the money (used, of course).
Here are someto consider:
http://www.gr-research.com paradox 1 ($500) or B&W DM602s3 ($500 with 10-15% dealer discount)
Monitor Audio Bronze 1 - $300 or Sound Dynamics RTS-3 $149 ($300 originally) or Acoustic Energy EVO 1 ($300)
VMPS 626 ribbon monitor ($1,600).
Nautilus 804 ($3,500). People here may know of my search for a better speaker than my N804 and I have pretty much given up. Only thing better has been N802 or ATC active 50's. I only have ATC active 20's and Piega P5/8 left to audition.
Of course, personal taste has a HUGE impact and that could lead someone to prefer Aerial Acoustics, Thiel, JM Labs, Renaud, etc. but I would call these preferences, not better speakers per se.
The Von Schweikert lines of speakers are definitely the best that you are going to find for the price. The VR-4 Gen III can stand up and surpass any of the Wilson speakers at any price. Then you have the VR-1, which is an incredible buy at 1k. This speaker blows away most speakers that are two to three times its price. You just can't go wrong with any of their speakers.
Also..the gateway to hi end really starts at the $800-1k level new...with Vandersteen 1cs, Von S. vr-1s, and Quad 12Ls(which I own)...these are all full range performers...for those with small rooms and where deep bass is not required...the Spendor 3/5s...however...all need stands...even the Vandies...which are the "hidden cost"...but you wont have the "itch" to upgrade any time soon...Dynaudio 52 is also a good candidate...
Innersound Eros MKII or the new MKIII gets my vote. The brand new MKIII list at 8,000 I believe, and MKIIs can be had here on the 'Gon for under 4 at times. These are hybrid electrostats that sound fantastic. They give you all the benefits of the stats with the bass of a dynamic speaker. These come with an electronic crossover/bass amp, so you will have to provide an amp for the stat panels. They are a best buy in TAS and have numerous "thumbs up" reviews.
If you live in an area where there is no dealer, Roger Sanders will give you a 30 day in home trial. By the way, customer support comes no better than Roger.