I have a Bryston 4b SST2 amp and am looking to upgrade from my Vandersteen 2ce Sigs. I like the Vandy’s but I think they are a bit large for my 15’ x 18’ room.
I have been looking at the Harbeth SHL5’s and I have not seen much written about them with the Bryston. Does anyone here have any experience with this combination?
I am also considering the Totem Mani 2’s, Dynaudio’s and a few others. I really hate giving up the low end of the Vandy’s so I am looking for something that might come close in my small room. I really don’t want to go the sub route.
I am looking at used speakers and my budget is in the $2k to $4k range. Any comments and or suggestions are welcome. Oh, I listen to a wide range of music. From Diana Krall to Elvis Costello to Jimmy Buffett.
Harbeths mates very well with quality mosfet amps till 150w (that is the biggest reason for positive feedbacks from Luxman,LfD and ohter similar amps owners) ,not so powerfull like your bryston.It might be killer amp for harbeth.
You'll read some sold on the bump-up to bigger watt amps. The rational I frequently hear is Harbeth's OK with lower watts, but big watts give Harbeth's more resolution, detail, and drive at lower levels. I have not heard this in practice myself but others hear what I do not. Listened to three models of Harbeth's with several big name muscle amps and four different LFD amps of between 50-200 watts over the past three years. Two highly touted 150+ watt amps I heard with C7's and SHL5's actually sounded inferior to several lower watt amps. I heard lower watt Luxman and Leben integrated amps (one tube, one SS) that I easily preferred over two (one tube, one SS) big watt amps with same source. Best recommendation as always is go listen yourself. Shameless plug: I have a lightly used LFD Zero III for sale at a steal price that has synergy galore with Harbeth Compact 7's, SHL5's, and their latest desktop size speakers.
I've tried the Brystons 3bsst, 4bsst and 3bst with the SHL5s and C7es2. They sound ok but there are better choices like the ones mentioned above. The Brystons give a somewhat "hard" sound to the Harbeths.
With Brystons you should audition relatively warmer sounding speakers like Blumenhofer, JMR, Focus Audio, Odyssey Lorelei, Spendor, Proac and the likes.
I have some experience with the Dyns and while they sound controlled and smooth with Brystons but they also sound relatively cold with them. Dyns need warmer sounding amps like Plinius, Mark Levinson and the likes. Same with the Totems.
Totem They're also very room sensitive. They need breathing room. Not sure if your room is big enough for the Mani-2s. Sounds crazy for a monitor speaker, but just going by what I've heard people say several times. One or two were dealers.
Half of my post got cut off some how. Damn iPhone...
The Totem Mani-2 is a very hard speaker to drive. A friend's McIntosh MA6900 went into protection mode on a regular basis when driven slightly past normal levels. His room was on the smaller side too.
The 4B SST2 is a very strong amp, but it may actually be on that fine line of enough or not enough. I'm a huge Bryston fan and own a B60, so it's not a shot at it. Any normal to difficult speaker will be fine with it. The Mani-2 is beyond difficult.
I'm also a huge fan of the Mani-2. When properly driven, which is almost impossible, and some room to breathe, it could be one of the best speakers there is, regardless of price. There are a ton of people out there who've given up and sold their Mani-2s because they're almost impossible to live with.
I've never owned them. Just going by what friends and dealer's have told me about their experience with them. I've also read the same thing countless times on forums.
In my OP I mentioned my budget was $2k-$4k. I am not opposed to spending less, so when you have a range from say, $1k and up, there are many choices. The Harbeth’s were on the short list but I think you all have convenienced me that they may not be the best choice to go with my Bryston.
Jaybo, did you mean the Vandy 2ce Sig. II's? I would be curious to hear the difference between mine and the II’s. I really do like the Vandy’s but I think they can be improved upon. The II’s might be perfect, but I’m in the mood to try something different.
It’s odd that the third largest city in the US (Houston) only has a couple of high-end audio stores. My in-store listening options are limited and I know that what I hear in the store may not be what I hear in my room with my gear. I have to rely, at least somewhat, on other people’s opinions and reviews. Since everyone’s ears and tastes are different, I could end up getting something I don’t like or missing something I would like, but I have found, for the most part, the info I pick up is pretty much right on.
There have been some good suggestions already. I have heard great things about Focus Audio and need to look into them some more. Thanks for all the comments and I’m looking forward to more suggestions.
Cmo...A weekend in Austin visiting dealers might be a good idea.
It seems that in my budget – up to $4k – there is just a plethora of options. It’s too bad it’s not as simple as, the higher the price, the better the speaker.
For a while, I was looking at the Sonas Faber line, but many reviews seem to say it’s an okay speaker in a really nice box.
As I research Totem, I keep running into comparisons with Ohm Micro. Most posts seem to favor the Ohm Micro and they cost less. Anyone here have an opinion?
As I mentioned, my room is fairly small. Are the any speakers that love being close to the back wall? It seems like most high-end speakers like being two feet or more from the back wall. That puts my sitting position about eight feet from the front of the speaker. That’s not too close, but if it’s a big floor stander, it feels like they are right on top of you.
The Ohm line is definitely worth a look. Whether their "pseudo-omni" presentation floats your boat is something you'd have to judge for yourself, but the Micro Walsh Talls boast a tiny footprint, great low end, tonal neutrality (great for voices) and a sweet top end. And with the 3 month no risk (except for shipping) home trial, you don't have much to lose.
In my experience, FWIW, the Ohms like lots of solid state power, so you should be in good shape with your Bryston electronics.