Can you get "bookshelf sound" from a floorstander?

Listened to B&W's 6 series and much prefered the 686 and 685 to the more expensive floorstanders. I'm a junkie for clear and coherent vocals and the floorstanders seemed to muddy the sound.
Listened to Dynaudio Focus 110s and loved them. Compared them to the Contour 5.4s and I loved the top end of them even more than the Focus' but was again bothered by what I want to call an incoherence... lack of focus... integration... with the low end.

Owned Totem Arros and Dreamcatcher monitors with Dreamcatcher sub and prefered the dreamcatcher monitors over the Arros and without the sub, too.

Am I just a bookshelf guy? Was it my choice of floorstanders? Setup? Anyone have better words to describe what I'm trying to say? I certainly love the low end and dynamic grunt of the big ones but not at such expense.
Ever hear Merlin VSM floorstanders? They're about as close to "monitor" sound as I've heard.

I also think Silverline Prelude fall into this category, but they're not as refined as the Merlins (but they cost about 1/10 of the Merlins).
That's an interesting dilemma. Could it be the room?
Certainly, if they are good florrstanders that are set up properly, just as you might similarly with monitors on good stands.

For coherent sound top to bottom, I like as few transducers as possible and for the configuration of those drivers present to approximate a point or line source and a neutral timbre overall.

Small 2-way monitors tend to approximate a point source better than most floorstanders, though not always, so I tend to prefer those monitors over floorstanders in general in most rooms.

In larger rooms listening from a greater distance, I can get on better with some well designed and constructed floor-standers otherwise in that the sonic radiation pattern of these in larger rooms is more like that of 2-way monitors in a smaller room.

I own VSMs and concur.

I also have Preludes in my gym. That one's a bit of a stretch. A good speaker and great value, but not a substitute for a top shelf monitor.

I also have Preludes in my gym. That one's a bit of a stretch. A good speaker and great value, but not a substitute for a top shelf monitor.

Martykl (Reviews | Threads | Answers)
I never claimed they were a substitute for a top shelf monitor, and since the OP mentioned Totem Dreamcatchers, I didn't think his target comparison was a top shelf monitor...just the bookshelf "monitor sound" in general.

But anyway, I'll retract the Prelude suggestion.
In my experience, bookshelves are sometimes able to "fit" in rooms that may cause bass/imaging balance issues for more full range floorstanders/speakers. I just went through this in my place. In my situation bookshelf speakers are working better against some of my room's challenges. I've had my floorstanders in other rooms and they've performed great (so I'm not getting rid of them ;) ). But for right now I am going to bookshelves until I'm in rooms better suited for my floorstanders.
I own a pair of Proac 2.5

They are a 2 way and very competent design that is rated 20 HZ to 30 Khz, nice small footprint and very musical. Almost like a good monitor but with floorstander bass and only 2 drivers.

I had them on auction recently but the buyer flaked. I may have a back up buyer but if there is interest let me know.

I know the sound. I spent considerable time with Audio Physics floorstanders and found them to do the disappearing act better than any other floorstander I've heard. Of course they do the very slim line cabinet thing to accomplish this.

They get the vocals, acoustic piano and bass right.
Two way bookshelves are often best value in the under 5K category. For some reason you need to go quite expensive to get equivalent clarity in a large three way. It may be a masking effect, bass notes masking higher frequencies so it is best to go for a speaker with very tight musical bass or you will lose some clarity. Remember that most bigger floor standers are intended to impress customers with overwhelming deep extended bass.

I agree with Marty about the Merlin VSM.
You need to audition the Dynaudio Confidence C1.
You might want to audition a pair of Vandersteen 3A Signatures. They are full range, floor-standers cost about $4K new. You will be surprised how pure and coherent vocal sounds.
Why would you want to?

OK, I'm old fashioned but I still think of "bookshelf" speakers as the ARs and KLHs of the '60s and '70s, often shown in ads actually placed in bookshelves.

But I believe you are actually asking about stand mounted (monitor style) compared to floorstanders.

Last point first, you mention expense but many of the stand mounts can be very expensive too, and even more-so once the cost of appropriate stands is added in. Just price the Magicos!

Considering sonics, to me the advantage of better stand mounted speakers is the openness from good dispersion and minimized cabinet colorations. But they either lack the warmth of musical foundations in the lowest two octaves or they include a "false" bass from a designed-in peak, usually between 60 and 180 Hz.

With proper design, good floor standing speakers can avoid the boxy, closed-in sounds and cabinet colorations to which you may be objecting. A few options have been suggested above and I would agree with Vandersteen, Audio Physics, Proac, and Merlin. I would add Duntech/DAL, Thiel, Totem, and Gallo. I'm sure there are others that I'm not so familiar with.
I own a Proac Studio 110 and it is rated 33 hz to 30 khz.Very nice high/mid...a little tiny shy on the low end but can live with it...i am not a bass freak anyway.
Very musical and lots of fun to listen to especially amp on hf and s/s on mid/bass.
Thanks for all of your responses guys (or gals).

I think the issue I'm having is likely a combination of all of the factors mentioned above (speaker choice, driver configuration, cabinet resonances, room acoustics...)

Sadly, most of the speakers mentioned are out of my price range at this time. I'm hoping to spend around 1K or less used.

Pryso: Yes, I should refer to them as monitor or standmount. Thanks for that.

Mapman: Can you make a recommendation for a speaker that has "as few transducers as possible and for the configuration of those drivers present to approximate a point or line source and a neutral timbre overall."?

I plan on going into specifics about speakers I've heard and asking for recommendations but I'd prefer to do that in a seperate post.

What I'm hearing so far, is that most of you believe you CAN in fact get that "monitor magic" I've been experiencing in a floorstanding speaker.
Eyediver: If you go with Merlin, you will need to replace your entire system. Bobby insists on Cardas cables, it used to be Joule electronics, etc. It seems as though his speakers are voiced in such a way that they only sound "right" with certain -- and expensive -- equipment. That always struck me as odd, but that's the reality. They're also lacking in coherence. I think you can do a lot better for less money. (Bobby certainly doesn't skimp on the quality of the stuff he puts into the boxes, and that is reflected in the price.)

You might want to check out Von Schweikert, Spendor and Totem's The One. There are lots of good choices out there.
"That one's a bit of a stretch." Couldn't agree more, it seems to be the standard here anymore. Some also are the first to stretch and it's seems to be a part time job at it ! Only in America can one waste so much time and energy on baloney.

OHM Micro Walsh are floor standers using a Walsh driver configuration that meets those criteria in your price range.

I use slightly larger and more costly versions of these in my system, but the Micros come pretty close to these from what I have heard.

Totem Arros also but you've already eliminated those.

The VSM presents a sufficiently benign load to the amp that virtually ANY model over 10-15 wpc will work well. I've used more than a dozen different power amps from 300B SET designs to SS high output monsters. Ironically, it allows successful system matching with a greater variety of amps than just about any other extended bandwidth speaker (in-room bass to <30hz) that I've heard. Bobby's personal preferences aside, it's simply wrong to suggest that anyone need change out their system to accomodate VSMs (unless they're running flea powered SET amps).

I'd also point out that the system is a 2 way with x-over at 2200hz. This set up should intuitively provide more "coherent" sound than 3 ways or systems which feature x-over points in the octave or 2 around middle C, where the ear is most sensitive to discontinuity. In my experience, that is exactly what happens with the VSM.

Of course, you're entitled to your opinions, but your specific criticisms of the VSM are at odds with my 10+ years of experience with this speaker. It's not perfect, by any means, but it is Very easy to match to the amp of your choice and it is Very "coherent" (seamless) for a speaker with its low bass roll-off point.

With a budget of <$1K, many options suggested here are taken off the table.

From my years in this hobby, if I was shopping for speakers at $1K used, my first choice would be the best deal I could find on Vandersteen 1 or 2. Various versions were produced for each model so I would look for the latest available.

Not everyone is a fan of the Vandy sound, some find it muffled and/or without high end detail and extension. Others of us find it to offer realistic treble information without false brightness. One main advantage with all Vandys is the lack of cabinet colorations, a specific objective in Richard's designs. They also offer solid bass response at their respective price points.

Some may argue with this point but I believe Vandys must be placed away from the front and side walls to sound their best. When positioned properly, they can sound good with some modest electronics, but reward the owner with every upgrade. With proper set up and decent electronics, they can be one of the most open and uncolored systems I know of.
martykl, from what i remember, 9rw did own an earlier vsm model and had his room quite heavily damped to control his present speakers of choice. too bad he did not do what the merlins needed in this regard. later vsms, especially the mme/mxe are excellent with ss and tube amps as all of the reviews suggest. a much wider cross section of wire can be used and enjoyed on them too. we have come a long way since 9rw's time with the product.
best, b
I had the VSM SE and used all Cardas cables along with an Audio Research LS25 preamp and various amps, including the ARC VT100, the VT100MKII, a Rowland Model 2 and Rowland Model 10. When I switched to the Dunlavy SC-IV/A it was a HUGE improvement. Bobby told me my amp and preamp were not good matches for the Merlin. Anyway, the room wasn't the problem -- and it was not heavily damped.

So, Marty, please tell us about your associated equipment. Also, are you a fan of pro audio gear? I get the impression that you are, and that's an entirely different world compared to the refinement that I seek in a strictly two-channel system.

From what you write, it's doubtful that you've heard a phase- and time-coherent speaker -- like the Dunlavy, Vandersteen, Thiel or Von Schweikert. These speakers truly disappear. When I had the Merlins, a non-audio friend (but a music lover) said he could hear the tweeter and midrange/woofer drivers distinctly (separately). That's not a good thing.

I have nothing but praise for Bobby's commitment to excellence and his customer service. I just think he's pushed a small two-way design to its limit -- plus you can do a lot better for less money. I'd look to Totem for openers.
9rw, the vsm se was voiced around se triodes and is now, a 10 to 12 year old product. it has been out of production for at least 9 years. the millennium, the mm and the mme were listened to extensively with ss and tube amps and sound very different than the se. i'll bet you you had an ac bam. as i said we have gone a long way since you have listened to our product. the vt 100 was a great amp but the pre was not indicative of what you could have had for sound.
none the less, imho it is pointless to discuss the sound of a product that has not been made for almost 10 years and present it like it has a bearing on current production.
best, b
9rw, the vsm se was voiced around se triodes and is now, a 10 to 12 year old product. it has been out of production for at least 9 years. the millennium, the mm and the mme were listened to extensively with ss and tube amps and sound very different than the se. the later models are more room filling and coherent. you may have even had an early ac bam. as i said, we have gone a long way since you have listened to our product.
the vt 100 was and is a great amp but the pre was not indicative of what you could have had for sound.
none the less, imho it is pointless to discuss the sound of a product that has not been made for almost 10 years and present it like it has a bearing on current production.
best, b
Bobby: It's still a speaker that isn't phase- and time-coherent. Plus you equalize it to achieve your desired results and upgrade it continuously, making all previous models virtually worthless in the audio world. Also, the cost is prohibitive compared to the competition. Be totally objective and listen to a pair of Totem Arros -- at about 1/10th of the price. Then ask yourself if your speaker represents a good value.

The ARC LS25 was actually highly regarded and still is by many members of Audiogon.

Again, your passion is admirable, but the speakers you made many years ago were better.
9rw, you are entitled to your opinion but imho, you are very wrong.
the vsm is now a very mature and finshed design and is capable of remarkably life like sound with little or no distortion. there are different kinds of coherence and perhaps if you had heard one of the latest models you would understand what i am emplying. i equalize and filter bandwidth to control distortion components which all speakers are riddled with. the things that you did not like about the se are maybe, not there any longer.
but how would you know.
best, b
and by the way 9rw, i have heard the arro and it is indeed a very good speaker system, especially for the price asked. but it does not do what the merlin is capable of doing. again imho.
best, b

I do like some pro audio gear, but I've never owned/lived with any at home. OTOH, I have lived with Thiel (3.x, late '90s can't recall the precise designation, probably because they belonged to girlfriend's former boyfriend). I've also heard the SC-IV and Vandy 2s (Vandy 5 and Quattro, just a bit less) extensively. I'm completely unfamiliar with Von Schweikert and Totem.

IME, the Thiels would be closest in character to the Merlin, though they have greater ultimate output capability in the bass and a slightly crisper upper mid/treble. It's the latter quality that would lead me back to the VSMs - which themselves walk a fine line for me in this regard.

The SC-IV are a very different animal with a more prominent bottom octave, a tonality that many people prefer, but just ain't my cup of tea for the long run. The Vandy 2 is great - a warm, musical speaker that represents great value, but isn't IMHO in the same league as any of the others you listed for audiophile "Parlor tricks". It's probably the best value of the bunch if you're not a hobbyist.

Oddly, my associated stuff looks a lot like yours.

Primarily LS-25/VT-130SE. Sources include a Sony SCD-1, Cary 303, and QSonix server with Benchmark DAC 1 and a DacMagic for digital. Analog is via an Aesthetix Rhea fed by an Oracle/Graham/Graham and a A-Solid/Rega/Lyra.

I also use these same sources with a Joule Line Amp with TAD SS monos (previously a Krell KSA 50s and later Odyssey monos) for SS. Tube options now include Cary 300Bs and 805s, Prima Luna 7s, and a Panacor Dyna St-70 reissue. There were too many tube amps thru the system over the last 10 years to list all of them here. On occasion, I've used my Bel Canto and Pathos integrated with the VSMs as well.

Other speakers currently include the Verity Parsifal Encore, Sonus Faber Cremona, Zingali 3s, Red Rose Ribbon monitor, and a biamp set up where mains are either Ohm 100s or Maggie SMGs with digitally room corrected subs. You may have noticed that I have some sort of disorder regarding the hording of hardware.

I'm a bit surprised that you'd group Thiel, Dunlavy and Vandy since (despite the common use of first order x-overs) these speakers sound very different, one to the next, to my ear. The Vandys, in particular, come from a different place; unless you're talking Quatros or 5s, which can be adjusted to sound like a lot of different things, including - to some extent - VSMs.

As to hearing the separate drivers in the VSMs, either your friend has much better hearing than me (possible!) and everyone else who has heard the speaker with me (feels less likely), is mistaken (also possible), or there's some issue with your particular speakers. Literally, dozens of people (including many audio hobbyists) have heard the VSMs at the various homes my VSMs have resided in over the years, and none has made that particular comment. A fair number of folks have said they'd prefer a different tonal balance (read: more bass), but that matter of personal preference ALWAYS comes into play for extended bandwidth speakers. Some like vanilla, others prefer chocolate.

There are always different takes on any speaker system, and I respect those opinions. The only reason that I commented is because the issues of driver integration and system compatibility aren't the ones that I'd ever associate with Merlin VSMs. I will concede that system matching is often something of a fetish for many Merlin owners, but that's not because there's only one right answer.

I believe that the idea of "magic" system matching to optimize the VSMs' performance arises because:

A) The speaker is very revealing. This motivates listeners to comment on upstream equipment more often than a less revealing alternative (the Vandy being a prime example, IMHO) might.


B) Bobby has strong opinions on system matching and fans of the speakers sometimes take that to exclude alternative choices.

Feels like one of those "agree to disagree".

Marty: Thanks for the thoughtful response. My system consists of a Wadia 861SE with Steve Huntley's Statement upgrade -- about as good as it gets for anything close to the money -- an ARC VS115 amp, Acoustic Zen interconnects and speaker cables and a pair of Von Schweikert VR-4Srs. I also use a REL Stadium III crossed over at about 27 hertz and have a pair of Totem Arros and Dunlavy SC-II's as backup speakers.

Incidentally, the Dunlavy SC-IV/A was infinitely better than the SC-IV. I wish I had kept mine. There's no emphasis in the bass region, which is evident by measurement and by listening.

Finally, accuracy isn't a matter of personal taste. A system is either accurate or it isn't, and not all people are qualified to judge accuracy. Granted, no system is 100 percent accurate -- meaning true to the source -- but the degrees of deviation vary considerably. To just dismiss this all as a matter of personal opinion is fine, but that's not the goal of a true audiophile.

I tend to agree with you re: an extent.

I've measured the VSMs @ +/- 4db from 120hz to 15khz in my last room, and -3db at 33hz, -10db at 25hz: which is pretty good in my book. (There was some unappetizing lumpiness between 35hz and 120hz, but it's all room related).

Unfortunately, that's a static test tone, on-axis measurement. It's the best measurement we have -IMHO- for judging accuracy, but far from dispositive. By this test, the VSMs are as good as anything I've measured (except for the room corrected subs below app 80hz). I still can't say that makes them more accurate than others which do worse on this particular test because some people may prefer room response to on-axis testing. There are also tests for dynamic behavior (which I've never tried). Are small errors in the mid-range more important than somewhat larger errors above or below the key midle octaves. Small colorations vs octave to octave imbalances? How do you prioritize?

So, to be fair, accuracy is somewhat subjective - you pick your test to reflect your priorities.

Marty: Frequency response is just half of the equation. The other half is phase- and time-coherency. Bobby's latest designs may in fact be a lot better than the speakers I owned, but I wouldn't be willing to spend $10,000 or more to find out. You're still limited by the basic design in terms of dynamic capability and coherency. Like it or not, but properly designed large speaker systems simply have greater capabilities. This may not matter if you have a small room, prefer intimacy and don't care about a sense of realism.
Guys, especially Bobby, Some this debate os fine, but please remember that OP's budget is $1K. You can start another thread which does not hijack someone's else's.
... please remember that OP's budget is $1K.
Aktchi (Threads | Answers)

...I'll put the Silverline Prelude recommendation back on the table.

I'd say that frequency response is FOR ME much, much more than half the story, but your point is an extent. The idea that any single deviation from thoretically perfect neutrality in any ONE respect can be deemed equal to another deviation in a different respect is simply not true on the face of it. Deviation from flat on-axis frequency response versus power response versus bandwidth versus dynamic compresssion can't be quantified to measure relative importance.

To your 3 specific points: coherency in 1st order x-overs, large systems, and dynamics:

1) First order analog crossovers cause drivers to significantly overlap in their operating ranges, a condition which presents it's own issues. If phase perfect response is half the story and frequency response the other half, why aren't you using a room corrected, digitally crossed system? These speakers will typically deliver near perfect in-room frequency and phase response, and any event will blo away your system (and mine) on these parameters.

Note also that the crossovers in these devices will typically be designed for super HIGH order operation, specifically to avoid the problems associated with first order crossovers. I assume you don't go this way because FR and phase response together are NOT the whole story.

2 + 3) Properly designed large systems have greater capability? I don't entirely follow. Large cabinets often mean more bass capability, but that's no free lunch, either. More cabinet often means more cabinet coloration, impaired imaging, etc. If you mean 3 way systems are superior to 2 way systems (assuming extended bandwidth), that's a mixed bag, too. You may get more dynamic capability, but usually at the EXPENSE of the coherence of a 2 way system (additional x-over and driver).

Also, if you really want to maximize dynamics, your sub should be crossed in much, much higher than it is (and shouldn't be a REL). However, I'm gonna guess that you object to the integration issues of higher x-over frequency and chose REL for it's superior "speed" (group delay performance). I'd go the other way EVERY TIME, but that doesn't make me right, either.

Look, you like what you like because you have your priorities. That's cool. But don't confuse the "greater capability" of a large system with superior "sense of realism" in any given room. That is an overstatement.

Sorry all.

Got involved in the debate at the expense of the OP, but won't go any further. At $1k, I'll defer to Tvad, the Prelude is a good call.


You may just be "monitor person"

Some floor standers worth a listen that I thought sounded especially "coherent" and right in the price range you suggest (under a thousand used [or new?]).

Totem Arro (OK, you already rejected these)
Quad 21L2
Dynaudio Audience 72 or 72SE
Paradigm Monitor 9 (new, large, truly remarkable for money)
Monitor Audio RS6
> Can you get "bookshelf sound" from a floorstander?

Sure, but note that

3-way designs can have double the parts cost of 2-ways since the bass drivers are expensive, the mid-range needs to be a band-pass instead of a low-pass, and the low cross-over frequency calls for bigger reactive components. Where retail markups mean 'decent' but not exceptional parts put a $2K per pair price-tag on 2-ways you're looking at $4K a pair.

A floor standing two way is long enough to have audible resonances from standing waves within it and is likely to have larger areas of unbraced cabinet (Siegfried Linkwitz suggests no more than four square inches of unbraced panel).
Marty: No offense, but unless you've published papers in peer-reviewed journals, I don't think there's a whole lot you can teach me about audio. I've been at this a long time, have heard hundreds of high-end systems and am a trained musician. I have a pretty good idea of what live acoustic music is supposed to sound like.

Your comment about the REL sub is totally unfounded, for example, as REL used to make a fine product. My Von Schweikerts operate full range and have plenty of dynamic capability. REL doesn't use a crossover between the sub and the main speakers. I've gone that route with other subs and hated the results.

My guess is that you prefer a pro audio high impact kind of sound instead of the refinement and purity that I demand. To each his own.

As for Eyediver, the Totem Arro is hard to beat for about $800 used. It is simply amazing at its price and in some ways makes it hard to justify purchasing speakers costing a lot more.
[Editing previous message for typos and adding one clarification:]

Much of this debate is interesting and informative enough in its own right, but please remember that OP's budget is $1K USED. Presumably that means speakers that sell/sold for up to $2k NEW. You can start another thread for other issues, focusing here to help OP and others with similar quest.
9rw, I agree regarding the Arros but poster has already indicated he has owned those and preferred a different monitor and sub combo.
aktchi, you are absolutely right about this. however, i first responded to the string "after" a person made what are imo, incorrect assumptions based on a product that was designed 12 years ago. one that was designed with triodes in mind rather than a broader product mix. a voiced product and not what i call "a neutral concept" approach which i have followed since late 1999. what followed then were mean spirited comments and i simply defended myself and product. once you think you know everything and refuse to consider new ideas, it is really over for you and those around you.
life is all about learning.
best, b
It is my hope to respond more fully and individually in the next few days to this thread. I went ahead and posted another thread with (a lot more! ;) information about what I've heard and liked/didn't like. I think this info might help steer your recommendations a bit more.
Once again, thanks for all of your responses.
Oops! Forgot the link.
"The great speaker quest"
Having read your latest thread, and learning that you have owned 16 pairs of
loudspeakers and that you are still unsatisfied, my first reaction is that there
have been many responses here, and there will undoubtedly be many
responses in your new thread, but I wonder if anything suggested will
ultimately be 100% satisfactory.

My second reaction is to wonder if you have matched any of the 16 pairs of
speakers with an optimal amplifier. Some of the qualities you describe as
unsatisfactory (brightness, for example) can often be attributed to tonal
imbalance due to the speaker being driven by an amplifier that does not
produce midrange and bass decibel levels in balance with the highs.
Agree with TVAD.

You've had some good speaks. Sounds like maybe they were not matched to amp well or there was some other poor synergy going on.
Bobby: Aren't your speakers using the same drivers -- or drivers that are extremely similar -- to the ones I had in the late 1990s? If not, how are they different? And aren't the cabinets pretty much identical? If not, how are they different?

Also, when I purchased a pair of VSM SE's from one of your dealers, you both knew what preamp and amp (ARC -- hardly garbage) I was using and didn't bother to tell me that it wouldn't sound good. I'm not sure who you're referring to when you say "mean spirited comments." It certainly isn't me, and none of this is personal.
9rw, you jump in with both feet and say a bunch of nonsense pertaining to a situation you had with a 4th geneation discontinued product (from 10 years ago) and make it appear like it still has bearing today. this is both dishonest and confusing to those who read this forum.
then when i try to tell marty in an understated manner what the history is, you start to lose your cool and said mean spirited things. the one person who could have explained the difference bewteen the se and the mxe (marty) you blew off like a pompous know it all. well, 9rw, you are not the only musician who comes here, you are not the only one who has heard 100s of systems, read tecnical journals or even worked in recording venues. some of us even have a very significant technical understanding of this sound thing. we just use these experiences and knowledge differently than you appear to. sound is not a contact sport, it is about the joy of music and the effects on your heart and soul.
lets just say we agree to disagee and leave it at that because you are so closed minded you won't even allow yourself to see another way or learn something. one concept does not fit all.
i can hear you rationizing how different can the sound be with so many things looking so similar? the proof is in the listening and then, with first hand knowledge you can say your peace.
to many, the arc pres are known to have a recessive mid band. think about their reference speaker of years gone by. in a situation where the speaker is as linear as the vsm is, this would tend to stratify the treble and bass as your friend found. you called it garbadge, not i.
and your room may be damped pefectly for your vrs and sub but it is way over done for the merlins. i have been through this with you before, have you forgotten?
best, b
Bobby: You're incredibly defensive for having done this for such a long time. I would think you would have developed a bit thicker skin. Besides, I'm certainly not being mean spirited, and you're certainly not answering my questions about the drivers and the cabinet. So it must be a new crossover that has dramatically changed the sound of your speakers, right? While you are convinced that the sound of the latest generation -- how many iterations is it again, I've lost count? -- is a night and day improvement, many trained ears probably wouldn't hear much if any difference.

I've been out of the house where the Dunlavy SC-IV/A stomped the VSM SE for many years. The Von Schweikerts have sounded fantastic in two houses, as did the Dunlavys.

If you reread my posts, you'll see that I have not made this personal. I just think your product costs too much for what it delivers, plus it takes at least $20,000 to $30,000 in associated gear to sound "right." These days, that's difficult for some people to justify.

By the way, is the recessed midrange of the ARC preamps something that you have measured? I'd like to see those measurements. You didn't like the ARC VT100MKII amp, either. And I guess the Rowland Models 2 and 10 and the ARC 100.2 were at fault, too.
9rw, i am not incredibly defensive just fair minded. i responded to your post in a very understated open minded manner as a gentleman would. you on the other hand lost your cool and became more pointed as time went on.
why waste time and effort answering questions when it is obvious from what you implied that because the drivers and cabinets seem silimlar that there could not be much change in sound. you implied it at first but then came right out and said it in the post above. to many it is a night and day improvement but they have smaller rooms and make assessments based on their qulaitative issues and not quantity due to a larger room needs. what these people are looking for is something that is different than you based on smaller room requirements. the vsm is not designed to fill a football field and you should not get upset with it because it doesn't. maybe that is what is wrong. you are upset because you purchased the the wrong product for your taste. if bigger speakers with more drivers make you happy, so be it. i am happy for you. you seem to want a larger speaker with more room filling qualities, even a sub. many do not. that does not make you right or wrong or them, right or wrong. each buys what they think is best suited to their needs.
there were all kinds of strings in the past discussing the possible improvements but as improved as they are they probably will not be your cup of tea.
i have people using very low powered amps, 20 or 30 watters that do not cost a lot and enjoying them immensely. i even did a stereophile show with a $4000, 30 watt amp and many thought it was one of the best sounding exibits there. so i do not agree. still though, the resolution and coherence potential in a smaller room will allow you to use an all out system and reap its benefits.
and as far as the arc preamp midrange, it may test right but it sounded recessive and that is what i speak of. it did not sound continuous from top to bottom. this is something you cannot measure but can surely hear. again think of their reference speaker and you will see it clearly. the amps were fine as i said before. i like the vt100 and still do.
why don't you drop it and have a nice memorial day weekend.
best, b
Bobby: I'll drop this when you do. First, my room wasn't big at all. It was about 13 by 20. Is that big? Also, I'm not losing my cool at all, but you seem to be. And you simply refuse to answer my questions about drivers, crossovers and cabinets. Is that because they're basically the same with some minor tweaks that you think are huge? Maybe that's not the case, but you won't answer my question so no one will ever know.

As for preferences, I love the Totem Arro. Is that a huge speaker with lots of drivers? Is the Dunlavy SC-II? Hardly. And I'm certainly not trying to fill a football field with sound. That's just an attempt to misrepresent what I've said. I listen almost exclusively to acoustic music and value neutrality, refinement and coherency.

Enjoy your weekend.
I wonder if Eyediver is gaining anything toward narrowing his speaker search from this discussion between Bobbyapalkovic and 9rw?