If I were you, I would be expanding your short list to include Focus Audio, Wilson, Dynaudio, and Verity Audio products as well. Also, a word or two about the size of your room, and your listening preferences would help to take the guesswork out of recommendations.
Devore Fidelity Silverback Reference
how about Vienna Acoustic Mahler?
The Sonus are to the warmish side of neutral, very sweet sounding, require some juice to come alive but a very magical mid range sound.
The Talons are more dynamic, deeper bass, clearer sounding, can play real loud, have better details but not as sweet sounding. They sound very good with all music.
You need to hear them for yourself to determine what you prefer and you need to bring the music that you love to listen to in order to decide what speaker is right for you.
Hope this was somewhat helpful.
You forgot the Andra II used and the Andra III.
I own the IIs and they will stay in my musical
for a very long time.
You should also consider Avalon Eidolons, Vandersteen 5a (used set for sale on Agon right now) and Montana speakers(very Dynamic).
You should add Von Schweikert"s to your list
I would also consider the Firebirds.
I'll second Sugarbrie's recommendation of the Devore Fidelity Silverback Reference. They replaced a pair of Vandersteen Fives in my system, and I couldn't be happier.
You can buy a used pair of Dynaudio Confidence C4's for under $10K. I just LOVE these speakers! (and so does my wife....high WAF due to styling).
Don't forget to add the Caravelle monitors from Star Sound to your audition list.
Room dimensions are 27 x 30 open loft space (Odd angles create a sonic challenge) will be looking at sound traps at some point. I listen primarily to Jazz, however; enjoy the old rock tunes as well.
PS Auditioned the Wilson Sophia and Watt Puppy 7's. My opinion is, too much $$ for the incremental improvement.
I would consider Woodmeres by Tyler Accoustics . I have a pair so I am a bit biased . Speakers in the price range you are asking about are all so good that it will come down to your own personal idea of what great sound is and if you are hearing that from the speakers you are auditioning .
Leaving GMA Continuum 3's off this short list would be a crime.
Here's a couple to add to your list. GMA C-3 and Zu Cable Definition. Check 6moons.com reviews for further details. Plenty has been written about these two exception speaker manufacturers.
From what I've read and private emails I've received these two will blow away all on your short list.
A big room - you might also want to consider one of the larger models from PMC. They would definitely fill your space.
You might contact HiFiManiac, he just purchased the $5,000.00 Harmonic Pecision Caravelle's that Krellcoda mentioned. He replaced his $40,000.00 Wilson MAXX's with them. Yes they're that good. He might be willing to sell the Wilson's if you want to spend more than $5,000.00.
Bryston 9B SST
Two B&W 802Ds (Bi-Channelled/Bi-Amped)
My B&Ws were 12000 before tax. I love how they sound in my system. I put a live Grateful Dead CD with HDCD coding, a concert I was actually at, and it seemed fairly accurate, at least as far as i could tell with my ears. You could at those prices check out the B&W 801Ds. I personally have been very happy with the B&Ws I have owned, they seem to play exactly what they are given without flavoring/tainting the music. But, as you know, the only way to truly know how YOU feel is to test speakers out for yourself, perhaps you can find a dealer who will let you bring your most important components in and try speakers out. If a dealer won't take the time to let you do this, at that price range, then they aren't worth dealing with anyway IMO...
I'm trying out high end CD sources next year after I get my XBox 360 in two weeks, and a 1080p TV after X-mas. I'm likely going to go dCS starting with a DAC (not sure which one of the two yet - but I'll use the Denon as a transport till I save more money) and then moving up with the transport, then the upsampler, and then the clock. If i don't do this I'll likely save up for the other 8 series B&W speakers for a surround setup (HTM1D or HTM2D, 805s and ASW855 or the lower priced sub). So I am pretty committed to my B&Ws, and have been since I first tested the 703s and 804s (I bought a 5.1 B&W 7 series setup and traded them in at cost to upgrade to the two 802Ds - I couldn't be happier, well unless I had the 800Ds, but those are 20k a pair!) I did test the 800Ds just to check them out... If you can go that high, i would do it.
It seems the higher up you go with the B&Ws the larger the soundstage gets and thus the more separated the instruments become from one another, from the 7 series through the 8, I havn't noticed a lack of dynamics; the highs through the lows seem to be represented harmoniously with neutral sources like my Brystons. I sit back and listen to SACDS for hours, sometimes drifting in and out of the edges of sleep, when I should be upstairs sleeping with my wife in bed, getting a good 8 hours sleep instead of 5 or 6. I'm so enthusiastic about the sound of my system that I sacrifice good sleep to use it more often. That to me is what it is all about, creating a system I don't want to stop listening to.
In short, the 802Ds provide a stable, neutral, well balanced musical image. But as with many things in audio, this is my subjective experience. Go take a listen somewhere for yourself.
Yeah, agree with dawgbyte. Save some money and get something new -- Zu Definitions. At $11,000 you can even spring for the custom Dupont Chroma automotive finish in any color you want. Definitions make the speakers on your short list irrelevant, especially at their prices.
Thanks all for the responses. With all of the additional recommendations you have, I am reminded that asking one question often leads to 10 more you have to answer. It would be utopia if you could go to one venue to listen and compare all of the reference systems available. Factoring in you must listen to gear in an endless variation of set-ups, room configurations, treatment, etc....always tough to truly compare. Bigkidz, thanks for the direct comparison. I favor warmth, detail, and transparency when enjoying my favorite jazz recordings and am leaning toward the Sonus Faber Amatis....a SS guy for now. Jkalman, listened to the N802D's recently. Driven with a Boulder 1060 Amp, Boulder 1012 Pre, ML390 and Transparent Cables. First impression should be good, however; I was not impressed. My system in my home sounded better. Of course the room was far from ideal (under construction, 17ft. angled ceilings, ceiling to floor glass windows and no sound treatment other than carpet). They say they perform as well as the N800's...I hardly believe that. Maybe I will give them a try in my home.
Keep the comparisons coming.
To each their own, tastes in speakers are fairly subjective. They sound great to me in my listening space with my equipment, which is a 19 foot by 33 foot room (rectangular). I could use a better source, but even with this one, I'm satisfied till I save up for something good.
If you are looking for coloration of your jazz music, you likely won't get that from a B&W speaker, perhaps try some of the Boston Acoustic speakers along with those Sonus Fabers. I don't like a speaker adding too much of its own character to recordings, but that is just me, and that is why I like the B&Ws so much, also it is the same reason I am using the Brystons. Especially because I like to listen to a lot of live performances, like the Dead, Yes, Allman Brothers, Three Gs, as well as live Jazz and classical (I have pretty much all of the "Living Stereo" recordings). I value my speakers for their neutrality, so I can get as close as possible to the real sound as on the day I went to some of the concerts I listen to (Dead shows especially).
As far as performing as well as the N800s, I'd read in reviews that they perform better than the last generation N800s and that the 800Ds are better sounding than the 802Ds (I agree with that, but couldn't justify going that high in price), but I wouldn't put too much stock in a review, especially if you don't find yourself enjoying the sound...
why that price range? ive seen systems that the fella spent thousands on amps and devices,then built his own loudspeakers. in fact one guy sold his watt puppys to build his own for a fraction of the cost,,and he is even happier than with the store boughts.
diy isnt for everyone,but for alot of us,,thats the only way we can afford true high fidelity reproduction. in the diy range,,i havent seen many speeks costing more than 2k or so. and those are at the very top of the high fidelity end. most people that spend maybe 500$ or so building their own, have the equalivent of speeks costing 5-18K or more.
if i were you id at least look into home builts,even if you had someone else build them,,youd be ahead of the game,and have a ton of cash left over.. none of this advice applies to those that NEED bragging rites, only to those that want greta sound without needlesly spending cash for no gain.
You need to audition the Vandersteen Quatros and 5As. They're both giant killers and should mate well with your equipment and room. I look forward to seeing what you think after you've auditioned them.
Good luck...and don't forget to have fun! ;-)
ATC Anniversay 50's are in that range. They are Awesome sounding and a great value. They are the second best speaker I have every heard.
The Kharma line are pretty wonderful...really amzing speakers, subs etc...So are the Piegas. That said I was also impressed by the B&W 800-D line (and I'm not normally a B&W fan). With Kharma adding the sub...I think you will go beyond the 15k...After extensive listening last summer I ended up with $4500 pair of Hyperion 938's....seemed the best bet unless going over 20K.
Thanks for all of the responses. I have decided to go with the Avalon Eidolon's. After auditioning the new BW 800D's, Vanderteen 5a's, Ariel 20T's and Andra's; the Avalon's were a hands down favorite.
Great choice Gocubs999! Wish you all the best with them. Be sure to follow the break-in instructions and enjoy.
Wow that's pretty good company can you tell us what made you go with the Avalons?
I am not an expert at using audiofile chargin to describe what I heard other than to say the Avalons provided greater seperation and clarity of all instruments. Right down to the lowest bass, the Avalons had the authority of a live recording without sounding bloated as my N802's do. Dianna K. was voiced perfectly and souned as if she was in the room. No other speaker I auditioned delivered the dynamic, real and authoritative sound as did the Avalons.
I am not at all surprised by your choice (given your shortlist). I think you made the best pick there and one that will give you the most enjoyment!
Goc did you get a chance to hear the Tyler's Woodmere's?
If you have a large room,you should consider the Cadence Arca. In the entire Cadence line up, only the Arca should be looked at seriously.
Any one have an opinion of of the VR-5SE versus WP 8
The 802Ds are much better sounding than the N800s and they have a MSRP of $12k USD. I would get those over the N800s if you decide to go with B&Ws, in fact, that is exactly what I did.
Holy cow, that post was old... I wouldn't have posted if I noticed the date on it.