Concert Experience for $5k?

I have a budget of $5k for new/used stereo speakers.
I have a VPI turntable, PrimaLuna Dialogue preamp and a Cary Audio V12 tube amp. (yeah, the one with 12 EL34’s sticking out of it) I’ve got quality gear and plenty of horsepower.

I am chasing the rock concert experience. When you’re at a live show drums have a sharp attack and crack. Bass/kick drums have a punch you can feel. ....that’s what I want to feel when I play a live album.

Which speakers - new or used - would you recommend to recreate that rock concert feeling?
A used pair of Legacy Focus 20/20.
Klipsch La Scala's should do the trick with all the power you have with the v12 amp.
Golden Ear Triton 1.  New=4,995.00
What speakers do you have now?

what size is your room?

how far are the speakers from the wall (i.e. behind the speakers)

what speaker/interconnect/power cables do you hav
I currently have 10-year old B&W CDM-9NT floor standing speakers.  As it's a narrow room with a tile floor (Las Vegas - everything is tile because of the heat)  the speakers are very close to the wall - call it 8".  That makes the room very bright. 

I forget which power cable I upgraded too.   The interconnects are WireWorld $ilver Eclip$e.  The speaker cables aren't on par (yet) because I plan to change the speakers, which will likely require different termination.  

Good speaker suggestions so far.

I had to laugh at the La Scala's though - that will never pass the spouse acceptance factor.  She'd try to turn them into end tables or something.
I was at an Elle King concert last Saturday night and thinking to myself - "I wish I could get this sound & feel at home when I play this album"  
I was in front, close to the stage and thoroughly impressed with how an entire drum kit sounds.  Music at home sounds good, but nothing ever hits as hard (not talking about sub-bass) or has that "attack" that you get in person. 
Like a heroin addict - that's the high I'm chasing.  
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Demo some ProAc studio 148s if you can. Deepest bass I’ve heard in a 2.5 way smaller tower with downwards firing port to help with placement. Great mids and same tweeter as their Response line. I got mine new for less than $3500. I’m using some Soundocity SEV9 outriggers with them. With my YBA gear I’ve never had a more realistic and musical sound.
Best ATC speakers you can afford with a pair of good subs.  
Amplified rock concert sound is generated by thousands of watts of amplifiers feeding dozens of large diameter drivers (12" to 18" woofers).  Concert sound systems are capable of sustained 115dB sound levels with peaks up to 125dB.  Practically speaking you will not be able to reproduce this in a home environment.

If you're willing to scale down the concert hall sound such that it works in a domestic environment you could probably get by with 300-500 watts and  loudspeakers that can sustain 105dB.  The above suggestions of ATC, Zu or Klipsch are good, but whatever you pick will be by necessity a physically large loudspeaker.  Good luck!
t-bon3, there are some good recommendations above.

Several Klipsch models offer the dynamics you seek.

ProAc are a personal favourite, combining fast dynamics with a full bodied sound

Currently I’m using Gershman Acoustics Sonogram speakers. combined with KLE Innovations gZero6 speaker cables and find they provide lightning fast dynamics with an exceptionally well controlled very deep bass performance and are completely "invisible". But alas, they are rear ported and need at least 20" between the back of the cabinet and the wall behind them to achieve this level of performance.

Knowing a little about your listening environment I’d probably go for the ProAc Response D18, a simple two driver floor standing speaker with a downward facing bass port, which allows for placement closer to a rearwall.

You might also want to take a look at the Kudos range, another very articulate and dynamic range of speakers.

All of the speakers I gravitate too tend to have either Two or three drivers, since I find they have a more precise image. I also like an 8" bass driver for exceptionally well controlled and deeper bass performance.

I have tried speakers with multiple bass drivers, but found they lacked the precision of the simpler designs.

I can highly recommend the gZero6 speaker cables mentioned above - they are the fastest and most detailed cables I’ve found to date, with superb imaging, but they require 300+ hours burn-in.

Also, if the speaker you select are bi-wired, I would recommend contacting KLE Innovations, the will probably be able to make you a suitable jumper for a reasonable price, or maybe incorprorate it into the cable - KL Eichmann is very good.

Hope that helps
Start with a pair of quality 15" subwoofers.  Cross them high enough (+/- 60 Hz or higher) to ensure that kick drum fundamentals are directed that way.  Maybe goose the subs' output to a little higher than flat.  Add a pair of the horns of your choice (and remaining budget) as your mains.  

Rock on!
I listened to the ProAc Response D18 at my dealer and both the studio 125s (used) and my current studio 148s. I would have kept the 125s if the did not get loose on some of the lower frequencies like the D18s. The 148s did not have this problem. I use my system for 2 channel AV also. 
I suggest you seek a speaker with 8 Ohms impedance and at least 92-93dB sensitivity, and preferably higher. Speakers with such characteristics have a lot of liveliness to them. They are not the "end all, be all," but they would be able to deliver much of the impact and vibrancy you seek. You may wish to reject any speaker with 8" bass driver(s) or under. 

You may be a candidate for the newer large Cerwin Vega speakers which were said to be surprisingly good for the money; 6Ohms and 95dB - perfect. There are a few reviews, I believe on the Net. Now, I'm not saying they will be better than most of the others mentioned, but imo when you are playing music at too loud levels you are introducing all manner of distortions no matter what speakers you are using. Given enough level a high end speaker which is incapable of such performance can distort with the best of them. So, if you are to rock such as to knock the fillings out of your teeth, then why spend audacious sums to do it?  
So, go for it, and FEEL the distortion!  In all seriousness, it's another way of being a listener and getting into the music.  :) 
I would strongly urge you to reflect upon the following paragraph in Stereophile’s measurements of your amplifier:
...allowing for some variation in the calculated output impedance with the level and load impedance used, we’re looking at source impedances of 5.5 ohms (8 ohm tap) and 2.8 ohms (4 ohm tap) in triode mode. While these are both high, they are exceeded by the ultralinear figures: 12 and 6 ohms, respectively! Fortunately, the impedances don’t change much across the audioband, but, as figs.1-3 reveal, there will be a large and audible change in frequency response depending on which loudspeaker is used with the Cary and which transformer tap and mode of operation are used.
The review is at

While many of the suggestions made above can be expected to be good ones in most circumstances, unless a speaker being considered is known to have an impedance curve that does not vary significantly as a function of frequency, I would not count on it sounding similar with your amplifier to what others may report based on experiences with other amplifiers.

An audition prior to purchase would seem to be even more essential in this case than in most others.

A speaker such as some of the Zu models, however, which in some cases have very high nominal and minimum impedances (e.g. 16 ohms nominal, 10 ohms min), will minimize that concern. Although that kind of impedance characteristic would introduce a different concern, which is that your amp does not provide a 16 ohm output tap. Using an 8 ohm tap with a 16 ohm speaker may reduce the amp’s power capability and increase its distortion, perhaps not greatly but the degree is hard to predict.

So I would add to Doug’s good suggestion of an 8 ohm speaker having 92 or 93 db sensitivity, or thereabouts, that it would be highly desirable for the speaker to have as little variation in its impedance vs. frequency curve as possible, especially if an audition is not possible. Impedance vs. frequency curves are generally included in Stereophile’s speaker reviews. Given the output impedance characteristics of your amp, as a general rule of thumb frequencies at which speaker impedance is high will receive significantly greater emphasis with your amplifier than frequencies at which speaker impedance is low. And, conversely, frequencies at which speaker impedance is low will receive significantly less emphasis with your amplifier than frequencies at which speaker impedance is high.

Good luck in your search. Regards,
-- Al

I have to echo jmcgrogan2 go for the Legacy speakers. There was recently a pair for sale here at the ridiculous low price of $1500.00. What a, I mean deal!
Regarding the Legacy Focus 20/20, see its impedance curve here:

While the nominal impedance is 4 ohms, the actual impedance is 2 ohms in significant parts of the deep bass region, and varies up to about 9 ohms in the mid-range. For the reasons I stated in my post above, I would definitely not expect this speaker to be a good match for the OP’s amp. And in particular, the interaction of the amp’s very high output impedance with the very low impedance of the speaker at deep bass frequencies will result in very weak deep bass. And based on that impedance curve and on the output impedance characteristics of the amp, I would expect that weakness to probably extend up to as high as around 200 Hz.

Also, John Atkinson provides the following comment in the review:
The Legacy’s sensitivity was slightly lower than specified, but still a very high 94.5dB(B)/2.83V/m—this speaker will play very loudly even with a low-powered amplifier. However, its plot of impedance (fig.1) reveals that it needs to be used with an amplifier that can deliver high current into low impedances. Not only are there two minima in the bass of less than 2 ohms, and another of less than 3 ohms in the mid-treble, but there is an amplifier-crushing combination of 3.3 ohms magnitude and 60 degrees capacitive phase angle at 20Hz. Fortunately, it is rare in music to have high levels of energy this low in frequency. However, a good, beefy solid-state amplifier will probably work better than a tube design.
-- Al

P.S: The GoldenEar Triton One which has been suggested by a couple of posters will also not be a good match for your amp, especially if you use the amp’s higher powered ultralinear mode (since as indicated in the measurements I linked to the amp’s ultralinear mode has much higher output impedance, which is referred to by Stereophile as "source impedance," than triode mode). The impedance curve for the Triton One is shown here:

In this case, the result of the interaction between the amp’s very high output impedance (especially in ultralinear mode) and the speaker’s variation of impedance over the frequency range would be an under-emphasis of the mid-bass region, and excessive brightness in the upper mid-range.

I have no particular knowledge of the speakers that have been suggested other than the ones I have specifically addressed (Legacy Focus 20/20, some Zu models, Triton One). But again, unless a speaker is known to have a relatively flat impedance curve I would caution against assuming it would sound similar with your amplifier to how it sounds with most other amplifiers, including most other tube amplifiers.

-- Al

Maybe t-bon3 doesn't have as much "horsepower" as he thought, huh Al?

John (Jmcgrogan2), as you probably realize but others may not, it’s not a matter of horsepower (i.e., watts). It’s a matter of the effects of amplifier output impedance on tonality, resulting from the interaction of that output impedance with the variations of the speaker’s impedance over the frequency range.

BTW, there are of course quite a few speakers having relatively flat impedance curves, as well as relatively high sensitivity, that I would expect to be great matches for this amp. Including the Daedalus speakers I use, and I believe also models from Coincident, Tannoy, and others. But I have no specific suggestions to offer that I feel confident would provide the sonic character the OP is looking for (I am mostly a classical music listener, not a rock concert-goer), and that would also meet his price point.

Best regards,
-- Al

VanL Quartettes  from Van L Speakerworks (chicago) fit right in your price range and outperform speakers at a much higher price point.   These spekers returned many of us to the joy of the music ... 
Go try the Zu. They have many models, one of them might suit you. Regardless of the model, you will get that "live concert " experience. I own a pair of Zu Omen Def because I was exactly searching for that "live " effect and I'm more than happy!
Given that you have a very specific goal (and you know what you want to achieve), you should try to audition any speaker "at home." Many manufacturers such as Zu now offer 30-60 day in-home trial periods.
I just got my hands on a pair of Krell Resolution 2 speakers from Highperformancestereo and I am absolutely mesmerized at how F--kin great these speakers are for all music tastes.  They actually deliver a better experience than my Wilson Sophia's, W/P 6's, Dynaudio C4's or my recent B&W802D2's.  Spectacularly dynamic and soundstage like crazy with no roll off on either end.  I got mine for & that's a deal!!!
..not a chance
Correct, not a chance in Hell you could appreciate much of anything through Anticables.....gotta love that mindset that purchases good gear and then buys coat hangers for IC's and speaker cables.
Thanks for all of the great input!  I can't believe how many people have responded with Zu.  They've moved up to the top of my list.

Thiel CS 3.7
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I like Muttley's, very real sounding.
Ti get that bass concert experience i think it has more related with the subwoofer configuration. I think. Know what you want, and personally i think i get it in my system, i have a good average sub ( Martín Logan dynamo 300) BUT tuned with an equalizer wich helps a lot yo adequate to your room resonance problems, AND the preamp anthem avm 20 has great features to configure the frequence degress of the bass waves for not to Cancel or emphazise, is hard to reach the perfect sound but with patience and test you get a excelent thousand dollars bass sound.
Even if you spend on . Thousand dollar sub, if you dont configure or dont have the tools to tune it you will be very frustrated, bass frecuencies ar hard to deal, my recomendation is get a great bookshelfs and a great sub, adequated to your room size, no more no less and an EQ
You should research Tekton Pendragon speakers.  Made in Utah.  Classic Rock sound.  Cost $2200.

If you are looking for a concert experience look for any large Vintage SRS-SDA series speaker in good shape, spend some money upgrading them and you will absolutely have your experience and loss of hearing to go with it. Since I love the concert experience I cannot part with my Polk SRS-SDA 3.1TL's. I do however switch with a B&W 803D2 when I just want to lay back.
Zu Druid Vs would be great as others have mentioned.  Horns are the other idea, but probably out of budget.  
Altec Model 19's
where?tell me:)? I want them too
I just got my hands on a pair of Krell Resolution 2 speakers from Highperformancestereo and I am absolutely mesmerized at how F--kin great these speakers are for all music tastes.  They actually deliver a better experience than my Wilson Sophia's, W/P 6's, Dynaudio C4's or my recent B&W802D2's.  Spectacularly dynamic and soundstage like crazy with no roll off on either end.  I got mine for &3300

almarg, curious about a response of yours. You indicate that in the case of the GET Triton One's the amp wouldn't be a good match because (paraphrasing) the higher amp output impedance and the speaker’s variation of impedance would be an under-emphasis of the mid-bass region, and excessive brightness in the upper mid-range.

Why should the impedance mismatch yield any different sound characteristics in the T1s than if it were paired with an amp whose impedance was an exact (no such thing I know) match? If the impedance of the GE T1s are low with respect to the amps "preferred" impedance, this should manifest itself as additional current being drawn from the amp and not necessarily anything audibly undesirable. Granted, to much current draw is itself undesirable. 
I mix concerts professionally (generally smaller jazz, classical, or folkie stuff) and I can't imagine why anybody would want the "concert experience" in their home. The sound is "dual mono" (with light stereo reverb sometimes to make the crowd think they feel better) because if you used a stereo mix you'd have to make the crowd sit in the middle…uncomfortable to be sure, and although the live show can sound excellent (when I mix it always does), it's a different animal. Louder large shows might provide more bass kick than you're used to at home, but get a sub and that difference is covered, generally with more accurate tone. You don't want 115 db at home unless maybe you're drunk and dancing, in which case a small pro PA system is what you need…along with ear plugs.
Hi Gdhal,

I’ll begin my answer to your question by referring you to this Wikipedia writeup on voltage divider networks:

In the first figure, consider Z1 to be the amplifier’s output impedance, Z2 to be the speaker’s impedance, Vout to be the voltage seen by the speaker, and Vin to be the voltage the amplifier would be putting out if no load were connected (putting aside the fact that tube amps should not be operated without a load). Vin, in other words, corresponds to the voltage provided to the amplifier’s input at any instant of time multiplied by some gain factor.

If Z1 is significantly greater than zero (i.e., if it is 1 or 2 or several ohms, as is the case for most tube amps), and if Z2 (the speaker’s impedance) varies significantly over the frequency range, then since (as shown in the writeup):

Vout = Vin x (Z2/(Z1 + Z2))

... it can be seen that for a given input voltage to the amplifier the speaker will see a voltage that varies significantly depending on the frequencies which comprise that input voltage. In this situation (Z1 high, Z2 varying significantly as a function of frequency), the result (compared to a situation in which Z1 is negligibly small, as is the case with most solid state amplifiers) will be increased voltage and hence increased emphasis of frequencies for which speaker impedance is high, and decreased voltage and hence decreased emphasis of frequencies at which speaker impedance is low.

In other words, the frequency response of the signal provided to the speaker will be significantly non-flat.

The resulting tonal balance will still be essentially correct, however, if the amplifier’s output impedance is in the area of what the designer of the speaker was anticipating the speaker would be driven with. But since few amplifiers have output impedances as high as the OP’s, especially if its higher powered ultra-linear mode is being used (the main exceptions probably being some very low powered SETs), it is safe to assume that a considerable majority of speakers are not designed with the expectation that they will be driven from such high output impedances.

As I indicated previously, though, if a speaker has a relatively flat impedance curve (in contrast to the Triton One) its tonal balance will vary much less dramatically as a function of amplifier output impedance, and the choice of suitable amplifiers will be much broader, everything else being equal.

I’ll add that none of this necessarily has anything to do with the musical resolution of either the amplifier or the speaker. As I’ve said in a number of past threads, the ability to resolve musical detail and the ability to resolve hardware differences do not necessarily correlate with each other.

I hope that clarifies more than it confuses :-)

-- Al

"I can't imagine why anybody would want the "concert experience" in their home"  

I live in Las Vegas and go to a lot of live concerts & shows.  As such, I've developed a special fondness for live recordings & concert albums.  

Some of my more memorable experiences:
I was the Chelsea Theater at the Cosmopolitan 20 yards from the stage at a Black Keys show - amazing!  When I go home & spin an imported concert album the energy and immediacy just isn't there.  That concert probably had the most energy of any show I've been to.  The floor was literally bouncing.

I saw the Stone Temple Pilots at the Pearl theater a while back it was the absolute best sounding (rock) venue I've ever been in.  Just an amazing wall of enveloping sound.  (yeah, you had to be there)

I've seen Jack White live a couple of times.  He releases all kinds of live albums exclusively on vinyl.  Playing concert albums just doesn't come close to making me feel like I'm in the audience - that's what I want to feel when I listen to those recordings.  I want to close my eyes and smell stale beer.  :-)  

I know I'll never get that chest-cavity shaking feeling you get at a rock show, but I want to find a way to recreate some semblance of the energy and dynamism of a live show when I listen to my live albums.  
almarg, thank you for the detailed and informative response. Yes, I suppose it does clarify as opposed to confuse the issue. Also appreciate the wikipedia article supporting what you have stated. 
Impossible with a 5k budget in my opinion.....   when I was young I had a pair of Klipsch CF4 towers driven by a pair of B&K M200 Sonata amps  along with a Velodyne ULD 15.  It was loud sure ,but it still couldn't present music like a live performance.
In the late 70s early 80s I had a pair of Electo voice Sentry IVBs with a Phase Linear 400. I entertained neighbors for blocks around. It was the concert experience......I’m lucky to have my hearing
rhljazz811 posts03-08-2016 12:00pmKlipsch La Scala’s should do the trick with all the power you have with the v12 amp.

Before finishing OP’s entire post the thought yelled out to me, La Scala’s!

Had the question been around jazz or a live unplugged event I would of said Harbeth super HL5. I've not heard a live event through speakers that actually sounded "live" prior to hearing those. Acoustic guitar and voicing is spine tingling realistic. I didn't really like them for all out rock music though.    
Get powered PA speakers, that’s what they use at small concerts. 15 inch two way and you sure will feel it. Just be careful not to destroy your house/windows.

Bigger concert uses arrays, but that won’t work in your home :)
I heard the big Focal Aria speakers (948 I believe) and found them to be about as full-range, rock-out as it gets these days; the porting on the bottom gave ’em that "thud" from the kick drum sound...As for high-sensitivity 8 ohm speakers I’ve owned, B&W and Triangle certainly gave me that "wow, I could literally be AT the bar" vibe..however, the mid presence often scared me so bad I thought they were going to rip a hole in my back wall...
We used to use Altec Voice of the Theaters for PA. My mother hated them in the house.

The bass impact and naturalness you are seeking call for a speaker system that does a good job of taking the room’s effects into account, otherwise the room will impose unacceptably large peaks and dips on the bass region. This is a problem inherent in small rooms, such as we have in our homes - the bass is much smoother in large rooms where concerts are held.

The dynamic contrast of a live performance calls for drivers that are just loafing along even on the peaks, so that the peaks are delivered without compression. This implies either prosound drivers (preferably studio-grade), or lots of conventional drivers.

Delivering the sense of being immersed in and enveloped by the acoustic space of the recording while still retaining good imaging calls for paying a lot of attention to the psychoacoustic implications of design choices, particularly those having to do with the radiation pattern.

And finally doing all of this without any harshness or listening fatigue or other audible coloration calls for paying attention to all potential sources of coloration, which are too numerous to list.

Doing all of this for five grand is a long shot. Doing most of this for five grand is possible.

Imo, ime, ymmv, etc.



You can now get that Live Concert Experience with the all new Martin Logan ESL X speakers or any other Martin Logan ESL's, when you pair them up with a PrimaLuna Dialogue HP Tube Integrated amp.

 A match made in audio heaven.