Confused and unsure about upgrading my speakers.

I guess there are two general thought about how to spend your money on your system. One is to spend the larger % on your speakers. The other is to spend the more money on electronics.
At least something like that.

Anyway, I am happy with my system. Which currently consists of: DK Designs MKII VS1 amp. Stello DA220 MKII DAC.
Cambridge Audio 640C V2. Philips 963 SACD/DVD player. Revel Concerta F12 speakers.

For some reason (probably budgetry constraints), I have always gravitated towards speakers that are very good value.

But as you can see, I seem to have spent a larger amount of money on the Amp and the DAC. Event though I got them at a reduced price they are still more then what I paid for my speakers.

So I keep thinking, should I upgrade my speakers to something more in line price wise with the rest of my system? But if so, what can I gain considering that according to the press the F12s are overachievers. Off course everyone has their opinions and some people won't like the F12s but generally they are considered to be a very good value.

So I guess the question is really how much would I have to spend to make an improvment? Off course I have to go and listen myself and decide myself. I understand that. So I guess I am just looking for some general answers and words of wisdom.

My local dealer has suggested I come and listen to the Magneplaners 1.6. I sometimes think the Paradigm Studio 100 might be the way to go. I haven't listened to them yet so I don't really no yet. Both of these would be in the $2000-$2500 range for me locally. Or should I be saving more and spend up to $4K-$5K on something really better.

I am just very unsure and confused as how to approach this problem and where the greater gain is to be made. Also just where do speakers that are very good value fit into audio.

I will appreciate any wisdom you can provide from your experiences.

Oh, I also listen to mostly classical (Both European and Indian). Also a lot of Jazz. Some new age stuff like Jean Michel Jarre and Asian Underground or what ever they call it like D J Cheb etc.


-- Sanjay
Anyway, I am happy with my system
Sanjay I am considering the same but just yesterday I demoed the sonus faber cremora autitors directly to my mission/cyrus 782's at the dealer (I personally will not ask for an in-home demo until I find the right match).
Or should I be saving more and spend up to $4K-$5K on something really better
The auditors ($7000 with stands) were only a hair better. I paid full retail ($800) for my speakers 19 years ago. I know the $ was worth more then than now. For now I'll continue to keep looking for when that day comes where I have to buy speakers. I would suggest bring your speakers to the dealer for side to side comparions. If one is really better then ask for an in-home demo or if thats not available then ask if they have a satisfaction gaurantee.
Long story short is that why spend $$ until you and only you feel you have found something better and more important worth the added expense.
I agree with your analysis - you made a good choice. You will have to spend significantly more in order to get a modest improvement.

Principally you can do much better in the bass department and much louder clean playing and more dynamics (realism) but you are looking at 5K+ range and up for a modest improvement and possibly 10K+ to make a really big difference.

Do you have a large room?
A good rule of thumb, spend equal portion for Source[cd, phono], amplification and speakers. This creates balance. Look at Neat, Kudos, PSB, B&W, Focal speakers. I agree a home demo is best, if possible.
Do you have a large room?

Or put another way do you find you ever play your speakers in a way they sound really quite loud?

If you do then you are probably runnning into the limitations of an excellent great value design. Small voice coils quickly get hot (small surface area) - so you'll soon run into a kind of wall of compression/crossover drift and Xmax issues where the reality is that it just doesn't get any louder and just loses that effortless dynamic punchy sound and becomes congested. (Although you will perceive this as simply being extremely loud due to the dullness from compression and distortion. So you will tend to "think" it is just way too loud.) Anyway, if you do then consider upgrading.

Do you ever struggle to ever hear the individual notes in a bass riff clearly behind the drums?

If so then also consider upgrading.

Otherwise you are probably fine with what you have...
Speakers induce the greatest amount of distortion of all kinds than any other component in a system. The greatest improvement can be made with carefully chosen speakers. The Magnepan 1.6 suggestion is a very good one—they are a great value—nothing I've heard in their price range comes close. There are two drawbacks to the Maggies. Like other panel speakers, they are for one person listening. Very narrow dispersion limits the listening area to a very focused sweet spot. The other is their imposing size. I'd own them if it weren't for those two shortcomings. (They also could use some bass extension, but that's easily remedied with a sub.)

Classical music is very demanding on speakers. Most can't handle the dynamics or the mass of sound from a full orchestra without sounding strained and muddled.

I sympathize with the position you find yourself in. After listening to dozens of speakers and not being satisfied with any of them, for one reason or another (price sometimes the issue), my solution was to do a lot more research and build my own.
You can pick from a very nice variety of speaker models for the price you probably payed for the Rebels by going with something used but in good shape from here on A'gon or even ebay, if you're careful.

If you must go with something new, the Maggies sound like a good choice. A decent pair of Triangles might be had in this range as well.

If you want to try something a little different, you could probably pick up a pair of Ohm Walsh speakers direct from the manufacturer in this range as well.

I would also recommend the Dynaudio line as well, depending on budget, but these don't come cheap, especially new.
Wait and save your money. Continue to shop in HiFi stores and learn about different speakers that plays jazz and classical very well.

Focus on a speakers strength of midrange and treble with satisfying bass.

Quad ESL 989
Dali Helicon 400MKII
Vandersteen Quatro
"Anyway, I am happy with my system."

What you are experiencing is called "Upgradeitis" .

There is a cure...put on your favorite disc , take that fat wallet out and hold it in your hand , sitback , close your eyes and listen .

Done ? Did you enjoy it ?

Now think about how good it feels to have that money close at hand and readily available . Nice huh ?

You have had two enjoyable experiences ! Congratulations !

Are you ready to sacrifice one of them ?
Only you can make that determination !

Good luck .
I like Saki70's assessment.
Thanks for the responses so far.
I appreciate the suggestions for the some of the speakers.
But that was not exactly what I was after.

I also don't think I am experiencing the upgrade bug this time. I've been down that path many times, and it does not feel the same. :)

Generally my setup is decent, limited by having to set it up in a living room etc.

But what I was really wanting to know is that I spent $2400 on my amp, $1100 on my DAC etc. But I only spent $1000 on my speakers. I like the speakers for the most part, but are they in line with the rest of the equipment price wise? Does that really matter? And if I want to get something more in line and say I purchase $2500 on speakers, how much can I gain. I know the law of diminishing returns etc.

I think I sort of know the answer which is that price doesn't have to be important and that I need to just go and listen what is available and make my decisions.

It's just that I sort of became confused thinking about the old adage where they say things like "spend 50% of your budget on speakers etc". Off course I didn't buy all of these at the same time, but my system is about $6300 Canadian (or at least that's what I spend on it) including speakers and cables and everything. Of that $6300 only $1000 was put towards the speakers. That's about 16%. That's really what I was questioning to myself and asking myself did I do right from that perspective.

-- Sanjay
Price is not the most important thing. What matters is that it sounds good to you over a period of time and extended listening sessions.

Good electronics that match and synergize will bring out the best in any speaker design at any price.

FOr me, a good speaker design is one that does what it does well, even if it does not do everything possible.

For example, other than low end extension into the 40Hz range or so, a pair of $500 Triangle Titus monitors that I own match up very well against my much more expensive Dynaudio monitors.
I agee with the idea that price is not necessarily an indicator of quality. Relatively inexpensive speakers with great electronics, especially the source, can make often make better music than expensive speakers with poor electronics. The aim of the game is not to "match" the price/quality of the source, amps and speakers. The aim of the game is to make great music come out from your system into your room. The room, by the way, is as significant to the quality of the music you get as the source, amps and speakers.
Before you make a decision please educate yourself and understand the benefits of time and phase coherence built in to either Vandersteen or Thiel speakers.

You may find this is what you're looking for.
Start visiting dealers at a leisurely pace, just to acquaint yourself with what is out there. Also, your friends, other A'goners, anybody who'd let you listen to their speakers.

Avoid all stress of thinking that this is to buy your next speakers: be like a wandering tourist rather than a home buyer. :) In particular, also listen to speakers way above and below your price range, and attend live concerts too. Listening to very expensive speakers as well as live music will help you recognize an exceptional affordable speaker when you chance upon it.

If out of this experience something stands out as an exceptional buy for your taste, get it. Otherwise keep enjoying the process.
From the way many of us approach the hobby, if often seems like the whole point is to spend money rather than enjoying the systems we build. It is possible for you to improve your system but it will take time to really dig and discover what that really means. It may take a little or a lot more money depending on where you need or want to get in the end. It might be speakers and it might not. Worry less about the spending balance of your system and focus on the areas where you hope to improve.
Thanks for all the feedback. I am not in a hurry to upgrade just yet. (I don't have the money. :) ).
But your responses have still put my mind more at ease.
You are correct, I am not even really sure what it is that I want at the moment. I was just a bit confused about the money balance as Maineiac put it.

So I will spend a year, save up some money, and try to listen to some speakers over that time and figure out what it is I want out of my system.


-- Sanjay
Here's a good rule of thumb, don't follow rules of thumb. Follow your ears instead, at least in this hobby.

You seem to have put musical enjoyment first and ended up with a system that should be very good at your investment level. Don't worry about dollar-ratios at all, so long as you're enjoying what you have.

I suspect your next move, like so many of us, will be to seek further bass extension. To do that consistant with the quality that you now have you'll need to spend a good bit more money. I lived with a compromise system for decades before I had the money to upgrade to "full range" speakers. Once I did that, I quickly doubled my total investment to get the most out of my speakers.

I'm in the camp that if the system sounds good to your ears, I wouldn't worry about how much you spent on any one individual component. Actually I'm type of person that feels that investing in a quality source and amplification, allows the speakers (which are generally the weakest link) to shine their best. And since you have speakers such as Revel Concerta F12 (which are considered somewhat "overacheviers"), you may have found the true snergy in your system that many are looking for. Unless you feel like "sonically" something's missing with your speakers, then I would ignore the dollar ratio, and enjoy the system, and more importantly, enjoy the music. Because that's really what it's all about.
I have been selling Hi end products for over 20 years
I would make sure you at least Listen to a pair of Vandersteen 2CE sigs with your music asap
Best John