AudioGon currently has a pair of VonSchweikert VR2s in you're price range that are worth considering seriously. Outstanding speakers. Check out the reviews. I have no affiliation with the lister/seller.
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If you like the Totem sound why not look for a used pair of the Staff or Hawks?
I recently purchased a pair of Proac Response 1.5s in your price range. They meet the physical requirements and to my ears sound just like your description.
I also saw those VR-2s mentioned above and thought someone is in for a treat.
Let me just comment on the Quad 22Ls that you mentioned. They have a very nice and smooth sound with respectable low end. However, to realize the impact that you are looking for you will almost certainly need a more powerful amp. I find the 22Ls to sound terrific, but they really need an amp in the 125-200 watt/ch. range. They are terribly power hungry. I was driving mine, in a room similar to yours, with a Bryston 4B (250 wpc) and still was amazed at how high I had to turn up my Anthem preamp to get decent loudness out of them. However, if you can get a powerful amp to drive them, you'll like what you hear.
So I picked up a set of Quad 22L2's. Set them up side by side with my Signets .... and there is little that separates the two. The Quad's are slightly richer and slightly more detail. Needless to say, I'm underwhelmed. Or maybe I should just be overwhelmed by my beat up Signets.
- Is it possible bad synergy with my Bryston B-60? Would a different (but not better) amp make these speakers step up their performance?
- While a better amp would improve the sound, would it do so more for the Quad than the Signets,i.e., am I just not tapping into the potential of the Quads?
As always, thanks in advance for your thoughts.
Sandman I think your problem is one that most of us would like to have.ie,a fairly large room.To get the oomph you desire the speakers must be able to fill the room at a reasonable SPL.
Then your amp and pre must be up to task.
I may be wrong but I don't think you can accomplish this on the budget you mention.I would recommend keeping the signets and start saving.
Best of luck
I just took delivery on a pair of Mirage OMD-15 floor-standers a week ago and now that they're broken in, they're just marvelous! In fact, I moved up to them for the same reason you seek to--I wanted something that would move more air in a cathedral-ceilinged open architecture living space, and the 4.5" 2-ways (even with sub) weren't quite doing it.
But the OMD-15s do it in spades, and if my setup is any indication, your little Bryston will probably be up to the task as well. The OMD-15s have a sensitivity rating of 91dB. This is a HUGE increase in volume-per-watt over the Totems, which are rated at 87dB. It would be like upgrading to a 150 wpc amp with your Totem (but the Arro's only rated for 80 watts max; these Mirages are rated to 250 watts).
They're the perfect size--40.8"h x 8"w x 12"d. Bi-wirable/ampable. Tremendous, room-filling soundstage with big sweet spot. With that comes less spot-on imaging, but that comes with the territory with wide dispersion.
These speakers are also plenty hi-rez to show up the quality of your upstream components. I was swapping 4 different amps in and out, trying bi-wiring and bi-amping, and could always tell a difference. The best matchup was an old 70 wpc high current Amber Series 70 power amp, so your Bryston should be a good match too. And if you want more oomph later, you can keep the Bryston and add a power amp and bi-amp the speakers.
The only downside is that these retail at $2500/pair. Crutchfield is an authorized dealer and that's their price. If you need to go cheaper, occasionally a grey market pair shows up new-in-box on eBay for around $1550 + ship.
I've got Spendor S5e, Totem Mite, Von Schweikert VR-1, and ProAc Response One SC speakers. They are all very good speakers in their own right. I've used the S5e's and VR-1's in a 14' X 24' x 8' room and they worked fine. I've used all these speakers in a 11' X 10.5' room and they worked well there too -- I've used different amps with them. I like the S5e best. Nice, pleasing, sweet sound with my Pathos Acoustics Classic One MK III and Pioneer 79DVi universal player and Polk Audio XM tuner. Outstanding sound! The bass is quite good for a small driver. I like that it has a separate driver for the woofer, and also crosses over at 4500 hz or something like that. Unfortunately, the low crossover at 700 hz or so, can be heard depending on singer, for example, we watched a Bing Crosby movie and when he sang you could hear his voice jump in frequency range, from deep tone to a bit higher pitch, so not a smooth transition, but abrupt. But other than that, great speaker. I've heard someone who loves piano say they did not like the S5e, so maybe there is a crossover range there too that is audible. But every speaker is weak in their crossover, if you know what to listen for you may be able to find it. I remember the Bose 301 speakers maybe 25 years ago, as they had a crossover range that was long and slow, which they said helped in that regard. I actually liked those speakers.
The Totem's are small, but sound big and still have good bass for their size, and only need maybe 10 watts. Of course, bigger cabinets or drivers give you more bass. VR-1's have an unusual bass loading, I think I heard it's a transmission line, but has a small port on the rear too. The bass is detailed, but not strong, but overall a nice sounding speaker (but can be somewhat analytical or at least the balance can be tilted towards the highs since the bass may not be strong, depends on the amp), and don't need much power either, i.e., maybe 10 watts. The Proac's are quite good all-rounders with good detail and also very easy to drive.