Dahlquist DQ-20 Fan club Rant

I just need to say - I have been using DQ-20's for the past 5 years, and recently got the "upgrade bug". So for the past month I've been running around to showrooms and auditioning the latest crop of under-$5,000 Miracle Speakers all of which have glowing reviews, of course. And I've been checking out used speakers that went originally up to $12,000. And you know what - I've given up.

With the disclaimer that everyone's ears are different - I must say that there' justs nothing out there that beats the DQ's (for my particular ears) overall sonically.

There are plenty that have lots of high end zip in the showroom, because they've got metal dome tweeters which will fatigue you real fast at home. Hence so many of the "latest and greatest" hitting Audiogon with bizarre explanations by the owner as to why he's selling 4 month old speakers.
Nobody ever says - "I made a mistake, these suck, but you'll just love 'em. Listen to how real the triangle at the back of the orchestra sounds!"
And there are some that have MORE bass, because they put a big round hole in the cabinet - called a port - that goes, Whoomp, Whoomp, Whoof. (Could somebody let the dog out, please!) To be fair, there are speakers that go lower with good accuracy - but it's nothing that can't be dealt with by adding a pair of quality little subs. And the bass the DQ's do have is tight.
And there are speakers with nicer wood veneers - you want the birdseye maple veneered MDF instead of the cherry veneered MDF - Oh, that's another $1600! Just don't tap the top of the cabinet with your fingernail, you might dent it!

There are NO speakers that I have heard that have sweeter, more coherent, more real midrange and near-highs, period. In combination with my Velodyne ULD, the DQ's can rock, they can do gorgeous vocals, and full orchestra is probably as good as you'll get below $10,000.

There are speakers I've heard that image great, but that is most certainly one of the Dahlquist's strengths, too.

The only thing I truly would wish for in the DQ's is just a bit more zip in the highs.

It's disappointing. I really wanted the fun of some "New Toys", but there is a magic to the DQ's which I assumed was available elsewhere - it's not. My Spicas had it, but they did have much greater limitations dynamically and frequency-wise. I'd have to say that the Vandersteen 3a Sigs were the closest to having that magic and coherency, but not very exciting - and the Green Mountain Continuum 3 was overall the most impressive (but just not quite right for my tastes.)

So what am I gonna do? I'll experiment with the Regnar capacitor upgrade, but I'm not necessarily going to touch the crossovers - that's probably where the magic is coming from. And I'll try a bi-amp configuration. Maybe try a more "modern" Scanspeak tweeter.

And I have this crazy idea to take two pairs, remove the grills, and stack them like quads (on a custom welded rack) with one speaker upside down, so that each set ends up in a D'Appolito configuration. I'd be willing to bet that would be an approx. $1500 set-up that would knock your socks off.

Any other ideas or suggestions out there? I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who's done the Regnar (or other) upgrades. Cheers, Chip

uhhhh, did you happen to listen to any Maggies, Soundlab, Innersound, Logans or old infinitys with emim/emits or the new gallos?

Just curious. Me, I still piss and moan over selling my Marantz 4400 and 4 JBL L200's. God, I miss those big old loud monsters.
I've got the DQ-30I's and concur, the others I like are the Alon V's, Avalon Ascent Mk2's.
My next "upgrade" will be taking my Dahlquists to Bill LeGall @ Millersound.
I listened to slightly older Maggies (OK), Innersound (pretty nice!), Logans (yuck! - they were smaller ones - very harsh), and the Gallo Ref III (spectacular in the showroom, fatigue-machines - and unable to satisfactorily resolve large orchestra. (Classical listeners are not likely to be Gallo's target market.) I'll bet you see 'em showing up here for sale here - "hardly broken-in".

I see what you're getting at with the planars - certainly can't knock the midrange and "air", but something about them leaves me cool. Maybe I want more impact - I could definitely live with the Innersounds, though. I think the favorite I've heard are an older, now defunct brand, X-static. They were startlingly life-like. But I don't like the overbearing image size of the large planars, either.
Agree with RX8Man get Bill to do your mods, or go up the ladder with the same designer to 30is or Alon V MKIIs.

Then address isolation and AC. I can help you out with these for cheap.

Happy Listening
after reading this thread im ready to just throw all my gear in the trash.
You need to listen to the Gallo Reference 3s.
Hi Opalchip. I have owned the Dahlquist 20i's for years and feel the same as you about Dahlquist. The first Dahlquist I ever listened to were the 10's and I never got over the sound of them. When it was time to purchase my stereo, I knew that I was going to buy Dahlquist. I paid $550 for them and am completely satisfied with them. It is important though to run them with tube amps if you can, as they sound so much more full, rich and finess than with solid state. A dealer one time tried to talk me into upgrading them with Cardas wiring, but I was hesitant to do so because I didn't know if it would change the sound or not. I will never sell these speakers, as I have listened to many others and haven't found anything that I like better. Sandra

I have a friend who upgraded with the Regnar package and after burning in for a week, it was a significant improvement. More clarity, more natural & musical, faster from top to bottom. The total effect was "Less" of everything between me and the music. I recommend it.
Hi Texasdave - Thanks for the links. The GR Research look interesting, certainly dynamic, and you sound like you have similar tastes and attitudes as I. If I get a chance to listen to them I will. I have also owned the DQ 10's, and while they still have a devoted following and can be "modernized" successfully - the DQ20i's are far superior, being a straightup, time-coherent, 3-way, using Scanspeak mids and tweeters in a minimized (approx. 1/8 wavelength) baffle.

Just as I was ranting and thinking about this stacking thing, I checked a local website and lo and behold there was a pair of DQ20's for sale at $450. So I ran out last night and grabbed 'em. I now have a pair of 20's and 20i's sitting in my living room. I'll first just try running them in parallel side by side and see what I get. Be interesting to see the differences between the 2 also.
I know that the butthead audio philosophers who work for $12 an hour at high end shops will mumble about phase cancellation if you run two pairs of speakers at the same time (unless they're trying to sell you a surround system), but it's bull. It might be theoretically true at low-mids and low freq. in an anechoic chamber, or on the Bonneville Salt Flats - but in a living room, reflections are a much bigger factor and there's sound coming from everywhere at all different angles phases. The human brain is incredibly good at making sense of this.
I have experimented considerably with "combining" two pairs of very different speakers and had some truly spectacular results - even with vintage mid-fi speakers (I live across the street from a Goodwill, and used to have lots of "supply"). I use a separate amp and EQ on each pair so that I can balance the freq spectrum from each set to take advantage of each speakers unique "fingerprint". When positioned properly and eq'd properly (which can take 5 or 6 hours) I have created imaging from really ordinary speakers that would blow anyone's mind - practically psychedelic. In addition, the bass coupling of two woofers close together takes less powerful designs to a new level.

Plus - it's good, clean fun.
But, of course. I've now got a CJ Premier 11a Amp and a Granite Audio Preamp (all tubes). Wouldn't have it any other way! I have tried many solid state amps with them - and here's another audiophile heresy for ya - the most "musical" of them has been a Carver TFM series. I couldn't believe it, but I kept going back to that one.

re: Wiring - I can definitely see the advantage of replacing the older capacitors, with newer "better" ones, but I'm not sure I buy all the "wiring" hype in general, so I actually doubt there'd be any difference at all. But on the other hand - if I/you didn't like it we can always put the old wires back. Same with the Regnar crossover upgrade - I'd rather just take their parts and build an entirely new one, so the old one can go back in with no damage if necessary.
Opalchip, the upgrades make a difference if you know a tech who can tell what parts will make the biggest improvements and what ones to leave alone so that you are not just replacing parts for the hell of it. Try Miller Sound in PA.

Happy Listening.
Opalchip, why don't you let us know how your experiment with stacked DQ20's works out, once you get them dialed in?
Well, I just bought a 2nd pair which miraculously showed up locally just hours after I posted the above rant - and I grabbed 'em. It's possible the seller was exaggerating for "marketing" reasons, but he said he was getting a ton of inquiriess about them (at $450).
Now I have to figure out how to do this. Haven't had time yet - but first I'll just try them side by side with careful measurement of distance to the listening position.
Looking at them from a vertical D'Appolito perspective - they'd be about 7 feet tall. Could be a WAF problem there!
Opalchip, re WAF, suggest shipping the wife off to her Mom for a few days and presenting her with a fait accompli when she returns. Need to get those tweeters as close together as you can, to preserve your good imaging/soundstaging qualities. At least that's been my experience with stacking. Anyway, 7-foot-tall speakers look cool!
Yeah - but her Mom's in China! And 4 DQ-20's with the grills removed - not a pretty sight! This would also have to involve building new 7 foot tall grills, probably by modifying the old ones.

I've gotten pretty good imaging in a side by side arrangement with other speakers. The key there is keeping ALL distances to the listening spot identical, and also keeping the distances and angle of orientation between each "pair" the same. So that'll be the first step just to see whether the whole thing is even worth while.

Out of devious curiosity, I tried last night with one pair 8 inches directly IN FRONT of the other (for lack of space or time to do anything else at the moment). Bass coupling was thunderous but there was definitely some cancellation going on in the midrange. I didn't really expect it to sound like much - but I had to plunk the new pair down somewhere. Overall it was actually better than one would expect.
Hi Opalchip,
I agree with you on the DQ20's. I remember the 10's when in high school and then a few years ago saw the 20's at a tag sale and imediately recognized them as Dahlquist. Belive it or not I picked them up for $75. I too want to upgrade because of their age but everytime I bring my cd's into a showroom, the speakers don't have quite the air and clarity. I have listened to Vienna, Sonus Faber, Martin Logan, Revel F30, PSB, and some others in the 2-5k price range.
I have dealt with Regnar in LI as they claim to be the "original Dahlquist" service people and they did do a nice job of rebuilding the woofers. I also had to replace the Scan-Speak tweeter and was told by them not to purchase the same 5008? or an upgrade from someone like Madisound because the original is specially made to match Dahlquist specs and xover. Of course this may be a sales pitch on there part to sell the 5008 for $100 but it may be something to consider.

would suggest alon v's or circes.... can be had for $2k to $4.5 k... but they require very, very good electronics.

the openness of carls designs is hard to beat.
I recently did the full Regnar upgrade to my DQ-20s: caps, coils and wire. The difference is most noticeable in the midrange. You may not notice a bit of harshness in the midrange of -20s until you hear a Regnar mod next to a un-modified -20. At least I never did until I did the test with a CD in mono while I panned back and forth listening to Diana Krall’s voice. It is a tough call as to, "is it worth the $$." There is improvement to be sure, but it is not dramatic. But personally, I'm glad I did it.
By The Way, since this thread revived here. I was able to do a side by side comparison of my DQ-20i's and Alon V mk. III's for a full week in my living room - thanks to a very nice fellow Audigoner who was selling the Alons locally. I rigged up a switch so all I had to do was click it with my right foot to swap back and forth for A/B testing. To keep it brief:

The Alons had noticeably better punch in the deep bass. Which is nice BUT, hands down, the Dahlquist midrange was much, much more accurate. I used to play classical guitar, practicing up to 8 hours a day, so I know EXACTLY what a guitar should sound like under various playing modes and the DQ-20's nail it. When A/B switching the coloration of the Alons was obvious.

The tweeter performance of the Alons was marginally better, but not in a significant way.

One thing that drove me crazy (a little) with the Alons was the more open baffle. This created excess "spaciousness" and wider soundstage where it didn't actually exist by bouncing the rear wave off the back wall - unless the speakers were really out into the room. I found that putting pillows over the rear cage dramatically improved the accuracy of the speakers.

The DQ's have a slight dip in the lower midrange which I had noticed previously when testing with an EQ/Analyser, and it was definitely VERY noticeable when A/B'ing in some isolated instances, to the point where it sounded like a viola was playing at half volume, but 97% of the time it was undetectable. It might be worth fixing that bug somehow.

These differences would be difficult to notice without the direct A/B, but there was no question I prefer the Dahlquist when switching back and forth. They are simply more natural.

I may experiment with upgrading the Caps and possibly even swapping into Alon woofers if they can be fit without too much bother.
One of my first hi-fi "experiences" was with the DQ-10's driven by a pair of GFA1's. The shop then received the DQ-20's and I was hooked on hi-fi. They drove them with -- a Carver 1.0t! Despite that, they still sounded great :). DQ-20's and Vandrsteen 2ce's are my faves in that size/price.
Deja vu! I bought my DQ20i's new in 94. I have changed every piece of front end numerous times. 30wpc hybrids to 250wpc ss amps. Recently I too was pondering new speakers. I listened to many highly rated new offerings. Some where very nice but I could never get away from the "listening to a box" feeling. I did like the new Martin Logan Vantage however @ $5k. So yesterday instead of new speaks I traded my old KRELL Sudio DAC for a JoLida JD 202A Integrated Tube amp. At $500, a cheap but wonderous little fix! That'll hold me for awhile. Enjoy ;-)
Hi Opalchip,

In a post dated 12-09-04, you wrote:

"So what am I gonna do? I'll experiment with the Regnar capacitor upgrade, but I'm not necessarily going to touch the crossovers - that's probably where the magic is coming from. And I'll try a bi-amp configuration. Maybe try a more "modern" Scanspeak tweeter."

Do you have the DQ-20 or 20i? Did you do the Regnar cap upgrade? If so, I'm curious what you thought of the end result. I'm also curious what brand cap Regnar sells for $400?!? I sent an email asking, but they never replied. I always thought they were too expensive, regardless of the brand. My gut feeling says they're probably selling Solen's ($40 from Parts Connexion)!

I have the crossover boards for a pair of 20s and I see a distinct difference in the design between the 20 and the 20i. It's subtle, but definitely present. The other major difference is the midbass. The 20i uses a Vifa C13MH-08. The 20 uses an unbranded driver made in Germany (if I remember correctly). I have both drivers and can feel a difference in compliance between the two. The Vifa is much more robust with a stiffer spider.

I purchased a pair of matched 1" Scan Speak 2905-9500 tweeters recently that I want to play with in my DQ-20i project. They are better tweeters than the stock 3/4" 2908. If you do a search, you'll find some good reviews and some interesting high-end speakers using them. I'm going to see how they perform by popping them in without any mods to the crossover. The T/S parameters are very close with the exception of resistance. The 2905 is 6 ohms and the 2908 is 8 ohms. I may have to use a resistor to match driver efficiencies. We'll see how it goes.


In any case, I just wanted to say hello! -Mark
Hi -

When I posted initially I had the 20's, but now have the 20i's. Not long after my last post we had a baby, which scrapped my time to do any major "projects" for now - so I have not upgraded the 20i's at all - except to replace the woofer surrounds. I did do a side by side A/B of the 20's and 20i's before selling the 20's to a friend. The only difference was subtle and in the mids - slightly better detail. But frankly if I were not doing direct A/B, I doubt I would notice any difference.

The main reason I wanted the 20i's was for biamping without having to tear apart the crossover. I now run the mids/highs with a CJ Premier 11a and the bottoms with solid state. Frankly though, I'm not sure that the DQ circuitry is really well designed for the biamp configuration. I'm no expert in the nuances involved, but I notice that with the tube already amp on, the biasing changes when I power up the SS - which suggests there's a significant interaction going on between the amps... hmmmm. A friend of mine with 20i's tried a number of biamp arrangements (all SS) and decided that a single amp with adequate power sounded much better. So not sure what I'll do with that - I love the CJ's mids but it's bass is just too soft, at least with the sealed box DQ's.

re: Tweeters
Comparing the Freq Response graph of the 1" and 3/4 tweeters, I suspect that the 1" may cure much of the DQ's deficiencies. My measurements a while back (which I posted in some other thread here I believe) showed a dip centered around 3.5khz, which is EXACTLY where the 1" betters the 3/4" on the graphs - that's a pretty exciting find since that dip is what really holds back DQ's performance from being short of spectacular***. Not sure addition of a resistor would be necessary as the actual impedance plots vary by only about 1 ohm. (I assume you know this, but if you do include a resistor - make sure you use a non-inductive type.) I might first consider trying a double length run of higher guage (thinner) wire between the crossover and tweeter to bump up the resistance a bit.

Please let me know how the tweeter swap works out and I may follow in your footsteps!

***A lighter weight, more modern woofer probably would be nice too. The Alon V's did better their performance slightly.

re: Capacitors
On searching around a bit I decided it would be silly to go for the Regnar package, as I could probably buy V-caps or similar myself for less - especially if just recapping the mid/high circuit which is all I think would be necessary. I assume you've seen this recent thread re: replacing DQ caps:


I also mentioned in that thread a worthwhile alteration to the grills that is pretty easy. If you place your hand on them at even moderate volume you can feel very significant resonance. It's like having a passive planar radiator with a random freq. response added to the mix - not good. Damping that grill as much as possible is one of the more important upgrades IMO.
Mingles - if you're out there, I'd be interested in hearing how the 1" ScanSpeak tweeters worked out? Did you give them a try?
I was only vaguely familiar with the similarity between the Alons and the Dalqhuist.I am searching for the Alon I's or II's and wondered-Should I consider the 20"s? Are they as resolving as the Alon's (inner detail etc)?Are they currently being manufactured?
TexasDave-You don't happen to live in DFW do you?
For anybody who's interested - someone just posted a very nice pair of 20i's for sale here on Audiogon. They'll likely need new foam on the woofers very soon, if not immediately - but worth the trouble (about a 4 hour diy job).
TWEETERS! Hi - It's me again - just thought I'd post this little update since, believe it or not, I still get private emails about Dahlquists from this thread.

My 4 year old son recently blew up one of my DQ-20i tweeters and I had to replace them. The originals were Scan-Speak Type D2008 Code 8517. The drop in replacement which is available at Madisound and elsewhere is the Scan-Speak type D2008 Code 8512. Since there is a difference in codes I called Scan Speak in Denmark and spoke to an engineer there. He could not find any info/records on the 8517, but assured me that the D2008 would be a sonic match.

Well, after soldering them in (very easy job) I can tell you - I wish my son had been born sooner! :) The new tweeters were a very noticeable improvement over the pre-blown old tweeters. Whether the old ones were already beat and on their way out anyway, or the new ones are just better - no way to know. But yours are probably in the same state - and this is a VERY big improvement. Bottom line - if you have a pair of DQ's, I STRONGLY recommend replacing your tweeters with these. Especially since you never know when the D2008 will go completely out of production. Of course, keep the old ones as spares, too.

It's a simple job. Remove the back cage and front grill, Unsolder old ones, unscrew the old tweeters, replace and solder new ones. Whole thing should take less than an hour. The only caveat, of course, is always with tweeters don't overheat with the iron. Just do it accurately and gingerly. If you need to change after the first try, let it cool, remove, cool, then redo.

Cheers, Chip
I did the replacement too with the Scanspeak D2008.I think I paid around $150 for a pair from Madisound and kept the original. Funny thing is the one that blew was already a replacement from Regnar who say that the D2008 was originally modified when it went into the DQ20. They sold it to me for like $125 6 years ago and they cover over the Scanspeak identification label with their REGNAR label. Anyway, the latest pair I bought were just regular D2008 from Madisound and they don't sound any different from what I can tell. I have heard that high end companies will order "stock" speakers that are modified to their specs and that's what Regnar claimed with the DQ20/D2008 tweeter but I don't know if I believe it. I have also wanted to upgrade just to have something new but find that nothing is quite as clear and airy as the DQ20 without maybe spending 10k+. I am considering getting the crossover/cap upgrade from Regnar.
By the way, the people at Madisound did say there was very limited stock on the D2008 as it is disscontinued.
I have also wanted to upgrade just to have something new but find that nothing is quite as clear and airy as the DQ20 without maybe spending 10k+.
You should audition any model of Alon or Nola. They're direct descendants of the DQ-20 designed by the same person. They have an outstanding airy soundstage. Magnepan MG 1.6 is another gem to look for. Totem Sttaf sound wonderful and disappear effortlessly.

Here's a good forum worth reading:
Best bargain for speaker that can offer top sound
I am considering getting the crossover/cap upgrade from Regnar.
The Regnar cap upgrade kit costs $189 per speaker. $378 for the pair. That's a ridiculous price to pay considering the fact they won't reveal what brand they're selling. If you want a cap upgrade, do it yourself. If you can solder, you can do it. The Yahoo Dahlquist group has plenty of resources to get started. The DQ-20 crossover can be modified into 20i for less than $20. Once that's done, you should upgrade the 3.0 uF cap going to the tweeter with ClarityCap MR, Mundorf Silver/Oil or Auricap. You can spend a lot of money on capacitors, but IMO the only cap that gives an obvious improvement is the 3 uF going to the tweeter.

I hope this helps.

To Tommytom - I agree with Mingles - you can do the caps yourself, and save a lot of money AND trouble.

re: replacements: I auditioned the Alon V, side by side in my home, and they were marginally "better" in frequency response - which may be a cap issue, actually - but I liked the timbral characteristics of the DQ's much more.

I have not heard the Nola Vipers, and I'm sure they sound great in a large room, but there are certain aspects to them that don't like for a more intimate space - non-time aligned, distance between mid/tweet and woofers, horizontal offset between mid and tweet, and height of the tweeters off the listening position from a couch.

Three speakers I'd like to audition as possible upgrades (in order of price) are the Reference 3A Grand Veena, Usher BE-10's, and Coincident Pure Reference.

I am also considering some experimentation with replacing the mid and bass drivers with state of the art drivers, which entail some crossover mods as well, I assume.
Ok, yet another late add to this years old rant/thread. I have original DQ20s that I also love. Bought them when they first came put. Only thing I have done so far is to replace the woofers from Regnar. They are in absolute mint condition...not scratch on them. I have however, gone to new speakers in my main system. I found Vienna Acoustics Beethoven Baby Grands to fit my ear. That said, I'll be darned if I will sell my 20's for what they are supposedly "worth" now. They are just too good a speaker to give away...unless it is to a relative! So they are in my second system and like you all, I just may do some further upgrades to them....
After reading all these great comments about the DQ-20i's, I'm having a big headache trying to decide which ones to get, a pair of Vandersteen 2c's or Dahlquist DQ-20i's. I'd appreciate any comments on their pluses and minuses. What would be a reasonable price for these oldies but goodies? Would 105 rms be adequate for either speakers for reasonably loud listening

Hi - In case youi're still checking in here - I'd say the Vandy 3's are closer to the DQ's than the 2's are, but I have always preferred the DQ's better. I find the Vandersteens a bit laid back for my liking. I felt they didn't convey as much excitement in more dynamic selections.

The DQ's are better looking, too, IMO. A really nice pair should run between $400 to $600 - anything above that, and they better be like new with already replaced woofers or surrounds.
Hi, I have had the 20i's for approx. 10 years and they are still sounding so good. They are very clear, detailed and articulate speakers, I just love them. I have Von Gaylord amps and pre-amp (very rich, full sounding) to completment the speakers. I have been waiting for computer audio to blossom before committing to a dac, so for right now I have a Sony 595 SACD player and it sound pretty good. I will probably be buying a top tier dac when I do purchase one, then my audio purchasing will be over for a while as I tend to keep things for a long time. I am interested in the Denon 100th anniversary SACD player as it sounds great, but there are a few others that I'm interested in too such as the Wadia, Berkeley Audio dac, MBL, Playback. I plan on purchasing the dac next spring at the latest, meanwhile my speakers are here for good. I have listened to many other speakers and still think these Dahlquists are sounding as good as most of them. (in my opinion of course). I can't wait to get a good dac, when I do I will take pictures of my system and post them.
anyone tried the Scan Speak 2905 as replacement for 2008 and compensated for the different electrical characteristics?
I really hated reading this 'cause my beautiful SO thinks my DQ-20s are too big for the room. Unfortunately, I can't find anything I like for less that $4,000 and my speakers are only worth $600.00. I've had them for 19 years and they amaze me every day.
Wow, this thread has been going for a long time! I have the review on the DQ20 done by G. Gordon Holt from Stereo Review, 1988. I found it back around 1999 in my college library "periodicals index", remember those, before Google? Anyway, he compared it to his reference KEF 105.2 and gave it an excellent review. These are still my fall back on speakers after cycling through others. I have had Legacy Focus, definitely more bottom end and more everything else, but not as transparent. Then I had (still have) Eminent Technology LFT-8's which I overall like better, more open, bigger soundstage, etc. but I keep the DQ20 as kind of a reference speaker.
Wow, this is an old thread. I'm surprised I didn't chime in when it was new. As much as I like the DQ 20's. The DQM 9 is a much better speaker IMO. Yes, I've had both. I had the 9's first, and then wanted the 20's. I picked up a pair, and was disappointed from the moment I hooked them up. Not that they are bad, they aren't. Really good in fact. To me, they don't compete with the 9's. I still use the 9's to this day. (bought them in 85) if you really want a treat, try them. Make sure they are the ones that have the Magnat drivers. $500 for a nice pair would be a no brainer.
I see a lot of DQM9 Compact out there, not the DQM9. Is there a big difference? And when Zydo says DQM9 do you mean the Compact or the regular DQM9?
I would pay an obscene amount of money for a new pair of DQ-10's.

Yeah, newer isn't better - I'm listening to Quad 57's.

If you want a new speaker try Magnepans, or if you have money to burn some of the high-end Vandersteens.

I think the new maggie .7 at $1399 a pair will give you pretty amazing sound.
I am running a pair of DQ-20 with a similar vintage amp, Kinergetics KBA-75, 150 w conservative at 4 ohms, full class A all the time, with the BTUs to prove it, all NPN not a pair design outputs, and it's great. They are fed with long original Monster M1 cables (the ones about the diameter of a garden hose) and I think that helps too. I run analog sources - Technics SL1200mk2 and Technics RS-1500.Pre-amp is a sort of obscure oldie by goody - Mitsubishi DA-P20. I have run all McIntosh (pre-amp to speaker), ADS,Harman Kardon Citation, but this line does it for me.