I'd listen to them very closely with your amplifier or something very similar before taking the plunge.
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I'm jealous! They are great speakers! I had recently heard the BE-20s driven by all VTL system at a dealer demo, and they were simply amazing. I agree with what Jig and Tboooe said.
If I have the room, these would be on the top of my list for the next upgrade. I'm currently using Verity Parsifal Encores.
I would say: it depends on rock music you love
In my system Usher plays soft and musical rock just excellent. I mean: Simon and Garfunkel, Pink Floyd, Verve....even ZZ Top sounds good. Hard&heavy, punk and some oldies sound too soft to my ears. Be-10 are more universal though so you better try it with your own CD's to come to your personal conclusion
I'm with Jig!
The Ushers, perhaps due to a lower sensitivity, which has traditionally indicated a higher noise floor, sound okay at lower volumes, but, like many speakers (the iconic Magnepans, for example), they need to be turned up a tad higher, say, 2db, than my Nola Vipers, or my Hale Revelations or, frankly, ANY of my speakers. It's not a HUGE volume increase, but, unless the newer models (Be-equipped) have changed this, their noise floor's a little high.
The Hurricane amps are exceedingly low in their noise floor, and the Hales are about the same sensitivity as the Ushers, although it's been noted that Usher's sensitivity is not what they claim. Several reviewers would place the sensitivity closer to 85 db, and given they are quoted as the same sensitivity as the Hales, I can play the Hales at "8" on the Arcam FMJ A22, which i use as an example only because the leds are quite specific. The same volume level on the Ushers are at "9", which would indicate 3db lower volume level (in the same room, thanks).
I like them very much, and they can play rock, but you DO need to crank them up a bit. Also, their microdynamic curve is good, but not, in my opinion only, great. The speaker I heard that did that dazzlingly well was the Avalon, either the Ascent or Eclipse,circa 1990. Paired with any of the Jadis amps, but specifically the Defy 7, the microdynamics were continuous, meaning the most delicate increase in volume, or "bending" of a note was heard -- and effortlessly, not with "oh, I THINK I heard the violinist bend his "E" string a bit more." I have not heard others that do this as well, except for the Mangers I once was going to review. That Manger driver is to die for, and had the sound of a live mike feed from the Metropolitan Opera on a Saturday afternoon. Now, THAT speaker had microdynamics to die for!
I have the 718s, by the way, non-BEs. Or maybe I should say "wanna BEs."
They have the same sensitivity, and I certainly hope that, for double the price, they're better microdynamically! That said, Usher speakers are not speakers that sound their best played at lower levels. They need power, and speakers that need power don't usually have the lowest of noise floors, as noted about Magnepans' models, which need power and to be turned up a bit for some 'kick.' As Spurzehim noted, they both need power...
Yes - according to Usher, they have the same sensitivity. In the real world though, I am not so sure. Many recent reviews of the BE-718's have found them less sensitive than the specification - I don't know if the same can be said for the X-718's. When I said that the BE-718's benefit more from power, I was really referring to them "waking up" when fed a lot of power, not just that they make more noise.
The two speakers are more different than one might initially expect. However, the BE-718 is not just an X-718 with a better tweeter. Both drivers are different - with the BE-718 having a better midbass driver too, the crossover is different, and even the cabinet is different. The X-718's are vented through a circular port out back, whereas the BE-718's have a slot in the front. I suspect that the BE-718's are braced better too - I have not checked the weight of the two units, but I thought the BE-718's were heavier.
Sonically, these changes give you just a little more of everything - detail, slam, dynamics, midrange clarity, and an "ease of presentation" - not just changes up top.