Does this speaker exist or am I being ridiculous?

Here's the laundry list folks:

- Full range (27Hz or below) - no need for subs
- Balanced sound - maybe a bit on the warm side
- Good at all the usual stuff - soundstage, imaging, detail retrieval, does the disappearing act
- Will fill a large room with sound
- Can be placed effectively within 18 inches of wall
- Great WAF - ie. really nice wood cabinetry, unobtrusive visually
- $3500 max new or slightly used
- Flexible on required amplification

Am I on drugs to think I can get all this?
KLH 12 which cost me about $800 for a pair back in the 1960's. They would fit your description perfectly, except the price!
IMHO, one needs to place speakers in the room such that they sound their best. Placing them up close to a wall will compromise almost any speakers sound that I know of. In wall speakers will typically sound like in wall speakers (little or no dimensionality) because the wall will effectivly create a rather large front baffle. IMHO, see what your wife thinks about the looks of the Vanderstein 3, signature editions, or the Revel F 12's, the Revels, I don't believe will go as low, but you didn't mention you'ld be listening to much organ music. Happy Listening
Vandersteen 3A Signature
published low frequency responses quite often don't translate to effective deep bass or balanced sound. the other stuff your looking for is all over the place...there are hundreds of choices
Gradient makes a speaker that is designed to go against the wall and has been considered among the most musical speakers available for years by audio reviewers...
published low frequency responses quite often don't translate to effective deep bass or balanced sound. the other stuff your looking for is all over the place...there are hundreds of choices
Here's an idea, but they're well below your budget. Silverline Prelude. They go only down to 35Hz, but you'll likely not miss the lowest bass unless you're a metal head (like me). I'm a bass hound, and I was darned impressed by these at CES. 91dB/8 ohm nominal...they can be driven by a wide variety of amps including relatively low powered tube amps (I'd guess 30+ wpc).

They cost $1200 new, and can often be found for ~$800 used. Heck, at that price, buy a used pair and try them out. If they don't work for you, then re-sell.
In our old place, we had out Von Schweikert VR2s about 18 inches from the wall. Not ideal placement, but acceptable. I have to admit they don't have the same pop w/o the subs, but they still do a nice job with the full range, and the WAF factor should be high. Plus, in your range, you could add the matching sub at some point if your wife would agree. Of course, I'm a big fan of VSA. We haven't auditioned full range speakers since '03, but we've been thrilled with our decision and felt at the time that the VR2s out performed a lot of more expensive speakers.

Tvad, I've got to agree with your post and I'm glad that you had the chance to audition the new Silverline Preludes. To me, they deliver reference quality sound over most of the audible frequency band at a very low price. But I do have a couple of quick points to add.

The current version has only been available since November 2006, so if one buys a used pair, it may not be the version you heard. The original Preludes were not quite as well-balanced and smooth in the high frequencies, but are comparable in most other ways.

They do not come in "real wood veneer" but the simulated vinyl veneer looks reasonably attractive (although the Rosewood looks more like dark Walnut to me).

Beyond that, bass freaks that require ultra-low, room-shaking bass can always add a decent subwoofer or two. I use mine with a sub about half the time, depending on my mood. As you've implied, bass of the Preludes is substantial, detailed, and satisfying without a sub on most material. This has as much to do with the high quality of the Prelude's bass reproduction as it does with its ultimate bass extension. Cheers!
Good points, Plato. Thanks for the clarification.
Sure can. There is a pair of Green Mountain audio Imago's up.

7495.00 retail for 1950.00. It's actually one of Roy's better looking speakers. It makes a big speaker not look so big. It's a series II so there may be some upgrades available through Green Mountain up through series IV. Contact Roy if you need more info. Real 1/4" cheery wood panels float on sorbothane to give these a rich look without the woody sound.
Thanks - these are all well thought out suggestions that I will research and try to listen to.

Anyone have thoughts on the Spendor S8e? Would need a sub to dig deep but otherwise it might fit the bill and I have rarely seen more great reviews for a speaker - everyone that hears it seems very impressed including many here on Agon. The manual says it behaves fairly well close to the wall too. Maybe?
spendor is a nice balanced speaker for music lovers that wives won't cry about, and will effectly hit the bass notes most require. i would also add proac studio 200 and castle harlech as similar sized models with similar character. in any case, they will be enjoyed.
Tyler Woodmere 2's
Look into the Minis @ AV123. Their in room reponse is close to what you stipulate and the upper frequency is very flat, smooth and some say a tad bit warm.

OBTW the GMA speakers are nice but a bear to have shipped.

Good luck on your quest.
sorry didn't see your $3500 budget limit.
W2's are $7K
I haven't heard it myself, but can vouch for what others say and my own experience with the designer's other products, the Intutive Design Summit speaker. There is a review of it on Audiogon under the user name mdhoover. There is also a review on the Stereo Times website under the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest show coverage, and the same under the Pacific Northwest Audio Society November newsletter for the RMAF show report. I am considering trying out a pair myself. The main problem with any speaker in this price range is that it will be difficult to reproduce the lowest bass in what will almost certainly be a small cabinet and drivers for the modest price. If the speaker is designed to produce the lowest octave of bass there will probably be major problems elsewhere, like low voltage sensitivity and/or poor soundstaging. The best thing would be to get a speaker that does everything else well and hook up a sub that only produces the lowest bass that your main speakers will not make, such as a REL sub.
From Lngbruno "Look into the Minis @ AV123"

I have visited their website several times but read so little mainstream stuff about them (there's not that much here on Agon either) that I have discounted them. The Strata Minis look fabulous and have impressive specs and have some good non-mainstream reviews. Has anyone had any firsthand experience with this company and their speakers?
I have the Minis in my room and I have the Martin Logan Summits, ran by Plinius SA102 amp and Cary 98 preamp. I have heard many speakers, from Vandersteen 5a to Thiel 2.4C to Wilson Sophia/WP7/Maxx2 to Von Schweikert VR4jr. What about the Minis do you need to know? I also wrote a review on the AV123 forum board with regards to the Minis, it's the biggest Mini review thread there.

Joey - just wondering if you feel they meet the wish list I started the thread with and how you would compare them to some of the great speakers you have mentioned above. I will read your review on the site - perhaps it answers my questions.

Many thanks....
Of course this speaker exists...100's of times over. I think you can find any number of tall slim tower designs with several small woofers to fit the bill...obviously it will need to be ported or double ported to get that bass extension you desire.

Your requirments are pretty much main stream sweet spot; a reasonably priced, good looking, unobtrusive furniture piece with impressive but slightly warm sound.

If you wanted something with dynamics, accuracy and low distortion levels then my answer would be different.

As for 18 inch from the back will unavoidably get some rear wall comb filtering (quarter wave cancellation) in the bass from any speaker you choose, which means some notes will suck out worse than others (this can be reduced by placing the speakers much further out into the room)
This speaker will never exist. All speakers are compromises and your low price means no new designs and stock drivers. Two or three drivers in a box will not achieve your goals.
If you have any other questions aside from my review, feel free to email me at I'll try to answer whatever questions you have about the Minis and how it compares to other speakers that I have experience with.

Shadorne & Tbg - interesting yet opposite points of view. Shadorne - do you have any personal suggestions to listen to? Tbg - what if I had more to spend - where would you send me in terms of speakers to check out?

How far do have them from the rear wall? (I cant find your review)
Itball, see my post about CES to see where I am coming from. I have been at this for 40 years and could not afford these then.

If you're talking to me, I had it about 3 feet or so from back wall.
Dynaudio Contour S3.4
Thanks to all for your responses. What I am trying to do is take a decent step up from my Totem Hawks/sub combo given my large room and wide taste in music, while staying with a speaker that looks pretty much like furniture. I would like to buy something now and be happy for the next several years (as I once was with my Gallos that didn't meet the WAF). That being said and having read just about everything I can find in terms of reviews, I think I may expand my price range a bit and look at the following as a short list:

Spendor S8E
Salk HT3
Tyler Linbrook Sigs
Onix Strata Minis - I see 6 Moons has a plan to review them soon

And perhaps:
Dynaudio - a few models
VMPS - RM30 or RM2
I would like to add the Deadalus DA-1 but it seems out of my price range.

As is often said here - it will be near impossible to audition all but a few of these. I live in Austin and can find dealers here or in San Antonio for Spendor, Dynaudio, VMPS and PMC. I know Onix and Tyler offer return policies but with shipping and return charges that adds up to about a $600 audition if you don't keep them. Ouch.

I will post my findings if anyone is interested.
Would suggest the Audio Note AN-E. Believe the base model would be in the 3500-4000 range (but not positive about that). Believe it meets your requirements fairly well, except for maybe the WAF. However, you can get them in a range of nice veneers.
Gershman Avant-Garde RX20
Thanks for the Gershman recommendation Beheme - it had not occurred to me but further research shows it should absolutely be on my list. The speaker is truly full range and really beautiful to look at. Talked with them today about placement fairly close to a rear wall - they say it should be fine but some users say otherwise.

If anyone has anything to add on Gershmans near rear walls it would be great to hear. Thanks.
Shadorne - do you have any personal suggestions to listen to?

At your price point I would tend to go for better quality sound rather than huge bass extension to 27 Hz or below. My preference would be a sealed box design that rolls off gently around 50 Hz (still plenty of LF energy when you consider the boost from room effect).

Suggestions for something with a reputation for significant bass response but still of good quality (what I suspect you want);

my choice would be PMC IB1....try second hand and be patient. They aren't full range, not quite as dynamic as sealed box either, but very close to what you are seeking with great acccuracy and wow factor in the LF, IMHO. Unfortunately you will score close to ZERO in WAF factor ....but close your eyes and WOW!

WAF top score means elegant furniture, poor sound. WOW Knock your audiophile socks off = ugly brute, great sound.

That is just the way it is! No cake and eating it too! Sorry.
WAF top score means elegant furniture, poor sound. WOW Knock your audiophile socks off = ugly brute, great sound.....No cake and eating it too!

Where should we start?!!! At least, you put your money where your mouth is with ATC speakers...butt ugly. And I did the same with my monitors....but not everyone can live in a shack.
At least, you put your money where your mouth is with ATC speakers...butt ugly

You are right about that....a massive imposing ugly box. "butt ugly" just about sums it up! I managed to hide mine in some heavy duty cabinetry with 2 inch+ braced walls around the speakers.

And it gets worse.....

Just try lifting or shipping the to impossible!!!
I don't know about the WAF, but go to Blue Marble Audio in San Antonio and have a listen to the Ushers.

I would also add Energy Veritas to your listening list. 2.3i and 2.4i (probably 2.4i's with the size of your room).

They have slim cabinets, incredible sound, are front ported so closer placement to the rear wall is possible, and they're a beautiful piece of furniture in the black piano finish.