As you say, you have lots of amplification, so that is not as issue. In the price range you mention IMHO, the Vandersteins are wonderful! I love the 3A's but even any of the 2's are fine also. The VCC would give you a center channel for not much more money, and, I think that would make you a happy camper! The Maggie's are faster, more immediacy, and, Lord knows, you've got the amps for them. But, they are physically larger, and, unless you get huge ones, would likely benefit from your subwoofer. A friend of mine has several pairs and they all sound really good, too. I've never heard the Von Schweikirt's, as you already know, they have a good reputation. For the money, though, I vote for the Vandy's.
Coman61, I have quite a bit of experience with various planar speakers and unfortunately I don't think that's the answer for you.
I think your requirements might be best served by loudspeakers that use high quality prosound drivers.
One of the challenges that can arise with conventional speakers is differing power compression characteristics among the drivers. Briefly, different drivers don't all get louder at the same rate as the input power is increased (theoretically it's 3 dB for each doubling of input power, but in practice this is rare outside of prosound drivers). This phenomenon is called "power compression", or sometimes "thermal compression", and there's a correlation between low power compression and high efficiency. Usually tweeters are padded down to match woofers, and usually tweeters have less power compression than woofers. So what happens is the designer picks a loudness range in which the speaker will sound balanced. At much lower volume levels, the woofer is louder than the tweeter so the speaker sounds dull. And then at very high volume levels, the tweeter is louder than the woofer so the speaker sounds bright. You may have noticed this with some speakers.
One of the advantages of single-driver speakers is that the tonal balance doesn't change with loudness level. But single-driver speakers lose articulation at high volume levels because the voice coil travels beyond its linear limits on loud bass passages.
Prosound drivers are not immune - they do suffer from power compression at high power levels, but typically we're talking about levels that would produce in excess of 115 dB. So it's essentially a non-issue at SPL's likely in a home environment. If you want a speaker that really holds it together at very low to very high volume levels, high quality prosound drivers make a lot of sense.
I've e-mailed you about a speaker I sell that uses high quality prosound drivers. Other contenders would be Klipsch Heritage series and Pi Speakers. Going well north of your price range, Classic Audio Reproductions, eXemplar, Avantgarde, and Edgarhorn come to mind.
Best of luck in your quest!
I don't think many people would consider the Vandy's as a good rock speaker. I listen to rock & blues exclusively, I owned the Vandy 2Ci sigs, they were nice but too polite for rock. I also heated the cones up so bad one night the warning lights came on, not the best for a "rock" speaker. When I called Richard the next day he said I must have been listening at "drinking levels", which I was. I have used that term ever since & he was 100% correct. I loved the sound of the Vandy's & would own another pair but didn't find it to be the best match for my listening tastes.
I now have a pair of VSA VR4jr's & my friend has a pair of VR4's, they are definitely a dynamic speaker with some slam. They are nuetral & fast, they can reproduce the thunder of a live show or the delicacy of a single wind instrument if called for. Most of the time people recommend "lower end" speakers when people are looking to rock but I think it's a cop out. There are plenty of high end speakers with dynamics & slam, you just have to poke around.
I strongly recommend looking into the new B&W 803S. B&W is know for their resolution. They can play VERY loudly, and the new "S" version has better bass than their previous model.
DynAudio Special 25, these babies are bomb proof and have a 25 year transferable warrantee, I have had a pair for about a year now and just love the smoothness of the soft dome tweeter. Play it loud and rattle the windows this jewel can handle it. They like lots of volts (not just raw watts) so your amp should be fine.
I am a fan of Vandersteen,but I would never say they were a rock speaker or that they met the criteria you articulated. Many people find them a bit laid back compared to typical speakers in their price range, IMO that's because they do NOT overemphasize the high end to provide first listen sizzle. I have heard the Von Schwiekerts and they may be a good choice. Lots of bottom and they sound good loud.
I have Reimer Teton GS's (check others on a'gon here) which are exactly what you're describing and happen to be very efficient as well. No sub needed because they go very deep and move a lot of air. Sweet ribbon tweeters. Beautiful cabinet work. Mine moved out of the HT (13x18x8) mainly due to WAF issues (size) so are sitting doing nothing now (I have both large and small Merlins).
I recently listened to the Revel F12s and was very impressed. They definitely fit your loud and clear requirements, and at $1300 new would probably be cheaper than some of the aforementioned suggestions. Deep bass but not quite the feel-in-your-chest variety that you may want.
Take a look at these. They are $685 each direct. Build or have someone build you some beautiful cabinets and I think you would have what you are looking for.
I don't think you'll find anything new that compares to the Kappa 9's for under 5K. You do have the power to drive Apogees/Analysis or Maggies which will be smoother but still prefer to be fairly loud. Neither has the bass you're used to and might require sub. The room is plenty big.
My humble suggestion is to set your sights, budget and patience a bit higher. I went from Kappa 8's to Genesis 350's and never looked back.
While you won't find these in any store, I would suggest auditioning a pair of Tyler Acoustics Linbrook Signature (Is) in an owner's home. Used they go for about 3.5-4.5K/pr. and should meet your needs and preferences nicely. Superb bass extension that is as clean as it gets, with natural sounding highs that don't miss the detail either, and mids that are pure heaven. The Linbrooks have a slight warm character that only adds to their musical enjoyment, IMO. Great build quality too, BTW.
Another possibility used (albeit a stretch financially) are the Von Schweikert DB99s. These go for 12K/pr new, but only a year ago they were selling for 10K/pr., so a used price of 5K is not *entirely* out of the question (even though it would be tough to find them for that price)... I found these to be about equal in overall sound to the Tylers, and you should be able to find a pair in stores to audition. *Very* nice sound, and while you really don't need their 99db efficiency at all with your amps, you will be able to play these *extremely* loud, low and clean. The DB99s and up are where I feel the VS line really begins to distinguish itself.
I used to own a pair of Polk SDA SRSs. They could easily play well beyond stupid loud and with no distortion. They're big and I often wonder how they would sound today compared to my Hales Rev 3s, which cannot be played near as loud. The good news is that I just don't listen at high levels. I do some pro sound, try never to exceed 90db, and am happier around 80 to 85db with live music.
I had a pair of the Tyler's & loved them. They can rock out as well, they are worth a shot & the quality is superb.
Years ago I owned the older style Kappa 8's & was running them with the Adcom mono-blocks with a Cary preamp. Yes, they could rock out big time & I wound up with VR4 GenIII's powered with an Ayre V-1xe using an Atma-sphere preamp. Good quality floorstanders, good quality big power & a good quality tube preamp makes for an excellent presentation at both 105 dB+ and low 70's.
My tastes are mostly rock but I also enjoy female vocals and have recently been listening to some jazz & blues. I also have two teenagers, so am constantly exposed to newer music, some which is pretty good.
Anyway, I just sold my entire system just to try something else but if I were to recreate what I just had, I would start with some VR4 to mod 5 spkrs, which are a factory modification/upgrade. With Kappa 9's you obviously want some bass impact & the VR's will redefine bass, as you know it.
I had my VR4GenIII's for almost 4 yrs & wrote a review on them here. That should give you some idea of what they can do.
Regardless of which spkr you choose, do try & have a listen if at all possible. Have fun picking out new gear!
I would suggest Legacy Focus 20/20s. Rave reviews in Stereophile, but still excellent R&R speakers. Also excellent value for the $$$. Great bass and mids - I have owned 2 pair.
Thanks for all your replies. I just love this site. It is a wealth of information. I guess I have some homework to now and see if its possible to audtion some of these speakers. I must say I was surprised that the Vandys didn't get much support. I knew the Von Schwikirts would have a few fans here.
Fishwater and Woodman you guys hit it right on head with the stupid loud and drinking levels. Thats what I'm looking for. (not all the time)
Their was a guy in Vermont that had some nice Tylers for sale but his ad states that he dosn't want to ship them and Vermont is too far for me to go pick them up. O'Well.
I will have to wait for something else.
Tms0425, Those are nice speakers to but a little north of what I was wantting to spend.
It looks like they closed down the Golden Gramaphone in Akron Ohio. There goes our Magnepan, Nht,Von Schweikirt dealer in Northeast Ohio. Looks like I will have to go Detroit to find some decent Hi Fi shops
Coman, if you're going to Detroit the manufacturer I e-mailed you about is in Northville, roughly 30 miles away.
Also if by any chance you might be up for a road trip the first weekend in May, the Great Plains Audio Fest is taking place in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I think most of the exhibitors will be showing high efficiency and/or high output systems.
Coman, I would listen to the VR4jr's. They are a great speaker with excellent dynamics & control. If I sell mine it will only be so I can move up the line to Sr's or 99db's.
I was just about to recommend Von Schweikert and noticed DRIVER's post. I have the VR4 gen III's (bought DRIVER's) so here's an endorsement of his comments. They're a great rock speaker. There may still be new SE's available for your budget, but you can move up the line if you're looking for used.
You may also consider Totem Mani-2 sig's - also well under your budget. They play loud, and have extremely tight bass and incredible detail that conveys the real power of Rock music.
Well I've managed to make a deal on a set of the new tyler acoustics pd 80's. They should be exactly what I was looking for. They are used and I had to give up my trusty Mcintosh mc 300 and some cash for them. I won't get the speakers for a couple of weeks so I will let you all know how they sound when I get them. Thanks for all your thoughts.
Audiokinesis, I would have tried the speakers you recommended and would have liked to see that place near Dearoit but I came across a deal that I couldn't pass up. I did take your advice and go with pro drivers. Hope it work out.
Sell your grandmother and buy some Wilson Audio Sophia's.
You might even find some 2nd hand or ex-demo since they have been superceded by the series 2. They will do everything you want of them and more, great at low and high listening levels. Awesome with movies (even as a 2 channel arrangement). I think you'll save money in the long run as they'll satisfy your every audiophillic craving for detail, dynamic slam, with a sweet treble that you won't find tireing.
Well I've had the PD-80 Tylers for about a week now and all I can say is WOW. These friggin things are loud!! They do a respectfully good job in 2 channel, huge soundstage image very good for a large speaker and are crystal clear.
They really shine in my HT rig. I think this is the biggest improvement I have made in my HT rig. They are not as dynamic as the Kappa 9's and the highs are a little thin. I'm sure this is do to not haveing a tweeter let alone 3 emits (GASP)!! All in all I'm happy with the speakers and will most likly send the kappa 9's down the road. I still have my 2 channel rig so If I just have to have those shimmering highs I could get a smaller set of Infinity's. AS for now I think I'll just flat out rock the PD-80s