Efficient bookshelf speakers for my new (and amazing!) Still Audio EL84 integrated


Hi everyone,

I recently purchased a used pair of Contrast Audio stand mount speakers that are rated 92db, 16ohm with the intention of pairing them with a tube integrated.  After some research, I decide to go with the Still Audio EL84 integrated amplifier (10wpc).  I'm extremely impressed by both the build quality and the sound of the amp.  It drives the speakers to good volume levels.  And Mark Still's customer service has been exemplary.   

What I'm not impressed with, unfortunately, is the Contrast Audio speakers.  Since I purchased them used I don't know what might have happened to them before they reached me.  The highs are wooden, hollow, grainy, and artificial.  I've tried them with a more powerful solid state amp, and the result was the same.  They're very well broken in at this point.  

So, I'm looking for some recommendations on a stand mount speaker with good efficiency and a reasonably flat impedance.  Ideally, I'd like to find a speaker that has actually been tested to confirm its efficiency.  I've read quite a few reviews on speakers that have specs in the mid to high 90s but that test in the 86-89 range.  

I've looked at the websites for Omega, Blumenstein, and Coherent.  The specs all look good, but there are no actual measurements.  If any of you have experience with a speaker or can point me in the direction of a review with measurements that confirm high efficiency, I'd appreciate the info.  My budget is $2500ish.

Thanks so much, Scott

smrex13
Just a quick update...

I solved the issue of why the Contrast Audio speakers sounded so poor. After some investigation I found that my cartridge had a slightly bent cantilever (which must have happened about the time I put the speakers in my system).  The speakers now sound clear and precise, but the amp really has to strain to reach average listening levels.  I don't think that the 92db spec is accurate.  

In any event, in order to have something to listen to while I explore other speakers, I got a pair of Klipsch RP-160Ms, and I'm very pleasantly surprised.  They are easy to listen to and very engaging (probably more due to the quality of the amplification).  

Will continue my hunt, but I feel slightly less urgency now that I have a decent sounding alternative in place.  

Thanks, Scott
Yes - I'm very lucky to live here.  Will definitely check out the Omegas.  Looks like they have a reasonable trial period, so I should have time to decide if they work for me.
Thanks again.
Had the pleasure of spending a couple of weeks in Oregon, near the coast. What a beautiful state you live in. Do check out some Omega's if possible. From my home state of Connecticut. I think you will be quite impressed...
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I am so jealous of your amp. I highly recommend Omega Speakers with an el84 Set amp, magical. And I think Mark may recommend them. Very happy with my Decware but if I ever switch, that’s the amp.
@thecarpathian - thanks for the recommendation.  I initially dismissed Fritz due to the lower sensitivity, but they certainly have a friendly impedance and would likely work well in my smaller room.

Unfortunately, I live about as far away from Jacksonville, FL as is possible (Oregon :)).

Best, Scott
Used Fritz carrera rev7 be. Won the 2018 Editor's Choice Award and were show stoppers at CAF this November. They ran them with an 8 watt tube amp. I bought the pair they used, in pristine condition. The sound and detail is superb. Do you happen to live near the Jacksonville Fl. Area by any chance?