Looking for a pair of speakers for under two-k, new or used, that have an unusually good soundstage, are a relatively easy load to drive using my little Naim Nait5i, and (obviously) sound great across the full spectrum -- but most important is the soundstage. I'm running Linn Ninkas right now and they sound great: agile, full, well-controlled, no complaints except for the image, so anything that succeeds them will have to do this one thing better than they do.
Other forums have led to a narrowing of the field to the following candidates, in no particular order:
The Joseph Audio RM-7si Mk-II or RM-22si The Salk Song Tower The Meadowlark Kestrel-2 Something by Totem The Alon One Mk-I The Audio Physic Virgo-II
Primary listening taste is Jazz, but rock and roll does have a place in my collection, and besides that the winning speaker would also be part of an eventual 5.1 home theater rig.
The room is eight feet across by fifteen-feet-six-inches deep, made of poured concrete and cindar blocks, and treated with d-i-y bass traps. Source is an Arcam FMJ-CD23, preamp is a Naim AV2, power is a gain-matched Naim Nait5i, interconnects are Belden 95259 coax with Cardas plugs, made by Blue Jeans, and speaker wire is cross-connected coaxial made by Element.
The Nait was hooked to my friend's Linn Katans (85db, 4ohm) in that room, and didn't move them worth a crud -- which I know is a power shortage because I ususally like the Katans very much.
Any thoughts that would help me narrow that list would be greatly appreciated. Plan now is to buy three pair (give or take) and audition them H-2-H.
I'd add Thiel 1.6 to your list. This speaker (which I own) is smooth, coherent, balanced and disappears nicely. It's easy to drive at 91 db. and sounds great with tubes or solid state. Match it with a good sub (and blue ribbon upstream components) and you've got 95% of the SOTA.
If you don't get many responses, you might want to re-post with a subject line of something like "what speakers for Naim Nait5i?". The speaker/amp interface or synergy is going to be the most important factor. There are lots of Naim fanatics that may skip over your post because they don't recognize that it is an opportunity for them to share their speaker experiences with you because Naim is specifically mentioned in the visible title of the post.
Bob's advice is good, but cannot be implemented for under $2K, I don't think. Another possibility that can just make it under that # is VAndersteen 2CE sigs and a 2WQ sub. Not suitable for headbangers but good on jazz and milder rock. Or maybe the V2W sub if the eventual goal is HT.
I realize that most folks have offered NEW suggestions for your list. I will not go against the tide [smile]. I have to think that, when looking at speakers around the 2k price point, it's almost mandatory to audition the Gallo Reference 3.1. They meet all of your criteria and have certainly been approved by the audiophile community.
Their soundstage capabilities are second to none. They image like crazy, have a very deep and wide soundstage, and the sweet spot is incredibly wide. These are some *seriously* good speakers....I sure am loving mine!
Thanks to all. Elevick, which model of Coincidents? Reubent, you won't begrudge me starting that thread, *now*? Someone in audioreview said I should listen to the Mirage OM-15s and someone else said Ohm Walsh Microtowers. Thoughts?
My only point is that Naim is a somewhat unique brand and there is a very enthusiast base of owners out there. Since the Naim has somewhat of a unique sound according to my readings (I've personally not spent much time listening to Naim), I would think that the most important consideration is getting speakers that are a good match for the Naim.
I could offer plenty of suggestions of speakers I like, but I have no idea how they would synergize with the unique attributes of the Naim amp.
Not sure about the Mirage or Ohm recommendation. I have no idea if they are a good match with the Naim, but they certainly would produce an interesting image as they are omni directional speakers. Lots of people like Omni-directional speakers and many do not. It's a matter of personal preference.
I can speak for the Alon I Mk II's. This is an excellent speaker. Excellent depth and a wonderful soundstage. They do require solid state elecronics and I did get better performance in the bass region when I lifted the speakers off the floor with Vandersteen 2 Sound Anchor stands filled with sand. That's when they really came to live. I drove mine with an Odyssey Audio Stratos with several tube and solid state preamps and I wish I had never sold the Alons. My room is only 14x13 with a 14' ceiling and the bass was great. They gave me a better presentation than I could every imagine. I didn't realize this until I shipped them off to a new home. I could only imagine how the bigger units would sound. Check out Ferrari. He has the Alon I's. He turned me on to them. He sells records on AG all the time. Great guy. You won't be disapointed with them in a 2 channel system. I never used mine in my home theater so I could not comment.
The Kestrel's have a glorious midrange but not much bass. I have a friend that has Joseph Audio RM 25's and he is using these over his Apogee Stages.
Some very good points raised above, and I haven't tried Naim amplification before, but without a doubt and receiving my highest recommendation with particular consideration for vanishing ability, boundless sound stage and totally benign impedance curve.... ...the Meadowlark Kestrel 2, by any account are phenomenal at their price and in fact compete at a much higher level. Ideal for your quite small space and quite stunning to admire, if exquisite hand made timber work is your thing ! I've tried them with numerous amps, both high and low power tube and solid state with consistent results, personally I'd be trying to audition either Gallo Ref 3's or the Kestrel 2's with my amp to make the final call, they are both top gunners !
Dogman, your on the right track, with Joseph. I have the Josephs 22's and I also had them connected to a Naim AV-2 AND I also used a Arcam player as a source. I had them hooked up to Naim NAP-200 and a NAPV-175 amps.
I really loved the sound and kept it as long as I could. Only reason I sold the AV-2 was that I needed more inputs for a media room. As for the sound, it is excellent. For the 22's, you absolutely MUST fill the bases with sand, to get the right sound. Not sure if your in the NY area, if so, let me know and you can come by for a listen, with a left over NAPV150 amp and ARCAM player...
If soundstage is your thing then I think you'll find that Audio Physics are excellent. I used Sparks for a bunch of years and they excelled in that area. I also have a Naim/Arcam combo, although I use a Nait5 with a DV29.
Yetis, do you still have that nap200 (it appears not)? If so I'd love the chance to hear it...I live in NJ.