Used ProAc Studio 140's might be appealing.
16 responses Add your response
Brian - If by "livelier" you mean brighter than neutral, there are dozens of choices out there. But my vote for a good, full-range floorstander within your budget is the Ohm Walsh 2000 ($2800/pr). I have owned them for about 3 years, and the honeymoon continues. A full review is posted in the user review section of Audiogon, and there is a huge thread on Ohm Micro Walsh Talls that should be an interesting read for you. I enjoy a lot of different genres, including mordern rock, as well as some classic rock, mostly Bowie and Pink Floyd. These speakers go deep, cleanly, and can play loudly without strain.
They may need a tad more power than your Rogues offer, but might be okay, since they're tube watts. Ohm offers a 120-day in home trial. If you return them, you loose the round trip shipping.
Can't help but recommend a listen to PSB Imagine T2's @$3500/pr. Can't compare to others listed here, since I haven't heard those, but they are wonderful sounding, with far more depth than they have any right to have. They come with plugs to 'tune' the bass to specific room situations. Imaging is wonderful.
These brands/models are getting very good reviews:
1) Gallo Classico CL-4
2) Tekton Pendragons
3) Ascend Sierra Towers with RAAL tweeter
Gallo gives you 60-days in-home trial with free shipping both ways. Tekton has 30-day trial + re-stocking fee. Don't know about the Sierras.
Also, the GoldenEar Triton 2s have been very positively reviewed...
"Liveliness" comes largely from preserving the dynamic contrast native to the recording. Musicians use dynamic contrast to convey emotion, and if your speakers are softening the peaks by several dB, then the music loses much of its life.
"Pseudo-liveliness" comes from things like a hot top end or some other coloration, especially one that increases with volume level, giving the illusion of liveliness but also inducing listening fatigue before too long.
In general, high efficiency (especially when combined with high power handling) is a good predictor of liveliness, assuming the speaker is free from coloration and has good in-room tonal balance. Calculate how many watts it would take for the speaker to hit the peaks you want, and if the speaker can get there at about 10% of its RMS (not "peak" or "short term") power handling, thermal compression will probably be negligible on those peaks.
By way of example, if you want listen at 90 dB average SPL and have your system not compress when a 20 dB peak comes along, those peaks would be at 110 dB. If your speakers are 97 dB efficient, it would theoretically take you 20 watts to hit those peaks. In that case, you'd want RMS power handling in the 200 watt ballpark in order for the speakers to deliver uncompressed 110 dB peaks.
Of course liveliness isn't the only thing that matters, but if it's high on your list, you may want to look at speakers that can deliver the peak SPL you're looking for at well below their rated RMS power handling.
Imo, ime, ymmv, etc.
I love my Von Schweikert speakers (the "VSA" that I asusme Glenfihi is suggesting above). But the liveliness of them will depend on the assoiciated equipment in my experience. With the right amp, you will get it. I kept wishing my VR-4 Gen IIs were a bit more forward, until I got my associated equipment dialed in. Now perfect, for my tastes. But not as forward and lively as something like a Klipsch or Audiokinesis speaker.