Floorstanding speakers - $2-3K


I am a retired 74 year old. One of my hobbies is, slowly but surely, improving my satisfaction from my “basement” stereo system.

I run Tidal Premium into Bluesound Nodi 2i > Denafrips Ares II > (recently purchased) Kinki Studio ex-m1. I also have a Classe AMP2 class D amp that I use without a preamp.

I recently started with a pair of ELAC Uni-Fi UB5 bookshelf speakers and the moved up to Wharfdale Evo 4.2s. The room is around 18 x 18 with 9 foot ceilings. I listen to a variety of music.

The UB5s were amazing for the price, and that also applies to the Wharfdales. I had considered a move up to the Wharfdale Evo 4.3 or 4.4, however, I would like to find a set of floorstanding speakers that encompass the strengths of the Wharfdale Evos but push the vocals just a little bit further forward in the soundstage...and possibly also a bit more lively.

In an attempt to save my back I would like to keep the weight of the speaker to <75lbs each.


chinook9
At 2K and 3K respectively, per pair delivered, from Tekton Design:

2-10 Perfect SET and the Electron SE

The Electron SE comes in at slightly above your weight requirement.

https://www.tektondesign.com/products.html
@OP, I am an unabashed Vandersteen fan.
If you buy used, you can get a better speaker for your money.
So, if that is something you can do, I would say buy a pair of Vandy 2ce sigs or 3a sigs.
If you live near a major city, I would try to demo them first.
Caveat:
Speakers are something that only you can decide as to what sounds best. And, though you will get lots of opinions, the final decision is yours to make.
My opinion, is that you try to demo as many speaker manufacturers as you can. Only then, will you have a handle on what you like/dislike.
I did this trial/error task when I was in my Twenty's, and I am so glad I did as I now know what floats my boat and what does not.
Bob
first, given it is a basement system with a 9 ft ceiling, let me say that room treatments are really important - get the floor soft, deal with corner and side reflections, also ceiling reflections -- upgrading speakers with a sub optimal room is a big waste of money and effort

second, try a proac floorstander. they accentuate vocals in a brilliant manner - tektons, already recommended, are another good one to consider, but the tektons get to be back breakers in a hurry

i would also suggest some excellent large-ish stand mounts you might consider, buchardt s400/s300, harbeths, spendors - they honor midrange and voice brilliantly... then couple with a pair of rel subs... this combo will put all the best high buck floor standers to shame in your application

finally, suggest you ditch the class d amp get a sweet class a-b unit - many out there to choose from

good luck!


Are you looking used too or just new?
Contact Underwood HiFi and ask what their discounted Audiogon price would be for their LSA-20 Signatures.  If they meet your budget they offer a 30-day, in-home trial, but I seriously doubt you’d return them.  That’s the best I got, and best of luck. 
You know 18x18x9. That is real close to a "be careful" size, especially with a strict point source speaker. It might be a better room for an electrostatic, or something along that line. You’re gonna need some room treatment for sure.

I don’t know how you feel about that. I’m sure someone will chime in on a prefered. I’m not real savvy, but some rooms, takes a certain kind of speaker.. I’ve heard really good, panels that FILL the room so easy.
Easy to listen to..Not too expensive..

An idea anyways

Regards
Thank you for the recommendations.  I will continue checking them all out later today.

Note that the Kinki is a Class A/B amp and seems to be quite different and more likeable than the Class D Classe AMP2 which also has its strengths.

I will work on room treatments that I have separated off to some extent with leftover sheets of polyisocyanurate insulation board.  Two adjoining walls behind and side of speakers are solid, the wall opposite the speakers is 70% closed off and the 4th wall is open to the rest of the basement.  I can improve this quite a bit, I expect. 
A pair of Emerald Physics KCIIs would work well in that room
There are many great speakers available in your price range. But they can sound very different. SOIX gave the best advice regarding an in-home trial. The in-store experience is, at best, a rough approximation. Manufacturers that sell direct often have a 30+ day trial period. Brick and mortar stores will often loan speakers for a day or two.
Jump on used ELAC asap.
You don't say what kind of music you generally prefer, but unless it's heavy metal, I would probably 2nd the Emerald Physics.
Here’s a pair for $1,450
https://www.usaudiomart.com/details/649643363-emerald-physics-kc-ii-pro-carbon-upgraded-finish/
Sample of the sound.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ct9mhxHoBU
What about a set of Magnepans?
Hey keithtexas, I have the KCII Pro Carbon and they just crank. I listen to alot of prog and power metal. I do have them modified and to me these are fantastic speakers. No problem with the metal thing.
Sounds good Mr. Salami. :)
I recently bought a closeout pair of EP 4.4s with neo tweeter(?) and asked Danny Richie to design a better crossover and upgrade the crossover (parts) too. 
I just need to block out a day to go pick them up or have him ship them to Houston area.
My man-cave awaits their arrival. :D
Thank you to all for you recommendations. This was a very difficult process. I read (and listened to) every review I could find and in the end it came down to reviews and recommendations, combined with availability and price.

Tekton had, in stock, an "upgraded" pair of Electrons, with grill, in black at $2200. I can return them if I don’t like them. Its also a plus that I will be able to try some low power amps.

Thanks again!

NOTE:  I will now get to work on adding acoustic treatments to the room.
I also went through Danny to modify the KCIIs' and they sound Great!. Chinook9,  I did have a pair of the Impact Monitors. I think you will enjoy them. Looking forward to the review. 
Talk to Ty at Tyler Acoustics.

He can set you up with speakers that do not need a monster amp to sound good.

Thanks for listening,

Dsper
Good reasoning chinook. You will probably like the Tektons.
Do keep us posted. 

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@giantsalami 
Small world.  You bought my REL subs to pair with your DI monitors.  Guess what speaker I just picked up for my second system--The KC II Pro's!  Opted for paper version.  I think the OP would like these.  But in my room I absolutely need to run subs.  Heck of a value for what I payed.  

Would love your thoughts on the DR crossover upgrade.  Was going to do cap upgrade but would love your thoughts on what his rework of the crossover did vs the original
Hey there, I have tried many floor stander speakers and for the price range you are looking at I can/will suggest checking out a pair of SVS Prime Pinnacle Floor speakers direct from their factory store. This particular model was just recently voted “Best Floorstand Speaker 2020” by an organization of well known HI FI magazine editors. For what I believe $1600 for a brand new pair with 30 day return policy, you can also get, in their ‘Outlet” section a blemished set for $1400 in piano black or black oak. I had recently purchased their Prime Bookshelf speakers used and loved them so I just bought a used pair of their Ultra bookshelves in piano white (rare!) and they are fantastic as well! SVS is a well known subwoofer company that entered into the speaker market about 10 yrs ago with their Ultra series and continue to blow away everyone who has has the pleasure to listen to. I know I will have a pair of the Ultra towers eventually! Check them out if you still haven’t decided, you won’t be disappointed!
Tektons....for sure.  They are great.
Another vote for Tekton. Easy to drive with almost anything and sound very very good for the price and above. I honestly don't think you can beat them at the price point for an overall great full range speaker. They do most things very well in an "audiophile" sense such as detail and tone and are fun to listen to. 
Chinook9,

You will love the Electron SE ... playing around with mine on a Krell 50S amp with 100 watts into 4 ohms Class A. I also have Tommy Os MEGAschino MKII. They sound wonderful on both.