Forever speakers around $5000

Hi Audiogon! Your help has been invaluable in the past so I’m back yet again. I think I’m close to purchasing my forever speakers and am looking for recommendations of what to consider. Here are some qualities I’m looking for, in order of importance:

  1. Amazing soundstage. I really enjoy a speaker that can throw a BIG soundstage.
  2. Fun, slightly U-shaped frequency response.
  3. Tight, punchy, musical bass.
  4. Airy and clear high end, think Magnepan.
  5. Good R&D and technology. If I’m paying this much for a speaker, it better not just be a damn box with some bargain paper cone drivers in it.
  6. Nice looking. This is a speaker, first and foremost, but it is also a piece of furniture. It really does have to look nice (I hate to say it, but this probably disqualifies offerings from GoldenEar).
  7. Semi-compact. I like a speaker that has a good physical presence in the room (not too small) but not something massive like a Magnepan (been there already) or Wilson. I like units no more than 45" x 10" x 16" or so. Also cant weight a million pounds as we are still in a rental and will have to move these.

I currently own a pair of LSA 2.1 Signature floorstanders, which have certain qualities I like (soundstage/imaging due to rear firing tweeter, size/weight, U-shaped). But things I feel are missing (bass feels a bit loose, build quality could be better, feels very low tech with paper woofers and unbraced MDF cabinet). I listen to a wide range of music, mostly a lot of intimate jazz combos, some experimental electronic and IDM, funk, some rock, black metal, and a bit of classical.

Here are some speakers I have heard and liked:

  1. Magnepan MMG - amazing detail, imaging, mids and highs
  2. LSA 2.1 - for all their shortcomings, they check a lot of boxes
  3. Dynaudio Focus 20 XD - awesome balance and great bass for a standmount
  4. B&W CM10 - I really like this speaker, though I’ve seen some measurements that have turned me off
Speakers I have heard and were disappointed in:

  1. KEF LS50 - honestly seemed very shrill and shouty to me
  2. Martin Logan ESL - weirdly didnt get a great impression of these
  3. GoldenEar Triton 3 - not only ugly, but I found these a bit boring to listen to
So, any ideas? I'm willing to consider new or used (if it can be found somewhat easily) speakers around $5000. I can give more info if you have questions, thanks!
The Song3 Encore's from SALK Audio would be my choice.  They are $6,500 and sounded better than $50,000 speakers I heard at the RMAF.  They sell direct only to bypass distributors.  As a result they are able to buy expensive drivers and manufacture really excellent speaker cabinets.  Call Jim Salk and let him know Larry Edwards sent you.  I know the distributors in the group are not going to happy with me to recommend these speakers.  However, when you hear them, you will be thankful I pointed you in this direction.

Ishkabibil  Is RIGHT-ON!~

 Never throw out a T-bone steak that never had Salt & Pepper to bring out it's favor. Adcom Amps play well on some speakers. Find a Hi Fi dealer in your area. See if you can take home a floor DEMO. Start with a Tube 30+watts should drive your speakers. Not a tube guy?

That's OK But it will give you loads of Musicality you ear may tell your brain what its been wanting or is missing...   Solid state only?

 Pass Labs>>>>  FIRST WATT  dose both in Spades.

Tubes 444 

Different kit but same search earlier this year. After home audition of both, purchased Spendor A7s; preferred over D Series. Had previously ordered Ohm Walsh 2000 Talls, but sent them back.
+1 for ATC SCM40, or the more costly active SCM 40a (if you want to upgrade your amp with amplifiers designed for the speaker drivers). These are modestly sized floor standers.  If you listen to jazz and classical, their accuracy across the frequency spectrum is outstanding. Tight bass, crisp but not overly bright highs, nice soundstage. The company makes studio monitors used in the recording industry.  They come with a 6-yr, warranty.  Check them out at

Here's a somewhat dated review for what it's worth.  I believe one or more of the drivers has been upgraded in the latest version of the SCM 40.

If you want a smaller stand mounted speaker, you can consider the SCM 19 and use the $1,500 in savings compared to the SCM 40 towards a new amp, cables, power conditioning, a sub, room treatments, etc.

Lots of other good alternatives have been mentioned.  I've heard several Dynaudio and Aerial Acoustics products I liked (I own Aerial Acoustics Model 8b's), but must say I found some of the upper level B&W speakers a bit too bright in the highs and fatiguing.  As always, listen for yourself.