If you were looking at the Omen...
Then maybe the Lore, Katz, or Uruz?
Then maybe the Lore, Katz, or Uruz?
You might try The Hornshoppe:
I have no idea if owner Ed Schilling keeps stock on hand, but his speakers have an extremely enthusiastic following, assuming you don't mind spending a lot less than $2800.
Or, pick up some used Zu's; I see Druids and Soul Superflys posted on this site.
There are some Jaton A&V-803 Floorstanding Speakers slightly over your budget. Awesome speakers that aren't too demanding for most tube amps, including more powerful SETs. These are better then ANY of Zu offering.
I had a pleasure comparing those side by side to Druids and Presents and they were more open, balanced, fuller then Zu. They also image like crazy and had wider, deeper soundstage. The only reason I did not buy those, was high asking price (list). So, I ordered Omens on promo for $999 (which play in my room for over 2 weeks now). Great little speaker with unbelievable bass and value. But I am patiently awaiting Tekton Lore speakers from Eric for comparison reasons......something that have been trying to setup for over a month or so.
Anyway, here are my 2c and good luck with your venture.
(no affiliation with any of Jaton sellers)
I am a huge Klipsch fan and could suggest plenty of models for your needs and budget. I have a pair of RF-63's($2000.00/pair msrp) in natural cherry that are the smoothest 2-way speakers I have ever heard. Plenty of bass with very detailed mids and highs. Mate them with neutral/warm gear and they will give speakers that are twice the cost a run for their money, IMO.
2-way with horn mid/tweeter:
RF-7 II's($3198.00/pair msrp brand new with rave reviews)
3-way with horn mid and horn tweeter:
KLF-20's/30's(used $500.00 to $900.00)
Forte, Forte II, Chorus II(used $400.00 to $800.00)
Of course these suggested are not in the price class as your Horning's but for the nominal amount of $$$(in comparison), they will do a darn good job.
Here are some speaker prerequisites I meant to include (text edit box wouldn't allow any more);
Sensitivity: 90+dB (higher the better), for use with 10 watt SET monos.
Design: Prefer hybrid, 3-way (like Horning), no horn "honk" full range driver, single pair of terminals (no bi-amp).
Size/Weight: Manageable (12x12x40)/100lbs <
Finish: Natural wood; Maple,...etc. Light toned woods.
Thanks for the suggestions. I realize I'm not going to find something in the same class as the Horning, just hopefully something similar in design/sound at a much lower price.
I looked at Hornshoppe and have a hard time believing that speaker would be satisfying enough. Single full-range driver.... I'm just not sure. Prefer hybrid; 2-way, 3-way. Klipsch has never appealed to me - aesthetically.The Zu Omen does still sound like a fantastic bargain and possibly a very good sounding speaker that I could be happy with but the wait. The Tekton Design is interesting; KatzMeow and Uruz. KCS has been mentioned also (new model for $2500 listed here). Jaton website isn't working.
Jaton speakers are listed here on this site.
One is dealer's demo the other I am not sure. Both under 3K.
Omen - like I said, great for the buck. Depending on the size of your room, there are two models to choose from - standard or Definition. (they are preping for holiday promo sale again.... might be worth the wait)
Tekton Lore might be better fit if speakers are going to be placed close to back wall.
These speakers might also be more phase coherent then Zus.
Issues with timing/driver integration might also be less pronounced with Lore. (especially if speakers are tilted towards the back. I believe Eric mentioned addressing this issues in his design but call or email him to make sure)
Saw Jaton. Doesn't appeal to me - aesthetically. I've contacted Tekton design twice with no reply/quote. I noticed the Zu holiday sale, yet another one. Too bad they're not in stock and have a huge backorder to fill from the last sale. Not to mention moving into their new facility. Also checking out used DeVore Gibbon Super 8. But I might have found my speaker. A horn design from Europe. This is really up in the air. If a speaker comes along, new or used, that fits my budget and prerequisites I'll grab it.
Well if he's open to suggestions I would suggest the Tonian Labs TL-D1's, as well as, the GedLee Abbey 12A's and Audiokinesis Rhythm Prism's. I own the Audiokinesis Jazz Modules which are outside the stated price range, but Duke's designs use a 90 degree waveguide and exhibit little if any horn coloration.
I'm actually familiar with Tonian Labs. Forgot about them. I like PHY-HP and AER. What is the price range like?
The Audiokinesis Rhythm Prism is interesting. Requested more pictures.
I just came across this Sonist Concerto 3 while browsing a dealers webpage of the other speakers. Pushing the budget though. But I was intrigued with it by the review at Stereophile because Art Dudley mentions the Horning Perikles (little brother to Agathon).
The Sonist speakers were on exhibit at the Bay Area audio show and RMAF in the dehavilland room. They made my top 5 room list a both shows.
The Tonian Labs TL-D1's are $2500. The other model I like, the 7.1 is $5500.
For pictures of the Rhythm Prism speakers go here:
Thanks, Clio09. You've done some research on these speakers.
I had considered the Tonian Labs speaker a few years back but ended up with Horning. I'm very intrigued again after reading reviews. Skeptical of it matching the Horning (and it better not at 7x's the price), but I feel it would have a very similar essence of sound I enjoyed so much with that speaker.
At this moment it's between Tonian Labs TL-D1 or D2, Sonist Concerto 3, and Zu Essence.
The Audiokinesis Rhythm Prism is interesting but that finish looks like cheap furniture veneer.
The original TL-D1's came with a basic finish. Nothing special, does show some flaws, but overall they look decent. You could have special ordered them with a premium finish, I think birds-eye maple was a popular one, and those looked quite nice. These days Tony is paying a lot more attention to the finish and it shows.
Let us know what you think after you hear them.
Finsup - we are talking glorious, immediate, scary-dynamic, hyper-vivid, lightning-fast, life-changing music. They've earned kind of a cult following amongst some very experienced audiophiles, and most folks who have owned a pair will tell you they far outclass stuff like the Zu's, although I did speak to one owner who felt that Zus equipped with subs were somewhat more versatile - better able to handle rock. In addition to a relative lack of bass, the extremely revealing nature of the TL-D1s can be punishing on some badly recorded rock without the right sources and amplification upstream. Another thing is, TL-D1s can be finicky when it comes to amps. I've known a couple of folks who've had great results pairing with Fi 2a3 monoblocks, Korneff 45, Shindo and Atma-Sphere OTL amps, for example. I also hear that Sam Kim's Heathkit and Eico amps in full triode are a revelation with the TL-D1s. But another TL-D1 owner recently told me that, for whatever reason, they didn't like his Mastersound 300 reference amp at all. Solution? Sell the amp!
And the speaker is; Tonian TL-D1. I found a pair which the owner had changed their mind and upgraded to the PHY-HP driver model. I would have preferred that too, or the AER, but budget didn't permit. I'm excited and look forward to hearing what's possible with these speakers. I hope they exceed my expectations. I'm not expecting the same sound as my Horning's, but if they do provide a substantial part of the sound I was accustomed to, and at a fraction of the cost (1/7th) I will be elated. If not, a learning experience. But I'll know from personal experience.
I was also very interested in the Tekton Uruz or KatzMeow in custom wood finish but after no response from multiple emails over 3 weeks I gave up. There was also a used pair of Zu Essence I would have enjoy hearing. But when the TL-D1 and it's great price came to my attention I had to jump on it.
Cfluxa: I concur. Sell the amp. If an SET didn't mate well with my previous Horning speakers the amp would go, not the speaker. Fortunately, that wasn't the case since the pair already had a known synergy.
Finsup: Actually, it's 8 musically pure, spine tingling, evocative, orgasmic watts. And what kind of music did I play with these flea-powered SET's paired with Horning Agathon Ultimates? Everything and anything. And to more then satisfying levels. The most natural, neutral, accurate and tonally pure sound I've come to hear from my system in 20 years of high-end audio. But please don't take my word for it. Listen for yourself. Even my 15 watt ViVa VeronaSET monos demolished my 150 watt Rowland Model 10. And that was with 89dB Kharma Ceramique 2.1 SDSS speakers. The ViVa may not have played as loud without distorting, but then again this was 15 watts with an inefficient speaker. Regardless, the SET sound was glorious, beyond words, and even the bass was better. How can that be you ask? I was skeptical too, and then disbelief. But there it was, hearing it with my own ears. Sure there are going to be situations where it doesn't work, but that's also true of solid-state. But once you hear that veil of distortion wiped away you'll realize what you've been missing, especially in terms of that emotional connection to the music. And then NOS tubes took it to a whole other level.
Check out the Positive Feedback review where the TL-D1 challenges a reviewers skepticism and his $9K Dali Euphonia speakers putting the myth of efficient, full-range driver, light weight cabinet speaker design inadequacies to rest, at least in this case. Note: The review TL-D1 was the original kit version. The new MKII has different plywood, modified woofer and tweeter, plus higher grade crossover and hookup wire.
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Schopenhauer
Sakahara - congrats, and do keep us posted! Will you be pairing them with those 300B monoblocks? If so, that's the only thing that gives me pause, given the recent experience of a friend I related in my above post - he ended up selling his Mastersound 300B Reference to keep his TL-D1s. But there are a lot of amps that will really make them sing!
Correct. The TL-D1 will be mated with TRON Cantata SET 300B monoblocks*. If unsuccessful, I will not be selling my amps. But lets hold off on conjecture until the speakers, and system, has settled in.
Funny thing, the person who bought my Horning speakers has Tonian (PHY-HP version). His initial impression was the Horning mid/highs were not as good, but bass was better. His thought is that it's his amps; OTL and PP designs. The PHY-HP drivers prefer those amps whereas the Horning might be better suited with SET. This is only an initial impression based on very little listen time and quick set up. He mentioned trying an SET soon to hear for himself. Personally, I was surprised to hear his comment, especially about the Horning mids/highs. That is the Golden Ticket as reviewers have also noted. But as he said, it may be his amps are just not as well suited for this speaker as they are with the Tonian. Different full-range drivers, different and custom designs, mainly with Horning - hybrid.
What this comes down to though is does the sound satisfy my senses? If so, that's all that matters. There's always a level or so of compromise when changing gear and speakers. I've been fortunate enough over the years not to have had any major mismatches and always happy with those changes made. Being able to audition at home is key to that, but also pure luck. I do the research as best I can and make informative choices, which have resulted in an improvement each time. I also tend to keep with my choices for 3-5 years, sometimes longer. I'm not one to constantly change/upgrade my system. I do this for the music. The gear is just the means to that end. I can't be content if the sound is constantly being altered. Then you're consumed by that, it becomes obsessive. It's good to hear recordings in a different way, but it gets to a point of where does it end. I want to relax, enjoy the music, not play endless musical chairs with the gear.
*All internal silver, Sophia 300B Carbon Plate, NOS '42 Sylvania CHS-274B, and NOS '56 WE 417a.
Update: I'm still trying to sort out the music server...
also had some noise issues (tubes). I want to say I like what I hear based on a brief time with the SqueezeBox Touch, but I can't be certain until I have the system dialed in. It's close. I gave the latest USB converters (WaveLink HS and hiFace Evo) a try after the SBT, but was not satisfied at all with the sound from one and couldn't get the latter one to work. I'm done with them [USB], again, four years later. They sound terrible, even USB DAC's I tried in the past. Back to the Wadia iTransport, but this time the new 171i.
I'm also sorting out a power cord for use between wall outlet and PC. Once I've worked out these details I can begin to do some critical listening. I hope the TL-D1, or the Artemis Labs LA-1, is not a mismatch with my system. These two pieces are the only real change in the system.
I also tweaked/upgraded the TL-D1 already with PHY-HP binding posts and edenSound TSCones w/ Bras LES (Large Economy Spikes).