Harbeth SHL5+ with two subwoofers (and Antimode 8033 equalization)? The Harbeths like a fair bit of power, so I would recommend solid state amplification of 2x250 watt or more.
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If you like tubes and not worry about WAF factor look at tekton website, Omega speakers are mostly for tubes,they make good speakers, I got my supercone rs8, a month ago my viva 300B love it, I just ordered tekton impact monitor they will be here latest next Thursday, another tube loving speakers...I like the looks it’s unique...
+1 for Vandersteen, and getting subs if going below the Quatro's,
ProAc's are nice, too, but they have a 'European' sound, so it would behoove you to listen to them first. (-though I think they are very good).
This post will probably give you much more info to add to your 'overload' unfortunately.
It really is in your best interest to make as much time to visit dealers, or find other audiophiles in your area to get audition time.
I promise you will find the speaker that 'Speaks' to you.
Based on your room size and musical tastes you should look at a set of Legacy Focus Se and a set of ATC SCM 40.
The Legacy is 95db efficient, tube friendly, plays rock really well, has thunderous bass and looks great, they also play loud as hell, and Legacy also has matching center channels if you ever want to do theater, and are reasonably priced, they are also very smooth in the top end, and can come in stunning finishs. They are also reasonably priced for a hand made American loudspeaker.
One of the best rock speakers is the ATC SCM 40 augmented with one or two subs for that size room,
ATC is the loudspeaker that most rock recordings were actually mastered on, and in terms of midrange accuracy and midbass punch unbelievably realistic they also have a smooth yet detailed top end and throw a fanastic sound stage, howerver,
they are 85db efficient and requires big solid state if you want them to come alive musically. All the deep bass is good but would require a sub to fill that size room correctly, and they have a smaller sound stage and set of prescense compared to the Legacy.
I find Harbeths to be a bit on the laid back side, as well as the Vandersteens and do not generally like to be played loud, they are a wonderully musical speakers, but not a great speaker if you have a large room and are pro rock.
The Nola is a good speaker but I don’t find them to get really exceptionally until you move into their diapole/ribbon models which are outstanding but pricey.
The new Proacs with ribbon tweeters might also sound good, but you will never get the sheer volume if you like to play loud nor will Proac give you crazy bass volume like a speaker such as the Legacy. The Audio Note speakers are designed for far corner placement and they do not make a center channel nor do they play loud, the Audio Note speakers are a great jazz speaker.
You should consider larger more efficient speakers with more bass to fill up that sized room.
We demo with rock routinely and at loud levels with both the Legacy and the ATC. When you hear rock at realistic volumes on an ATC you will see why studios use them, incredible dynamic range, punch and the most natural midrange over most loudspeakers, in terms of midrange accuracy the ATC is an even better speaker than the Legacy.
In terms of sheer musicality, fun and value it is hard to beat the Legacy’s.
As per bass you actually have a good sized room based on total cubic feel so a speaker which has more bass is desirable. The only issue you may have is a bit of bass boom which is a by product of being too close to rear wall, however, you may be able to tune that out.
For example if you looked at the new Anthem STR integrated which is excellent sounding lots of power and punch good built in dac, for $4,500.00 that has room correction the Anthem room correction is very effective and can tune out the bass bloat nicely.
Even better sounding is the new Micromega M100 a $4500 integrated which also have a room correction module, cost s a bit more than the Anthem with the Micromega room correction system however it is very tube like but with excellent punch so it has a warmer sound then the Anthem which is pretty neutral.
So if you are looking at electronics and speakers the Legacy Signature which is $7k and has a bit less bass and is a bit smaller plus the Micromega $4500 and you would be done, all you would need would be a set of speakers cables at the Micromega is a dac/amp/phono stage, and streamer we have this combo on display and it is fantastic.
So part of the equation is going to be how big a speaker can you get away with, do you play loud, and do you value clarity and detail over tonality and ease of listening.
Also what would be helpful is do you have any equipment currently and what have you liked in the past?
Hope that helps.
Audio Doctor NJ
Another vote for vandersteen. I have been able to audition a wide variety of speakers over my life, although it's difficult to get a true sense in many listening rooms in stores. Vandersteens are so musical, natural, image like crazy and I think they are good value for the money. They are on the laid back side of things, so if you like brighter speakers, they are not that. I find them great with a wide variety of music, classical, jazz, rock, pop and electronic. I run with a tube pre and solid state amp (blue circle). 2's or 3's would work in your room.
Good luck with your search!
I have to agree with audiotroy, the Legacy Focus SE’s will give you the "biggest bang for the buck". There maybe better speakers than the Focus SE, but you’ll be paying 4 times the cost and not getting that much of an improvement. Three years back I was looking to upgrade speakers, and I had to travel hundreds of miles just to really listen to the good stuff. I live in SW Virginia, and people’s idea of a "high end" stereo speaker is what you find at the local Best Buy. I actually drove as far as NY before I settled on my speakers. After listening to everything I could, me and the "boss" decided on the Focus SE’s. Wasn’t a hard choice either, the Focus just seem to make the music come alive. I heard things I had never heard before. There are two things a speaker has to do...one for me, and the other for my darling sweetie. So first, they have to look good (love the Rosewood finish), 0and they have to sound even BETTER. The Legacy do both in spades...Since then I have picked up two pairs of the Studio HD’s and looking to get a pair of the Calibre.
My biased opinion is:
1. Go tube and take a long look at Decware. I switched to Decware and haven’t looked back. I started with the MiniTorii and upgraded to the Torii Jr. Only reason for the upgrade was to have a bit extra headroom. $2500. However depending on your speakers, you could grab:
2. Speakers: I again have switched to Decware hybrid radials here, they just blew my mind when I heard them the first time. (Decware HR-1). However there are a lot of great options here. I agree with the Vandersteen route, and you can grab Vandy 1’s for CHEAP [read: less than $500]. I have heard amazing things about Devore Gibbon 88’s, not listened in person, but they may fit the bill as well. Omega speakers are a great match for Decware as well, Louis has a new model that is sold through the Decware site.
3. Then you can use the money saved and get the Decware ZP3, the most transparent and amazing sounding phono stage I have heard to date. $1300
My current spending distribution is 40% on speakers, 15% amp, 30% source, 15% room. YMMV