Have you ever tried a pair of speakers and said this Is the last thing I will ever need.

Hi Audiogoners have you you ever had a local dealer that is so pashonet about audio. That they let you bring in your system for fun and try a $10 000speakers. And you have been to every other local dealers shows and listened to $400 000 and above systems. And then tried a pair of speakers and had so much synergy with your budget system and said omg. This blows all other systems I heard for a fraction of the cost of most others? And have been always happy with that pair of speakers and your system for the rest of your life?

Please share your experience"
F6b5e383 dd84 4b30 8569 e555d1d8f543jakecanada
Well not exactly but almost. I first heard ATC in 1994 in a small hifi store in Aberdeen. The decision was immediate to buy the display model ATC SCM 20 they had and has been permanent so far - I have stuck with ATC and steadily moved up their product catalog to the very top - as they do so much more that is right for me than any other speaker - something "golden-eared" sound engineers can attest to. (Not that I claim to have golden ears - but I enjoy music more than most)
Pretty much.

I went through a few good speaker systems, then bought an Infinity IRS 1B system. I loved it ... until the dealer got in the Infinity IRS Beta system. When he offered me a good price on one, I jumped at the chance. Much of my system has changed since then, but the IRS Beta remains.
I have a pair of Audio Note AN-E/Ds, and I have no desire or temptation to change speakers. They sound great with all types of music. They allow me to forget about them and just enjoy the music. As I make improvements upstream in my system, it just gets better and better.

The only way they'll ever leave my listening room is if I replace them with a version further up in the E line.

I'll go one better by pure luck.  It was the early 2000's and I have a friend that is an audiofool and I have enjoyed his system over the years and also got me interested in Audiogon.  A pair of speakers I had been reading about but never heard, the Soliloquy 6.3's were on auction.  Won the auction and they have been the only thing that hasn't changed in my system.I haven't heard another speaker that I could afford that could beat them.  cleeds, the Infinity IRS Beta is one that I can't afford that did.

I purchased my Aerial 10t 1996 model nearly 10 years ago. It's my last speaker.
Acoustic Zen Crescendo mkii.

I have been an Alon/Nola guy since '94 and also dabbled with other speakers when I explored 300B SE playback namely the Cabasse Ferella 401 and a few bookshelf models, those being Fried and NHT but mainly stuck with the Alon/Nola's over the years. 

At the last few years of RMAF, I have been mightily impressed everytime I heard a room with Vandersteen speakers so when a local deal came up for a pair of Quatro Wood speakers, all it took was one listen and they came home with me. RV's approach to bi-amping is very smart with extreme flexibility, not to mention the 11 band subwoofer equalizer and Q control which allows one to match the speaker to the room with outstanding results. They are an easy load to drive and I've had excellent results with both an EICO 2050 int. amp and a Pass Labs Aleph 3.

Needless to say, the Quatro Woods are most likely the last speakers I'll buy.
KEF reference 3
Gamut M7


I was a dealer for TAD a few years ago and still have the CR1'S.   I can't imagine ever getting rid of them even if I move to another speaker.  I augmented them with subs and super tweeters but I don't often comeback from an audio show and think I've heard something that surpasses them, or even comes close.  They're not for everyone but to me they present music the way I hear it live and up close- unamplified.  
However I'm tempted by Magico's and soundlabs.  
Yes!!  I had many expensive and varied cutting edge speakers.  Around 2004 I was living in a small condo for temporary housing between homes.  Enter the Totem Forest Loudspeakers.  Gave them up when I moved to our new home.  They haunted me ever since so....I finally got the new Totem Forest Signatures and I have found my happy place again except they are vastly superior to my old Forest's.
To all the fortunate posters above, it's great to hear those who picked the right speaker. All different, but each music lover completely satisfied. 
Zu Def IVs here. Three years in and I walk up those stairs to go to bed after staying up too late, still amazed.
Zu's are music makers for sure!

When you ran out of cash to chase the 'bleeding edge', and stopped...

When the spouse said no, and it was cheaper to keep her....

When your ears finally couldn't discern any tangible difference anymore...

When you finally decided to listen to the music over the equipment...

I could go on...but the choir has already lost interest.... ;)
I had a set of ProAc response 2.5's back in the late 90's early 2000's and until recently I've not had that musical magic  I picked up a used set of Living Voice avatar 2's this year, that I got a really good deal on because they were discolored a little bit from UV damage, and I'm back in musical heaven I don't see me replacing them unless I go up the line...but that will require a substantial outlay in my budget terms. ($15k) I replaced AudioNote ANE's with them and I'm much more pleased. Still miss the ProAc's though ;-)
Asvjerry...poet laureate or sarcastic twit?  

That's sort of me.  Seven years ago I did a home trial of my Ohm Walsh 2000 ($2800/pr), kept them, and have never looked back.  They are not perfect, but they are perfect for me.  I can afford them, I love listening to every kind of music on them every chance I get, and they work really well with my gear and my room. 

Through my local audio club, I hear a lot of speakers in many price categories.  Some of them I really like, some, not so much.  But so far, for the eight years I have been a member of this club (and also attending audio shows), none of the speakers I prefered over my Ohms cost under $10,000/pr, with many of them costing much more.  Subtract the speakers that simply would not work in my room (I have a low ceiling and not a lot of space for things like panel speakers), and the DIY speakers which I would never attempt, and I am pretty sure that the Ohms are my last pair of speakers (I am 56 years old).

Yes, and for two qualified reasons.

1.  My age - I've been in this hobby for decades and there comes a time when one must simply step off the merry-go-round.

2.  Discovering the Janszen zA2.1.  Certainly not a perfect speaker but very musical, affordable (though near the top of my range), good looking, and works best in unobtrusive room placement. The only downside is they are so revealing that other component upgrades are readily apparent.

Why should anybody ever step off the "merry go round?" I'm old…wait…*cough*…*snort*…and I sometimes change things simply from boredom or hey…CURIOSITY…I really hope I never get so old I no longer wonder about things like other sorts of speakers, or different tubes…or some new technology…that's just sad. 
It can be exhausting however wolf.  Chasing your tail can make ya dizzy!

Agree!!  Stay curious.  Whether it's your religious or political beliefs, technology, new music...whatever, remain open to new ideas and trying new things.  I too have been in this hobby for decades and remain fascinated with new products, new technology and the possibility of better sound in my listening room.  Having said that I can understand the frustration of the "merry-go-round".  There is a fine line between the joy of trying new equipment and the frustration of never feeling completely satisfied with your system.  Part of the fun of this hobby is the hunt.  Most changes I have made in my system were not the result of any perceived limitations of my system but were simply motivated by curiosity.  

I am not necessarily ready to "settle down" with my system but when I do the math  based upon my age and disposable income, I am running out of time and opportunities to turn over equipment.  For that reason, I am more focused on making right decisions.  I hope my recent purchase of a pair of Vandersteen Quatro speakers will offer me a degree of lasting musical enjoyment...but certainly there is not guarantee.   I do want to upgrade parts of the rest of my system to enhance and compliment the new speakers.  In the past when time was not an issue I do feel I was on a "merry-go-round", replacing parts of my system willy nilly with no particular end in sight.  Time is the enemy of us all...
Own and have owned many loudspeakers over the years, but once I found the Quad ESL57, my relentless audio "upgrading" and discussion about same more or less came to an end
you cannot deny the continued improvement in speakers over time

that doesn't mean you should change them frequently - I forget how long I kept my DCMs, but my Vandersteens' only lasted me 15 years.

Now, my maggies are just 20 years old but the newer ones give me the urge to upgrade

dave b...*L* Sarcastic, yes...twit, hardly.  But thanks for the poet laureate thought. ;)  I strive in my way...

After various iterations of speakers, and the lust for some beyond reach, it dawned on me that 'chasing the bleeding edge' in speaker tech had become the playing field of those more well-heeled than I.  That, and having more pressing issues for the income I've managed to rise to and the 'disposable element'  of it to apply to my hobby....which, at the end of the day, is what it is...

Don't get me wrong, dear sir.  I applaud those who can apply themselves to 'the chase', and have the means, the will, and the desire to do so.  Some collect stamps, exotic cars, 'luxury wives', whatever floats one's boat.  If drawn to spend Xk$ on exotic cables and the trappings of 'hi-end audio', have at it with a vengeance.  I might be drawn towards that as well, given different circumstance.

IMHO (and it is, ultimately), the configurations of equipment in a given space and how it sounds to one's ears becomes so complex that arriving at an agreement as to it's 'perfection' becomes so personal an issue that there's never going to be total subjective acceptance of 'perfection' having been reached.  Coupled with the fact that, sadly, our ears decline with the rest of the organism....although the entity between them will still argue that point. ;)  Twas always thus...

For myself, I've a odd collection of audio this 'n that, things that amuse me.  My current activity in the 'hobby' is DIY'ing Walsh speakers....the Real Ones, not the versions offered by Ohm.  I could discuss that at length with you and anyone else for that matter, but this is not the time or place to engage in that.  But that's what 'floats my boat', instead of endlessly discussing 'speaker cable qualities' and which is 'best'...

But in terms of the OP's original question, YES, I have an opinion.  It's just not what y'all might expect or see at the next audio extravaganza...*S*

Hmmm....sarcastic, well, yeah....opinionated, definitely...poet, no.  This is not poetry.  Words like the foil used in fencing, Yes. *G*  En garde...;)
It doesn't go like that so much for me. My biggest problem is moving ever 2-4 years, and then ending up in a completely different listening environment. I'm afraid the average apartment is just not that conducive to a wide range of gear.

My speakers must remain small, but full-range. Sometimes no place for  surrounds. Gear must be musical, but small. Fit on racks that are not very deep.

While I'm happy with what I have, man, the cables... the cables!!! I wish I could just hook up 1 cable to each piece of gear and be done with it. Or that I could find an affordable HT pre/processor that had a truly great DAC.


Problem solved...Totem speakers sound great anywhere because they are musical instruments.  You can drive them with a Powernode 2 integrated $799!  

Some days it doesn't pay to go out without your waders on.
I used to live in Richmond Hill, Ontario and there were three stores that carried high end systems within a 30 minute drive.

When I was bored, i’d go around to them all and try systems and speakers just to get an appreciation of how good my system was performing.

Yes - I think my system is extremely  good, but I always found there were things I liked in those other systems. Whether it was the smoothness and classic sound of the big Tannoy’s or the details, clarity and dynamics of the Avant Garde Horns (my current favorite).

I guess which speaker I preferred depends on the day and my mood. Perhaps (ideally) we should all have 2, 3, 4 or even 5 rooms each with different systems, so we can opt for the system that best suites our mood?

In my case, budget tends to be the main thing that constrains my insanity. But that aside - even if I had many SOTA systems I’d have to agree with Randyhat - and "Stay Curious"

wolf, "just sad"?  I'm not.

For one thing, I've been changing out speakers and other major components for so many years I simply grew tired of the process.

But more importantly I found speakers which are so satisfying that I don't feel any need to search further.  Rather like trelja with his Quads.

And then I still have a sufficiently large music collection, plus a number of cartridges I've not even listened to yet, that I can't imagine becoming bored. ;^)

Well said, ASVjerry!  Wasn't sure where you were coming from but I think you are the fortunate one.  After wasting way to much money, not to mention the time and aggravation, I have stepped it back to a very basic setup which puts music first.  Enjoy your system and have fun;)
I plan to use Sonics by Joachim Gerhard Allegras indefinitely. Yet, you never know.

The search is part of the process.  Finding something that covers the bases you need, another part of the process.  Yet I am a creator, an engineer, I need a tool that is accurate, enjoyable and effective. 

Audiophiles are doing their creating with the system itself, so that's more ongoing I would think.
Uh...Mmm...No. Never have.
I gave up on the Wilson line because of their inherently flawed design of group delay and necessary on Axis listening requirements!  Any speaker that needs to be aimed at your head like a laser has never sounded musical to me.  Dynamics are restricted as compared to a good speaker with great off axis response.
Yes!!! I had that experience back in1967, when a dealer A/B’d my budget Marantz Model 18 receiver between my AR 2a’s and a pair of Klipschorns. WOW!! I was leveled in more ways than anyone could imagine. I saved my lunch money and 17 years later bought a pair of horns.
My Bozak Concert Grands  biamped and mod will be with me til I die. It's in my DNA. I think I will say the same about my JBL 4345 I get in about a week. East coast sound on one side of the room and west coast on the other. Something about moving a lot of air and feeling the music I enjoy.
Sure- Thiels, Lindfields, PSB Synchrony (mostly because of a weird room). Each of these was all I needed- till I heard one that was all I needed. I’ve never said it when I didn’t mean it. But I always know in the back of my mind that I’m searching for the music. . . when a new speaker shows me more, and I’m in a place to afford it. . . I’m old too- I’ve been doing this for over 50 years now since I worked in a store to pay for the habit. I move on to something else sometimes while the music is there but when a new speaker reveals new stuff, either in new or old music, it’s time for the checkbook. But I don’t begrudge anyone who is happy- maybe envy but I’m certainly not going to criticize that decision. :) I know this kind of doesn't answer your question. But to me the music and being happy about what you are hearing is the point of the effort.
A few models for which I have had this type of reaction:
Mirage M1
Thiel 3.6
Egglestonworks Andra 3

All were, and probably still are, models that I could happily live with in the right space and with the right components.


Budget Marantz 18 in 1967?  It cost a whole month of post-doc stipend.  For years, that 18, an AR turntable with Shure V15, and a pair of AR3a speakers served as my audio setup, and I was proud of it.  Those units are sitting in my closet.


I can't say for sure that I will NEVER change my speakers but I am very happy with my system. I am running Mirage M1s with a Son of Ampzilla 2 and a Lexicon MC8 in bypass mode as a preamp. Using a Yaqin SD30A tube CD player. The SD30 and the M1s are responsive down to 20Hz so the bass is really sweet without any blemishes. The M1s have had the tweeters rebuilt by a fellow in Canada and are like new, new ferrofluid ,everything. These speakers shine with whatever I send them, prog, fusion, bluegrass, classical, it just doesn't seem to matter. My wife isn't a huge fan, she thinks they are too big, I told her our living room is just too small. So now I get to put an addition on the house.

Ive had my Dynaudio Contour 3.0’s for going on 14 years ....they are still as solid and even more beautiful then the day they arrived at my door. I am so glad I purchased these (after I listened to a pair of Totem Sig's, they use drivers from Dynaudio, I fell in love with the 3" voice coils, such a sweet mid range) because it seems to me after all this time that I got a hell of a deal compared to what the choices and prices are today. I have owned the Mirage M'3 with a McIntosh MC300 and loved those, wish I never sold them (Mirage-oliths are not wife friendly...go figure). (my brother owned M1's with McIntosh 600watt per channel amp with solid state Mac preamp ....very very nice) Also, I am glad to see Dyn re introduce the Contour line, but I’m not even thinking of upgrading. (speakers at least) ...

Matt M
The Bozak Concert Grands are very special.  My brother had a pair...really did justice to classical music.  Still have a pair of Bozak B-313's gathering dust!  Maybe someday I will resurrect them:)
My gato fm6. I'm happy 

I've had the same speakers for 9 years now:

Exemplar Horns.
I'm happy with mine but if I came into some big bucks I'd consider others.  I'm sure designers have come up with some good ideas in the 20-25 years since mine were first produced.
Great question you have posed.  I have said the very thing about many many speakers I have had in the last 10 years, but at some point, I got the "itch".  I have had Spatial Audio Hologram 4 Turbo S speakers for a year now and I like them more every day I listen to them.  I wish I could meet a women that I like as much as these speakers! 
This his happened to me a few different times in my life.

 First when I was 16 I heard a pair of cerwin Vega vs 120', loved that slamming bass and in your face highs, paired the speakers with Nad 2200 amp. It's funny how a decent amp will take a mediocre set of speakers bloom to a certain degree.

As an adult I fell in love with a pair of mirage m1's. Paired with a big classe amp, proceed pre amp and nice cables, I loved the big detailed sound and the amazing sound stage.

Now I realize the mirages, although exciting and very fun to listen to, are not the last word in high end. 

The speakers I most recently had to have was a pair of Sonus Faber Lillium. While I don't have 70,000 to buy them. Maybe some day I'll get a gently used pair. 

Each pair I listed, I felt like I couldn't live without one time or another.

 For 35 years my speakers were K-horns, and I assumed they would be my speakers forever. My kids used to joke that I would leave one to each of them, but I would answer that I would be buried with them. Then I moved to Arizona and couldn’t find a house with a single room that had 2 corners on the same side. The open plans which now dominate the residential market are an abomination, but living in the street isn’t an option as there are no corners there either.

Right now I’m running a pair of Wharfedale Diamond 10.2s in my main setup, a pair of 10.1s in my bedroom, and assorted others here and there (e.g., powered Behringers for my piano, powered Edirols for my computer), but I keep looking. The trouble is, there’s nowhere to hear the ones I’d really like to hear: Harbeths (P3 and Monitor 30.1), Klipsch Heresy iii, maybe a modern Klipsch like the RP-250f, the Paradigm Signature series, Vandersteen, some of the more exotic brands like Zu and Salk, maybe something I’ve never heard of. I have tried Magnepans, the little MMGs, but didn’t like them much, especially the tiny, unfriendly sweet spot.

The last hi-end audio store in Tucson closed last year – and they didn’t have much on display anyway. Now there’s Best Buy and . . . Best Buy, where the ambient sound level is so high you can’t hear the few speakers they have on display, and of course they don’t carry any of the models mentioned above. I listen to mostly vocal music – choral, small a cappella chamber groups, lieder – I was a member (tenor) of the London Symphony Chorus. So deep bass is not crucial – voices don’t go below 80 Hz – though I do like a Mahler symphony from time to time.

So the answer to the OP’s question is: K-horns, there’s nothing like them, at least nothing I’ve heard. And if you can’t have them, or like me can’t keep them, the quest never ends.


Great question.  I'm relatively new to the HiFi scene and still on a steep learning curve being only 5 years in.  However after hearing various really expensive speakers (certainly more than I can afford) at HiFi shows and local dealers here in Melbourne Australia I reckon I will be keeping my newly acquired KEF Blade 2s for quite a while.  Same goes for the Ayre QX-5 Twenty / AX-5 Twenty combo I have upstream with Cardas Clear cabling (speaker & power cables, interconnects and jumpers).  Still can't believe how standing the AX-5 amp on myrtle wood blocks noticeably improved SQ despite having the amp already on a Quadraspire SVT bamboo rack.  Thoroughly enjoying this new obsession of mine and thankfully so is my wife!
After over 59 years since I bought my first "Mono" Player--many incarnations ( too many that sucked both sonically and the wallet!)have been and gone form my abodes
Now though I've settled with what I feel is a fine balance of musicality/involvement/and value for the $(bought S/H as no longer available )especially in a domestic living environment such as an Apartment or similar.

The Sonus Faber Guarneri Homage

I still marvel at what they can produce for the size and cost--indeed a Tour de Force RIP Franco Serblin.