Help fine-tune my speaker search

I'm in the market for a new speaker and hoping to find something that blends what I like about the two that I'm using now -- KEF LS50 Meta and Nola Boxers (original).  Both speakers are really good at imaging and soundstage.  The Nola's are a little more organic sounding and go a little deeper on bass extension, but the Metas are much more revealing about what's in the music.  So I guess I'm looking for a speaker that provides detail while also sounding organic and musical and that is also dynamic enough for what I like to listen to -- jazz (old school and bebop), blues, and rock. 

The rest of my system right now is iFi Zen Stream >>> Denafrips Ares 2 >>> Schiit Freya + (Sylvania NOS tubes) >>>  Schiit Vidar (or McCormack DNA 1 original 1980s).  I also play around with a Yaqin MC-13S integrated tube amp with the Nolas.  For bass, I run 2 SVS SB-1000 Pros.  Long term I see myself sticking with some combo of tube preamp and SS amp but can also see myself with all tubes someday.  The room is 14' wide x 24' long but only has 7' ceilings (basement room with concrete floors and sheetrock walls).   I'm thinking of staying with bookshelf speakers on stands and using subs, vs going with floorstander.  Easier to control bass that way and move around when needed.  Open to any other suggestions about my system.  After speakers, it will be power amp next.

Just started building a short list of what I want to audition but hoping the hive mind has some ideas for me. Thanks in advance.  Budget is $3K - $3.5K. 

  • Dynaudio Special 40
  • Paradigm Founder 40b
  • Paradigm Founder 80f  (floorstander)
  • Monitor Audio Gold 100
  • Vandersteen VLR CT
  • Nola Boxer S3
  • Nola Contender S3 (floorstander, for budget would have to be used)

@nymarty  I hear you about GR Research, but there are some elements of his demonstration -- about parts quality, e.g. -- which would be solid data points regardless of what his overall objective is with his videos. That, for me, is the key to modest skepticism -- listen to every aspect of an argument, including the subarguments, and allow those whose validity do not depend on the larger argument to remain standing.

As for the Fritz speaker, all I can say is that listening to the Carbon 7s would at least give you a useful benchmark.

You should really go back to Johnny R’s and listen to some ProAc speakers as I believe he sells them as well.  They’re very natural and organic sounding yet still nicely detailed and image/soundstage right up there with the Vandys with wider dispersion and sweet spot.  Surprised he didn’t play them for you — I think you’ll be very impressed. 

@soix  That's a good idea.  It's been a while since I've listened to Proac's. I used to have Studio 250s back in the day and am not familiar with their line now.  I liked the Studio 250s but didn't love them. I eventually sold them and then got the Boxers.  Any particular Proacs that you recommend now?


There's a lot that can be done to improve off the shelf speakers.

The old favourite; better crossover components.

Grounding the housing, front and rear plates of each driver. Imperative, non debatable.

speaker anatomy

Lining all internal surfaces including rear driver plates with sound deadening material and filling enclosure with sound absorption material.

Adding sound deadening material within the confines of the grille to the baffle with cut outs the size of the cones helps with reflection.

A grille with curved edges helps with diffraction.

reflection & diffraction