This one's easy - Gallo Reference 3s - they meet ALL your criteria...
All sorts of Klipsch with horns work well with McIntosh. I had a 7270 amp hooked to my Klipsch Quartets. And no, I have never had them in the corners where they belong, so I do not know how they sound setting them up the right way! Sonic holography has me addicted. Call Klipsch and ask them what amp they would recommend. I'll bet they mention McIntosh.
Yeah, Shadorne, we all know that constant exposure to very loud rock music is lessen seriously the hearing. Maybe this is the explanation why so many rock stars are ending up with ATCs actives at the end of their rock concert carrier. Joke, apart, of course, the best would be sell your mcintosh, and buy active speakers. You really need huge overkill in passive system to reach the kind of effortless dynamism, transitient speed and coherent sound what active speakers are able to provide. Also, it is likely that active speakers have less obvious coloration than systems based on passive speakers.
Dear God. Did I say 90 RMS? Oh the horror. The shock. The AWE. I meant 90 dB-ish peaks. If I am to rise above this level (I will monitor it daily) I will immediately sell the stylish speakers and get profesional studio monitors -LOL. (BTW hang on tight today, it's going to be another nasty downhill on this economy ride from hell).
Thanks for all the inputs so far. I would like to hear more folks who have the MA-6900 as well, if that's possible. I looked at the Merlins. Why are they so expensive? It appears to be a similiar, typical slender tower with minimal components. I have not researched them yet, are they made of marble?
Good article Shad. Thanks.
What do you all think of Spendor S8e? These seem to be a good match power wise, with the MA-6900, and they, on paper seem to offer what i want. Musical above all. I don't want ultra high resolution. Just a nice balanced, full sound. Not looking to set world records here... So far the MA-6900 has surprised me on what it can do with my interim NHT Super Zero (don't laugh). I love this thing!
I liked the N805 ALOT. I showed them to my wife and she, ah, did not like the way they looked. This too is a factor. The dreaded WAF....-lol
It's prob a bad idea anyway as we have a 1 yo and a nearly 3 yo...
I keep coming back (in my head) to the Totem Forest's and Spendor S8e's.
I have to say the more I listen to this MA 6900, the more relaxing and enjoyable it is. I would like to complement its natural sound. This is my first Mac piece and so far i can't stop looking at it and listening through it--despite the fact that it's through my ~15 year old NHT Super Zero monitors. These things, in all those years have never failed to amaze me how something so tiny can yield such a big sound (within reason of course).
The 6900 with autoformers would work well with the Merlin, but the Spendor will be more "relaxed" than the Merlins. The Spendors are wonderfully musical and enjoyable speakers, but the Merlin is a notch above in resolution, transparency, dynamics, and a clean, grainless top end. But you can do ALOT worse than the Spendors. If you heard them and like them you should be happy with the a long time.
Magnumpi205, you've tried Mac with Harbeth? The combo sounded pretty good at RMAF. Have you also owned Merlins or extensively audtioned them? I do wonder about language like "by far the best sounding" which seems like hyberbole at best. I heard both the Veenas and the Merlins on the same day, I preferred the Merlins - that's my taste and what I like, but to say of either that one is far better than the other doesn't ring true, though one can describe differences between them and it depends on your taste, and you might have a preference. I prefer coherence and balance and the Merlins do that better than the Veenas IMHO. Certainly both are worth auditioning - the Veenas are good and worthy of consideration, but I would not choose one over the other on the basis of overstatement, though I appreciate your enthusiasm.
Stringgreen, I agree that subs can do some things, and its true that it take a load of the amp driving the mains (though that is not much a concern with the easy to drive Merlins and other speaker with benign impedance), and Vandersteens work very well with their speakers, better with the 3A than the 2Ce IMO, but subwoofers can also cause plenty of problems most of the time in my experience; if coherency and balance are a goal (there are are some possible exceptions, but hard to get this right IMHO.)
Yeah the Gallo 3's will do you nicely here. I dunno about the Klipsch recommendation, based on your selection and past tastes in speakers. While I like playing around with the horn speakers with tube gear, I doubt the sound will be what you expect from something like the Klipsch. (actually, I'd LOVE to have the dynamics of a Klipsch with the refined sound of a Wilson/Thiel,etc...but that's not likely gunna happen).
Still, I've some experience installing the Gallo ref 3's, and they are a very well balanced all around, high-end sounding speaker, with very good dynamics across the board (think, plenty of kick and snap for your Knopfler tendencies)
I've owned Thiel 2.3's, Infinity MTS preludes, NHT 2.5i's, - and various Klipsch's over the years - Sonus Faber Electa Amators and Minima's, Merlin TSM's, and varyous others in my systems...also sold most of what's out there as a brand.
Yeah, I think the Gallo is a good consideration for you, for not so, so much money on the market.
Thanks for all the rec's so far. I will make a list pretty soon of what I would like to hear. Asa for the sub, when it's connected to the high level amplifier speaker output just as the speakers are. I run the speakers full range. Only adding in some extra bass when needed. I have tried filters on speakers and sub driven by line level and I was never able to make it sound as coherent and integrated as it is running high level/mains full range. Dunno. DOnt care to really put much effort there either.
As I said before, the Macs will match extremely well the Spendors and the Klipsch. The Harbeths don't match as well and are in storage at the moment. The Harbeths were also one of my favorites at the RMAF but the Spendors seem to have a better connection with the Macs.
The Gallos and Merlins, etc are fine speakers but not in the same league as Reference 3as. The Reference 3a Veena is also a very fine speaker.
Matching amps to speakers is very time consuming but well worth it. Take your amp into a dealer and listen to the speakers that have already sounded good on dealer amps.
This is just a process of weeding out and finding speakers to your taste and you amps taste. Only your ears can make that choice.
Well, I have to agree with Magnumpi205 on the importance of auditioning, becuase to a great extent what you like is subjective to your taste and someone else's taste may not be yours. For example I heard the Grand Veenas, and they are certainly fine speakers and could easily live with them, but I still prefer what the Merlins do so I'm a bit uncomfortable with describing things as "not in the same league" - in my view the Merlins certainly are in the same league as ANY speaker 50Hz and up and I prefer them to the Grand Veena's as speaker I would want to have in MY living room- so yes, do audition, what you hear here certainly isn't gospel. And you room being the size it is certainly will make a difference as to which speaker will work best for you in that environment. Dpac996 I agree with you regarding subwoofers - awfully tough to get right, but I am a coherency freak which I tend to prefer two-way over multi-drivers, and soft dome tweeters at that.
Pubul57, I too prefer two-ways because their crossover is much simpler and more coherent. I have tried many times to get subwoofers to work without any success. Perhaps it is the same issue of the crossover, but also I think it is the issue of their sounding best when out-of-phase with the speakers but that harming the coherency.
I would say that my preference for the Reference 3As over the Merlins rests on two things. One is the use of the Muratas on the Reference 3As and second is the great care Reference 3A makes in their crossover and the extensive use of AVM within the speakers.
Meant no disrespect for the Merlins. Have the Spendor 100s and Harbeth compact 2s which are also really fine speakers.
What sets the Grande Veenas apart is that coherency from 30hz-20khz. That extra 20 to 30hz at the bottom end adds so much foundation to the music.
Coherency is not that rare in a 2way but usually takes big, big bucks to get in a 3way+. The Spendors have it but don't go nearly as deep as the 3as.
Well, with the speakers you have and your feelings about the GVs they may be worth another listen - that extra bass (the Merlins are essentially out at 28 Hz with a +/-2b at 32Hz)might be especially useful with symphonic music and a larger room (the Merlins do not seem to have any issues with compression, even with their smallish mid/woofer. I did spend 10 minutes with the GVs at RMAF and certainly liked them. I did not realize how "inexpensive" they were for what you get and if I were looking for speakers they would be on my short list, though proabably not for my size room. Anoth one I liked was the Harbeth M40, but if you read John Atkinson's recent observations regarding bass balance in a smallish room, I suspect I would have the same problem - OP might not. We'll see if GV starts developing an ownership following, they do deserve serious consideration, and a bargain to boot IMHO - though I suspect my OTLs need not apply.
Speakers are by far the component that depends a great deal on personal taste. I am not a believer that there is any one speaker optimized for all types of music. I'd stick with the B&W 805's for classical and jazz. It's hard to beat the classic Spendor's for vocals. Don't care for either B&W's or Spendor's for rock.