Some used Vandersteen's might be just the ticket.
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If you can find a used pair of VMPS 626Rs for under $1000.00, you will not find a better sounding speaker for the money. Even the 626jr are very good. If someone is willing to part with theirs now that you can't get them new anymore. If it has the 6 1/2" megawoofers, the bass will be much improved with almost zero chance of doubling. I've owned a pair and have only changed because I was able to get a pair of Rm30s to replace them. Clarity, dynamics, soundstage, beauty in a 24" X 13" X 10" box. If they had the auricaps upgrade, even better. With the Rs, your talking ribbon tweeter, neoribbon midrange, and excellent bass down to about 40 hz. Do not need to be played loud to sound fantastic.
Great responses. A pair of Vandersteen 2CE are listed on that other less reputable auction site and is close to me, 4 hours. Asking 650 local pickup. I also see a listing here for Paradigm Studio 100 Ref Black V2. Asking $850 and even closer to me, 30 minutes. I like the look of the Vandersteens better (and the price) but given my power source any head to head sound quality opinions on these two? At the end of the day sound quality wins over asthetics.
Low end on Preludes is slighty less, low 40's maybe in most rooms, but MUCH tighter, faster and more "tuneful" than the 2 you mentioned.
A hard-core headbanger would prefer the rough and ready 100"s, they are voiced for rock allright and thats what they are good for. Vandys like the Silverlines, sound good with any kind of music, but are more "veiled" than Silverlines. BTW the standmounted Silverlines like the Minuet sound very good as well.IMHO, the best real-world priced speakers available today are Silverline, Salk and Magnepan.
I would take a pair of Magico 7's as a gift though.
I'd say dynaudio as well will serve you well. Also revel M20s are a great speaker that is very well made and is a great used value. Really any model dynaudio would work great that you can find in your range. Not sure how they mate to your amp but I've owned many and they are a great set it and forget it and enjoy the music type speaker.
I have to comment on the Thiel 3.5 recommendation. I have these speakers and love some jam bands. They almost always let anyone record their performances, but some of these amateur recordings are just not great sounding. These recordings sound awful on the Thiels because they're so accurate and ruthlessly revealing, I suppose. If you listen to audience recordings, you way want to research speakers that do well with recordings of various quality. Thiel 3.5s are definitely not one of them.
Ketchup, thanks for the post. I do have quite few audience recordings but these days most shows are out on sbd so most of my listening is pretty high quality. Lots of HD Flac downloads (SCI, Phish, WSP) so super high quality stuff. And with all the archival cd releases the dead put out it is fairly rare I am reaching for anything audience.
The "I was there" feeling is what I want, so I rarely reach for the soundboard recordings! I shied away from phish sbd recordings long ago and haven't obtained any in years. I just don't think they sound like the show. My vague recollection is that they still don't sound very good on the Thiels when compared to "audiophile" recordings which can sound amazing. They are too revealing even for the sbds. You will hear all of the flaws.
I heard some GOldenears recently for the first time.
I heard Aon3 off some decent Mc amplification. They were most impressive for their size and cost! Fans of ribbon tweeters and big soundstage might find these appealing. SOund was just a tad polite for my tastes. In general, I have not been a huge fan of ribbon tweeters but that's just me. Also no removable grills, just a fabric wrap, which keeps cost down but does not easily allow one to see what you are listening to.
Also hear the large GE Triton floorstanders. Vendor said these were best sellers and they carry all the most popular lines. Yuck, surprisingly these did not sound good to me at all, very low to mid fi even! They had wobble to them ie not sitting squarely on the floor and were being run of a Pioneer amp that I am not familiar with. I am not a fan of towers with multiple tiny bass drivers either, but I would have to think something was not right with the setup of these considering the Aons were so nice and these also supposedly are well received. SO I would give them a pass for now but not a recommendation from what I have heard. YMMV.
Mapman- The GE Triton has a 1200w powered sub and will blow away the Aon3 in any manner of music reproduction. It is a giant killer. Something was wrong with the system. The Aon3 is a super little speaker, don't get me wrong, I love them and would be very happy with only (?) them, but still they are not in the same league.
Stevecham- If you can find a used Mani-2 for under $1k I'll take every one. They also take a powerful amp to make them sing. One thing is for sure, no sub needed. Selling my Mani-2's was one of the many mistakes I have made in my audio life. They are a special speaker in my view and they put Totem into the equation.
Due to apartment life of op, I would use a stand-mount and the Mani-2 would work but $1500/pair is the cheapest I have seen, most are over 2k.