A few good choices - Spendor s5e, Totem Staff or Arro, Linn Ninka. Lots more I'm sure.
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My computer stopped typing in my initial post, so I was not able to complete my question. Perhaps there is a space limit.
Anyway, after a lot of reading here and AVS forum, here are some options I was able to identify in the $750 to $1500 range for new small towers, in no particular order:
Focal Chorus line
Wharfdale Diamond, EVO2 lines
Vandersteen 1c, 2ce
Salk Song Bird
In some of these brands, there are multiple models that could work.
In the used market here on Agon, here are some current listings:
Vienna Acoustics Grand Bach:
Sonus Faber Grand Piano Home:
Dynaudio Focus 220 Mk 1:
Having had some disappointments with some used speaker purchases I've made, I am a bit leery of going the used route.
The bed is kind of high, and I thought I would set the small towers up on a cinder block to get the tweeters up to ear level. I also think I need wide dispersion so each side of the bed gets clear dialog for movies.
What are your thoughts about these options? I appreciate any other suggestions as well!
I have now had the Daber Monitor 3's for two weeks and have had a chance to do some critical listening. I have the rounded cabinets in maple that Steve provides for a small extra fee. They are gorgeous with very high end carpentry work! The first thing that will strike you is the deep, tight bass for such a relatively small speaker. I doubt anyone but the most avid bass fan will see the need for a subwoofer in a two-channel setup. The mids are very satisfying and the highs are clear and precise. Vocals are rendered in a very natural fashion. The soundstage competes with the best. My wife, who is very musically inclined, even prefers them over my Acoustic Zen Adagios. A very different speaker and a matter of taste, but still high praise from a very musical person. I love them both for different reasons. To say that I am pleased with the results would be an understatement. In summary I think this must be one of the best values in speakers out there and they are made in the USA by a small entrepreneurial company. Give them a try - you will not be disappointed!
As a side note the speaker stands for the Volla speakers fit as if made for these speakers (rounded) - got them from MSS HIFI at a decent preice. Steve is planning on making stands for them as well in the near future.
my local dealer carries vandy and focal...imho vandy is a much superior product in terms of performance and value...they have that reacnh out and touch 3d realism...however...focal is a good performer and
and has much higher WAF if that matters....by the way
....vandy 2 is a fairly imposing speaker...opt for 1...also.revel.f 12.would meet your criteria
I've heard all of the brands you listed except Jamo and Salk. Monitor Audio wins. Not as good a mid-range as Focal, but these are good all-round performers. 5 star ratings at WhatHiFi for the BX5s and RX6s, if you care.
I have the least experience with Vandersteen, I've only heard their higher lines, liked them very much. Focal 7 series is about all you'd buy in that price range, and IMO they are way to short on the low end. If you can afford the 826v, I doubt you'd be disappointed, they are great - still a little thin on bass, but the mids and highs make up for it, when listening to music. I don't know if Focal would work for movies - like I said, not enough low end. I've auditioned the diamonds and hated them. Consider Quad's 22L2, I heard them in the same sitting as the Wharfedales, and I thought they were excellent - around $900 used on the 'gon.
Of the current 'gon possibilities you posted, I'd *definitely* go for the Dyns!!! Vienna Acoustics is too laid back for me, I like a detailed sound, and the Sonus Fabers image well, I heard them at ListenUp here in Denver, but they had some mid-range coloration that did not sit well with me. Could have been the electronics - NAD integrated...
I own the F32s and have heard the F12 which came out after I bought my F32's. My impression left me asking if I had paid too much. I think the F12s sounded unbelievably good for the price point. Good bass, very articulate in mids and highs. At 1200 You'll have to look far and wide to match or beat the value they offer.IMO that is.
My first thought was that the Silverline Preludes (newer version, $1200/pr new) might be perfect for this application. Wide dispersion, good dynamics, small/thin footprint, good mids and clear and detailed but not harsh highs, with decent bass but not likely to overpower your bedroom. I think the f12s would be a bit much for this application, and I'd be concerned they don't have the dispersion characteristics you're looking for given their wide baffle (read Stereophile review for more info.)
My other thought was to go with good monitors as you can probably get better sound quality per dollar, and the good ones probably go plenty deep enough for this application. And it may help with your dispersion requirements as well. The other advantage is you can buy stands high enough to not have to resort to cinder blocks to raise them up. In addition to the Revel M20s mentioned above I noticed the M22s are also in your price range (used), but lots of others to consider as well. Another possiblity might be the Silverline Minuets that espouse a lot of the qualities of the Preludes in a smaller package, and at about half the price. LOTS of other good options for monitors in this price range -- moreso than floorstanders in my opinion (Ascend Acoustics, B&W, Dynaudio, Epos, Nola, Paradigm, PSB, Wharfdale, etc., etc.). Best of luck.
I got to listen to Vienna Acoustics Beethoven Baby Grand today as well as a Sonus Faber Liuto. The Viennas sounded great on instruments, but required a very exact sweet spot in order for a female vocalist to appear in the middle. Just moving my head a few inches left or right resulted in total loss of the center positioning of the singer. The speakers were toed in quite a bit, so perhaps it was setup. The Liuto allowed for a broader area left/right in which the vocalist seemed pretty much centered, but I didn't think the instruments were as clear and accurate as with the Viennas.
I also didn't realize how physically small the Viennas are, considering that the Beethoven Baby Grand is larger than either the Bach Grand or Mozart Grand.
Thanks for the replies. After much reading here, as well as listening to some speakers at retail shops, I pulled the trigger on a set of almost new Monitor Audio 9i listed here on Agon. This was after reading 3 or 4 professional reviews, as well as scores of individual reviews on Audio Review, ecoustics, etc.
The common themes were that the Monitors were equally good for both music and HT, which was one of my primary goals. They also were lauded for having excellent clarity, dynamics, imaging, and soundstage. Quality bass for their size was another commonly cited feature. I like that the bass drivers are a bit larger than many other sub $1000 models I found available used. The reason that appeals to me is that when I was auditioning speakers at shops, it seemed all the ones I heard with 5.5" woofers were muddy and lacked impact in the bass/mid bass, including Vienna and B&W.
Time will tell, but even if they disappoint, I haven't spend a ton on them, and can sell them and try something else.
OK, so I've had the Monitor Audio Silver 9i for three months now, driving them with my Yamaha RX-V1800 receiver. For the first couple months, I was largely underwhelmed. They just did not seem to have much in the way of dynamics or bass.
It now seems the problem had to do with speaker cabling. I initially used the bi-amp feature of my receiver and used some Morrow SP-2 for the HF terminals and some stranded Monster cable for the LF terminals. As I said above, I just was not impressed with the lack of dynamics and clarity.
Well, as an experiment, I dug out of a closet an old set of Goertz MI-2 Veracity cables. Now, I had used these years ago in another system, but don't remember them being particularly better than other cables I tried at that time.
So, I have no explanation, but there is a huge difference. After installing the speaker terminal jumpers, I connected the MI-2 cables, and disabled the bi-amp feature of the receiver. Apparently, either the Monitors do not like bi-wiring, or the Goertz are just the ticket for these speakers. Not only do I now have much greater and more defined bass, but transient attacks happen, RIGHT NOW. Vocals on music and dialog on movies are the best I've had. At this point, I am finally really enjoying these Monitor 9i, and would recommend them strongly.
As a follow up on speakers for this 2.0 bedroom system, I just picked up a pair of near mint Dynaudio Audience 82 towers to compare to the Monitor Audio 9i. I paid several hundred dollars more for the 82s, but they are much larger speakers and have deeper bass response.
I have to say, I am very surprised and pleased at the order of magnitude that these Dyns are better than the 9i. I mean to tell you, the 82s are in another league with respect to mid bass slam, articulation of bass notes, bass extension, and most importantly, the presence and definition of the highs such as cymbals. The brushed cymbals on Diana Krall's The Look of Love DVD-Audio are much more natural and "present" in the room.
I also just watched Wrath of the Titans Blu-ray, which has all kinds of effects and explosions. Wow, these are not really that large volume boxes, but man do they go deep. Also, dialog intelligibility is about the best of any speaker I have tried so far.
I've never owned Dyns before, due to the price it takes to get a tower of any decent size, but when I saw these 82s for sale here for a great price, I could not resist finding out for myself what they were like. I'm glad I did!