Help me with a pairing.....


HI all,

Somewhat new here. I’ve decided that it’s time to up my two channel game. I’ll be moving from Monitor Audio Silver 6’s powered by my Marantz AVR that has served me well for a long time. Initially I balked at the notion of HT bypass on an integrated but now i’m all in. I listened to a few different products but based on what I had read coming into it I sort of knew what would win, and that’s the Luxman 509x. It was exactly as advertised....very precise and powerful with no slowness to speak of and little coloration. We even compared it to 1.2k Mcintosh monoblocks and I felt the Luxman gave up very little if anything, but that’s a story for another thread. I was listening on Focal Sopra 2’s and have to say they did not suck! So while that’s a possibility they are really darned big. I would love to hear other suggestions on where I might look to find a somewhat neutral speaker that supports primarily indie rock (think Wilco, The War on Drugs, even low fi favorites like Guided By Voices) as well as jam bands (Phish, GD) and classic rock. Also if it’s any help we listened to Magico’s the same day and I didn’t care for them nearly as much. A bit warm for my liking.

Ideally footprint is a bit smaller, and has a center channel that isn’t 24w x 12" high since that would be challenging on most racks. Price maybe 10K per pair MSRP but i’m flexible for the right product.  Would considered used.  Brands on my radar include: Revel, Monitor Audio (clear winner last time I did this, but wasn’t shopping quite as upmarket), Focal (maybe one notch down from Sopra?) Kef and maybe Paradigm. I’d really like to get feedback on people’s experience with these combo’s, and knowing what I’m favoring at least start in the right spot. I’m in a big metro area so should be able to find a dealer with most anything.

Thanks very much in advance.

EW
mtbiker29
Great post. Glad that you provided a lot details about your set up and what kind of sound you prefer.

Luxman is an excellent brand. I've heard some of their more expensive stuff before and I was impressed. Like you said, very little coloration and the ability to drive speakers with authority; quite convincingly without slowing down. These characteristics are typically trademark features in high-end made-in-Japan audio gear. 

Based on your personal preferences, I would go with Focal's -I've heard  the Sopra #3 and it is a technical masterpiece in terms of raw performance. Plenty of detail...instruments and vocals (especially female vocals) have that sharp bite - think Diana Krall and Roxanne Potvin. No part of the spectrum is recessed and they are very welcoming with expansive imaging (depending on the song/recording studio/microphones used) I was impressed. And it takes a lot to impress me.

If you're going for Focal, look for their speakers that use Beryllium or Magnesium. Above all, read plenty of reviews before you decide.

Japanese amplifiers tend to bring out the very best in any set up. 

Cheers and good luck! 
Thanks mastering92.  I forgot to mention that another goal would be a very wide sweet spot, which the dealer mentioned Focal was great at.  So much so that he turned speakers 45 degrees outward and they still sounded surprisingly good.  

If I were to move down the Focal line would you expect similar (albeit not quite as good) characteristics?  In other words are they pretty consistent?  

Thanks again!  
Have you heard the MA platinums???
Also, don't forget the room. :)
Have you looked at Tekton Moab?
I would look at a really good vintage american speaker made prior to 1981, it will play all the music that you like very well with no tradeoffs for the various types that you listen to.
@erik_squires I have not heard the MA platinums but would definitely consider them or even Gold, as they both have that tiger stripe finish that is gorgeous and a center speaker of reasonable size.  I'm definitely a believer in that brand. I am having an acoustics guy come over on Tuesday to survey my listening area and make suggestions.  

@noromance I hadn't heard of them, looks like only available online?  
Yes. There are a few threads here on them. Some say they best speakers 10 times the price due to their patented array. Worth a look.
Noromance is right. The MTM array is something a lot of people have a hard time understanding. Just read the comments on my system page- fantastic sound stage, awesome imaging, speakers totally disappear, seamless integration, on and on. The comments from people in the room are even better. One who travels around to hear a lot of very high end systems said Steely Dan was the best he ever heard it. This was before putting them on Townshend Podiums. They are much, much better now.  

Oh and at 98dB you can drive them with just about anything.  

Only real downside is having to wait a couple months for Eric to build em. Worth the wait. Well worth the wait.  https://systems.audiogon.com/systems/8367
My suggestion is, if you are going to audtion at home, do your room first. Then pick.

In general, the MA platinums are technical perfection.  As a result may be a tad more laid back than the Focals, which always have a little extra bite at the top to my ears. When auditioning, pay close attention to what volume you like to listen to each at.

Also, the tone controls on the Luxman are _outstanding_.  Don't be afraid to use them or the loudness switch to listen late at night. :)
The Focal Sopras are nice but will set you back $9500 ea. If you have a chance audition some Dali speakers like the Opticon 8 mkii or perhaps the Epicon 6 line.
Don't forget the lava lamp....

....would 2 be best with monoblocks....or just overkill? 😐
+1 for the MA platinums (I have the 300ii model).  Try the IsoAcoustic Gaia footers on them for even better sound and presence.  Robert Deutsch has great reviews of both in Stereophile.  Mine are driven by a Luxman m900u.
Some great suggestions within, thanks all.  

@basser-x not sure why I can't find a Dali dealer anywhere near CHI?  

@speakermaster I would welcome suggestions for vintage brands and models.  Klipsch and JBL seem to come up a lot.  

@millercarbon same as Dali, not sure how I would demo Moab?