help narrowing down my list of speakers, $2500

Hi, I will be buying some speakers shortly. I will have them paired with an Odyssey dual mono amp (plenty of power), Tempest (Odyssey) preamp, Ridge Street Audio interconnects and speaker cable, and an Audio Aero Prima cd player. Also I will be adding a sub soon, so bass shouldent be the deciding factor here. I have a small room (12' x 12') and my budget is $2500. I went to listen to some B&W's at the dealer and like what I heard from the Naut. 804's. Wide soundstage, clear, detailed, musical. Im looking for speakers like that. I usually listen to rock (old and new) so I want speakers that can handel that. My choices so far are:
-Sonus Faber
-Aerial Acoustics
-Tyler Acoustics

Any you think I should add to that list? Suggestions on what to take off? Thanks

Add Von Sheickert and Soliloguy to the last and take a few weeks to track down and listen to all the speakers on your list. That's the best way to find something that fits your taste. We all have different rooms, opinions, listening experience and hearing.

Good luck,
Just so you know (this will sound stupid, because its something everyone wants) I want the most "real" sound I can get for my rock. A speaker with great seperation and depth. One that will grip my soul (emotionally involving)
If you could get a pair of the Aerial Acoustics 7b's at your price I would jump on them.
Also, Von Schweikert and Tyler Acoustics would be a good choice, among others.
Best Regards
You may be missing the best of the bunch: Focus Audio FS688. List $2990 but can be had for around $2500.

An article in YK Audio in Hong Kong stated they thought they were possibly the best bookshelf speaker ever made.
I have a speaker for you to checkout. It's a bit more than the $2500 but you may get lucky and find a pair at a discount or used. It's called the Genelec HT208B. It is already actively biamped. So you do not need the amplifier(you could sell yours). Just hook up your preamp or cd player with volume control and you are ready. It has all sorts of adjustments on the rear.It can be tweaked to sound good in nearly any room because of this.This speaker can hit 120db peaks. It has a 120 watt amplifier for the 8 inch driver and a 120 watt amplifier for the 1 inch tweeter. Don't let the HT fool you. A friend and I including the dealer listened to this speaker up against dynaudio 1.4SE hooked up to MC1201s( Mcintosh 1200 wpc monoblocks). The Genelecs spanked that ass!! I believe they retail for $4800.00 a pair. This is the brand used in many recording studios. The sound is uncoloured, precise and the soundstage is huge!!Rock sounded absolutely fabulous on these speakers. Come to think of it everything did. Hunt them down and have a listen before you narrow your choices down.

Good Luck!
Hmm, I was really looking at floorstanders. As for those bi-amped speakers, no thanks. I like being able to alter the sound of the speakers by using different amps, that part of the fun of audio.

Check out Audes The Blues speakers. 2200.00 new you can find them cheaper used. Check out the reviews on
Good listening

Hello Jamiec001,

I have the same taste in music as you and I love my Jean Marie Reynaud Trentes. They will do everything you've discribed above and more. They are so good, they will also help you appreciate many other types of music, as they've done for me. Since I've had these speakers in my system, my cd collection has more then doubled. The new, to me, artists include Roxy Music, Bill Frisell, Ryan Adams, Michael Buble, Thomas Dolby, Junior Wells, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jennifer Warnes, Howlin' Wolf, Kenny Burrell and the list continues to grow. I've always been a big rock fan, Led Zep, The Who, Jimi, The Doors. I also love what is now considered alternative, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, SoundGarden, Janes Addiction, et all. You mentioned you will be adding a sub, these speakers also work very well with the pair of Rel Strata IIIs I've matched them with. These speakers have really helped me appreciate my system and the music much more then I used to........John
I like Audio Physik and Meadowlark (pre-owned) in your range, and Verity Audio out of it, even second-hand ;o)

Oooh, you're gonna have fun listening to all that. Let us know what you find out, if you get the chance.
Well good luck anyway! I would not put floorstanders in a 12x12 room can turn into a real headache.I suppose that's also a part of the fun..finding out when something doesn't work.Been there done that. The sound can be altered by just changing preamps or tubes in a preamp on any system regardless of the amplifier used. That's what tubes are made for.

Have Fun!
That is a small room. I saw a pair of Dynaudio 25's for $2500 today on audiogon. I love Dyn's.
good responses. Any that I should eliminate off my list? That just arent up to par with the others?

Hi Jamie. Don't like bookshelves? No problem. I think your confusing biwiring (2 sets of speaker posts) with biamping (2 amps). Because you can use any single amp you want with the speakers I mentioned.

I do have some input though. My room is similar to yours 12x13, I listen primarily to rock and love a wide and deep soundstage.

This is my opinion only for what thats worth.

You can scratch Sonus Faber, Vienna Acoustic, Spendor and Vandersteen. More laid back type of speakers that do better with jazz and acoustic. Wouldn't normally be a first choice for some one who likes rock.

Merlin floorstanders ($10,000 new) unless there much older models are going to cost well above your budget.

Not sure, read some reviews, but I don't think the Silverline or Dali are really speakers one would associate with rockers.

Avalon, PMC and Ariel Acoustic I'm not familiar with.

The Tylers, B&W and Totems though can do rock and these IMO would be some good ones to check into.

There is a problem though.

First. A 12x12 foot room along with floorstanders is not usually a good mix. I figured by your post since you will be adding a sub you would be going with the bookshelf/sub combo that most use in a small room.

You will probably run into some bass response problems using a floorstander in a small room adding a sub may complicate this matter further.

Second if you want a big wide and deep soundstage the speakers are going to have to be well away from the wall. The rear of the speakers probably 30" or more from the back wall.

Third if positioned correctly for a large soundstage. The front baffle is going to be around 4 feet from the rear wall. This will put you about 6-7 feet from the speakers. If you do this you will need to probably look at a 2 way speaker. 3 ways, which many floorstanders are, are going to typically run into integrationg problems at such a near field listening situation.

Fourth and don't be insulted. But by your posts I think you might be new to high end audio and need to do some additional research before shelling out $2500 clams. You may come to the same conclusion that many have reached. A bookshelf, that can be moved away from the wall for listening, along with a subwoofer works better in a small room then a floorstander.

Best Wishes Maxx
I am using a pair of Silverline Sonata II speakers (and the Prima CDP as well) in a room that is 2' larger than yours in each direction. I use them primarily for rock: Tool, Soundgarden, XTC, Catherine Wheel, Jeff Buckley, etc. I bought them for a few hundred under your price ceiling, and I am done looking around. They are phenomenal.

Many of the speakers on your list are superb. I agree as well with those that Maxxc suggested to scratch off your list. All, except the Silverline. No matter what amp I've heard with the Silverline (or Soliloquy) speakers, they sound fantastic. Tubes, hybrid, or SS work well with both of these speaker lines. And with the Sonata II, you will NOT need a sub.

The key is the synergy between the amp and speakers, and some of those on your list will be more finicky than others when it comes to that synergy. Let your ears be the judge.

All the best,
You can't leave out the Gallo Reference III, at just $100 above your budget.
Let me guess..It will take you 5 more years to get the right speaker based on the list that you have.
Gallo Reference 3!! Gallo Reference 3!! Gallo Reference 3!! The most amazing speakers I have heard in the last 10 years: superb imaging, very quick on transients, awesome soundstage. You *owe* it to yourself to audition these wonderful speakers.

Of your listed brands so far, my personal favorite would be Totems. However, in that price range, with a bit of negotiating, you should be able to get some really good offerings from either Thiel or ProAc, both of which do a good job on rock (and pretty much everything else), IMHO.

One other consideration that would save you some money would be NHT ST-4's. They retail for about $1,000, but I was extremely impressed with them, and it is my belief that they best many speakers in the $2,500 price range. I certainly prefer them to B&W's, but then again, I have never really been a fan of B&W's (as you can probably tell, given that I like Thiel, ProAc, Totem, and NHT).

On the used market, a pair of Thiel CS3.6's make for one heck of a bargain. That's what I have in my system. I drive them with a pair of amps costing about four times what I paid for the speakers (Theta Enterprises), and to my ears, the 3.6's are worthy of just about any gear you would put upstream of them. Of course, 3.6's in a 12 x 12 room... probably not a good idea. 2.4's might be awefully nice, though.
Yep, Boa2 wasn' sure about the Silverlines. I know I had the SR17's at the top of my list when looking for a bookshelf. If I hadn't got such a good deal on the FS688's I'd probably have the SR17's now.

I know the SR17s can do Bach or Rock. The name "Sonata II" and some of the other names SL uses on their floorstanders, made me wonder if they wern't maybe voiced different.

I agree if you are going to get floorstanders in a 12x12 room, why not get something that goes deep enough and eliminate the sub.

Best Wishes Maxx
I was in your situaiton and I was considering many in your list... I might settle with JM Lab this time.

This is widening your choice rather than narrowing down but,
You might want to consider Soliloquys and Von Schweikerts

Von Schweikerts Jr4 can be pick up at pretty good price these days!
Totally agree, Maxx, about the sub. I had a pretty nice one, but in a small room it never seemed to sound as blended as when the speaker itself had all of the bass duties. And the Sonata II's are astounding in that regard--from Bach to Rock, as you say. I've never heard drums sound so airy, and the tuning signatures of the drum heads is unmistakable.

Jamie c001, For around $1300, you can get a pair of Soliloquy 6.3 speakers.
You'll shake your head and wonder how they can sound so good at that price. And again, you won't need a sub. Go out and listen to as much as you can, or buy something, or you could (as Audiomax suggested) spend the next 5 years narrowing your long list.
All the best,
Hurry up, somebody just posted today a pair of Dynaudio Contours 3.4 for $2595.
Ok, so, I can get a floorstander with a lot of bass and not need a subwoofer, a floorstander that focuses on mids and highs and is 2-way, like the Tyler Acoustics Taylo, or monitors and a sub. I hear Vandersteen can rock?? so I am keeping it on the list, heres what im down\up to
-Aerial Acoustics
-Dali -1
-Gallo Refrence
-Von Schweikert
-Tyler Acoustics
Merlin VSM-M I can afford, and have upgraded to VSM-MM. Any I actually added more to the list, I need to know what to take off.........Any companies better than others?
Oh yeah and dali isint supposed to be on that list.
I'll suggest Von Schweikert VR2's....I am trying a pair in my room at present, also small and square at 14 x 14.

I'm enjoying my rock again thru the VR2's, and they are very capable for jazz and classical, if those are your bag at all. They have a BIG soundstage, and are very transparent, detailed and on the warm side of neutral.

My wife really likes them too....(:

Good luck,
You need to spend less time on Audiogon and more time listening to speakers. Do you have any idea how differently each of the manufacturers approach speaker design? Until you narrow your scope down to 2 or 3 specific speakers (not manufacturers), there will be more noise than signal in this thread.
Gershman Acoustic Avant Garde RX 20's. No sub needed - great sound - great looks. Retail for 4300 or so and can be gotten used for your budget. You will not be sorry.
Jamie c001,

Once you've tried everything on your list, we expect an expansive review!
Evita/ I think he or she is doing a preliminary research.

He or she need to narrow down a bit on his or her list based on the paper research, then can go and listen those narrowed down list of maybe 3-5 choices. Cerntainly can't listen all of them

That's what I did and am doing for my gears.

Narrowed it down to speakers...Here ya go

-Dynaudio Contour 2.8\Contour 1.8mkII\Audience 82
-Avalon Avatar
-Focus Legacy\FS 688
-Totem Forest\Hawk\Staff
-Vandersteen 3A Signautre
-Aerial Acoustics
-Soliloquy 6.3
-Theil CS 2.4
-Gershman Avant Garde RX-20
-Anthony Gallo Refrence III
-Silverline Sonata II
-Von Schweikert VR4-JR
-Tyler Acoustics Taylo 7U\Taylo Refrence II
-B&W Nautalis 804****Not planning to buy, just using for refrence
-JM Reynaud Offrande
Eandylee you are exactally right, I need to narrow down this list a lot.
Also ProAc response D15 on that list.
I think it's time you opened Jamie's Audio Shop. Wait! I just saw on your System page that you are only 14. Is that true? And to think I wasted all that time at Little League, when I could have had more than an 8-track player. You rock!
How about the Soliloquy 5.3i's?

More choices - more noise.

Already on the list. Yeah im 14. heh, this list is never going to get smallllllerrrrrrrrrrrrrr, gaaaaah. Someone, tell me on the list what you think sucks. If anyone flames you I will beat them up. lol.
Hey Jamiec001,

I've been told by the distributor of Jean Marie Reynaud that the Offrand, while being a very solid speaker, does not possess the magic of the Trentes. I would also urge you to heed the warnings about floorstanding/full range speakers in a small room. It's a very tricky thing to set them up and get the sound right........John
Soo scratch the JM Reynaud?
Jamie if you haven't already done so you might want to go to Do a keyword search and you will find many, many professional reviews of the speakers on your list.

Also you might want to check out These are reviews from actual owners of the speakers.

Two speakers you can scratch off your list are the Avante Garde RX20 and Tyler Reference II's. I've checked into both and they are great speakers but are simply not going to work well in a small room. The other Tyler you mentioned the 7U may be a good possiblilty though, being a slim floorstander thats front ported.

Suprised the Vandersteens are still on your list of rockers. They have a rep of being very laid back and a touch sedate.

None the less do some more research to narrow down the list to no more then 3 or 4. Then come back and you could probably get the input you need to find the one your looking for.

Best Wishes Maxx
Hmmm, I heard vandys can rock, thats why I kept them. And the Avante Garde, people use that in a small room all the time with great results from what I hear. But I will scratch off that Tyler Refrence II.
By the way, thank you Maxxc, youve been the most helpful person in my research so far. :)
Hey Jamiec001,

No, don't scratch the JMRs, just the Offrands. The Trentes are the speakers to audition from there line, for your needs. I would also scratch the Silverline Sonata II, more for Jazz and small scale classical. The VR-4 Jrs, I think, are a bit to big for your space. The same for the PMC OB-1s, although I've never heard them, I've done a lot of research on them and they are supposed to be capable of very high output, but need space to breathe. I hope this helps......John
I agree, and I am voting for Maxxc as class president. In fact, if Maxxc is available for the next four years, I'm writing him in on the national ballot.

All kidding aside:
Based on your list, if you are going with floorstanders (my preference), I would spend all of $1300-1500 for a pair of Soliloquy 6.3's. I was a professional musician for over ten years, and my experience with the Soliloquy line is that they sound like the amp that feeds them. And they are the most non-fatiguing speaker I have heard. Finally, every person who ever heard them in my system--no matter what speakers they favored--said one word about the Soliloquy's: natural. I have the Silverline Sonata II, and absolutely love them, but they could potentially overpower your room. For $1300-1500, you're set. Spend the rest of your money on romantic CD's and dinners for the girl who melts at the sound of Metallica on your stereo.

All of the other speakers mentioned are superb, but I personally think they will require additional effort to obtain the best amp/speaker synergy, and some of them (as Maxxc mentioned) will not serve your intended purpose.

If you are going with monitors + sub, I think others here would have more useful feedback than I would.

Unless you want to spend a lot of time 'figuring this out', that's my 2 cents, for what it's worth.

All the best,

If you're ever in the Sacramento area, I invite you to come on by and have a listen to Tool/Soundgarden/Kings X on our Sonata II's. In fact, we only use them for rock. I think they might overpower Jamiec001's room--and Alan Yun (Silverline's head honcho) might be shocked--but Alice in Chains never sounded better IMO.
All the best,
Well I hear JMR's can not rock compared to the likes of Totem and Dynaudio. So im scratching them. Narrowed the list down to this, paired with Naim electronics all around:
-Dynaudio Contour
Forest\Hawk\Staff\Mani 2
-Silverline Sonata II
-Anthony Gallo
Refrence III
-Tyler Acoustics
Taylo 7U
-Rega R9
-Sp Technology
-Living Voice
I wouldn't scratch the VR-4JRs off your list just yet, if fact they are my personal favorites and should definately be heard!
That being said I've only heard a few of the speakers on your list, obviously the VR-4JRs... also the Dynaudio, Totem, Tyler & the Gallo Reference III.
The Gallo's would be a very close second and maybe even first on my short list. If you dig the looks of these speakers you're going to love the sound they produce!
One more suggestion, listen to any speaker from VMPS!

Hearing is believing...
You will almost certainly hate this post. However, the VMPS Ribbon Monitor IIs would absolutely lunch every member of your shortlist with rock music. They have the bass extension and dynamic impact of speakers many, many times their price, without the indistinct soundstage, iffy imaging, and honkiness of most members of this species. No sub needed, btw. Shockingly good, if hard to find.
Jamie thanks for the kind words. What do you have to listen to besides the B&W? Near any big city you could hit and do some weekend auditions.

I know the more I looked the more my list grew. All and I do mean all seemed to have their fans and critics. as mentioned before was very helpful. When you get multiple owners reviewing the same speaker you will find a certain consitency of strenghts and weaknesses. This should give you a perty good idea if the speaker is really suitable for your application.

Once you get it down to 3 or 4 any of them would probably be a very good choice.

In my own case my list grew to 16 possible canidates at one time. Finally got it down to 4 then decided whichever one of them came availble for a good price would be my choice.

Best Wishes Maxx
Add Usher Audio 6371's to your list.$about $2600 with some 15% off retail which is common. The 6381's are awesome, but may have too much bass for your room. See for their lineup. (6 series.)
Hey Jamiec001,

I don't know who told you that the JMRs don't rock, because they are dead wrong. I've had these speakers for almost two years now and they rock with the best of them. As a matter of fact the speakers I owned before these were Dynaudio 1.3 MkII, and as soon as my wife and I heard the Trentes, I put the Dyn's up for sale. I found the Dyn's a bit too laid back for my taste. Believe me, with the music I listen to, including Metallica, Iron Maiden, Disturbed, Linkin Park, AC/DC and Kid Rock, these speakers rock........John