Have you listened to anything from Vandersteen? Choosing speaker is 100% subjective and personal. All I can say is Vandersteen sound very different from B&W and I like the Vandy better (I own a pair of Vandy 5). You might want to give them an audition and see how you like or dislike them.
ProAc has always been my favorite. Based only on the brands I've actually heard. Many others I would go out of my way to demo if I were spending that much.
If you want something to fall in love with, try Sonus Faber in your price range, or Magnepan plus (optionally) quality subwoofers to extend the bass and pressurize bigger rooms. I have a modest pair of Maggie 1.7 and a pair of small subs to augment them and I'm really happy with the results.
Sonus Fabers have a seductive quality about them. They manage to have a low noise floor, high resolution, excellent power response, and yet always sound musical and never sterile or clinical. I heard a pair of $10K Cremona Ms powered by a $999 Marantz PM8004 integrated amp to great effect, so your Rotel MBs should sound fine with them.
Just curious, what don't you like about the tributes?
Ive heard great things about vandersteens but have no local AD. And i was able to goto CEDIA this past year and heard sonos fabre on mcintosh 600 watt monos and melted. What an amazing combination but at $30k its a little out of my price range. To add to the dilamne i sold my monos the other day at a profit so the budget is now higher but must include amps. Thought about doing the sonos fabre whatever they call the $10k ones with a mcintosh 200 watt integrated.... Ah the dilemna of high end audio...
And i love the tributes, they are truly a great value. Its just time for something a little higher end and exclusive.
Maybe i shoukd list my tributes and see what i get. No one has chimed in on what they're worth. To the die hard paradigm fan its as exclusive as you can get. The first pair is pretty cool especially because they've never done an anniversary speaker before. May be once in a lifetime purchase for the right person.
You have many great speakers to choose from. Like many, I've listened at length to lots of speakers such as, B&w 800 series, Paradigm , Vandersteen, Maggies, etc. Great stuff!
I want to add though that I wish I could afford and have your Tributes. I heard them a few months ago by chance when I was looking for a new integrated. After a couple hours I wanted to leave the dealer with those Tributes in the back seat! Good luck with your search.
WIth 500 w/ch amps (similar to BElCanto ref100m amps I use), definitely give www.ohmspeakers.com some consideration. You might save some considerable change in the end and end up with a top notch sound that is hard to beat.
In my case, in my largest room, I run the largest OHM Walshes with the on board tone adjustments to help tune them into most any room that they will fit. That is my reference system. I also run smaller OHMs, Dynaudio, and TRiangle speakers in other rooms and have run B&W, Magnepan, and other popular brands as well in the past.
What i really struggle with is in my area their are only two good dealers in town. Its not that i'm in a small town but this area is over run by box stores. My choices are b&w, totem, golden ear, paradigm, mcintosh, dyn, and focal. Thats it.
Ive owned all of these brands except golden ear and totem which i just dont like, and mcintosh because i dont have that kinf of coin.
Whats everyones opinion of mc speakers. Obviously their amps are awesome but ive only heard the $4k book shelf speakers. Any one heard their big boy stuff?
Suggest you look into large dual-concentric (DC) speakers in the Tannoy Prestige Series, e.g., 12 or 15 inch. IME, they are far better than any of the above-mentioned brands. I drive mine with 24 WPC SET monoblocks, but Prestige series are efficient and may be drive by 12 or 500 WPC.
Many discerning audiophiles eventually ascend to the realm of flea-powered single-ended triodes. Therefore, I advise you to invest in loudspeakers that are suitable for use with SET amplification. Such speakers are called 'keepers' and will remain highly-prized fifty years hence.
OHM is direct to customer with liberal audition period and return policy. Return shipping cost if does not work out would be only risk I think. A nice option for those with limited nearby choices geographically in particular.
Or shop carefully and buy used here on A'gon. As long as you do not overpay, you can always sell and move on.
Buying home audio new can be a risky proposition. You never know how things will work out for you in YOUR ROOM. If you do buy new, even from a local dealer, make sure returns and refunds are an option in case needed.
Gary ... same question as B_limo, what do you find deficient with the Tributes?? Like Samac, I heard them at a dealer and was quite surprised and greatly impressed. Although I think recommending speakers is a daunting task because of the shear number of excellent brands on the market, perhaps your response to B_limo's question, and mine too, will help others make recommendations.
Back to my dealer experience. I will not tell you the other brands I compared the Tributes with because I don't want to start another speaker war. But suffice to say the other models cost signficantly more and, IMO, if speakers could eat, the Tributes would have eaten the other brands' lunches. Even the dealer scratched his head after the shoot-out.
The Tributes are gorgeous speakers that sound as good as they look. I understand that Paradigm builds the cabinets in their Canada plant and hand buffs the finish. When I auditioned the Tributes, the dealer used hand mitts to move them around because he didn't want to smudge the finish.
As an aside, the tweeters used in the Tributes are similar to the tweets used in the Signature series -- both models use a beryllium dome. I own the Signature 8s. IMO, the S8s perform way above their price point. I thought the same about the Tributes.
The only question that goes through my head is how does Paradigm pack so much speaker into such a reasonably priced product.
Back to your other question about asking price. Paradigm's MSRP for the Tributes is $6000 for a pair. I would ask 75% of your cost and see what comes back.
FWIW, out of curiousity, I thought about checking out other speaker brands. I really don't know what to do. I have the same problem as most other folks. What brands to check out and where. And how to meaningfully compare brands if Dealer X carries speaker A and Dealer Y carries speaker B. To make meaningful comparisons even harder, the Deakers often drive the speakers with different gear in different rooms. Uuuggh -- forget it!! Too much like work.
I think the rotel 500w monoblocks were the weak link.
Gary, don't make a quick decision here. Make a well thought out game plan, and then wait a week. If its still the same game plan, move forward with it.
Those paradigms that you have are top notch speakers, in my oppinion. Totally different animals than paradigms studio series. I think there is alot of hidden potential with those speakers that you have not tapped into yet.
Give us a rundown of your complete rig. Room size, speaker placement, any room treatments ( diffusors, bass traps?), power conditioning, cables, source etc.
You sound like you have the same stores as I do. Are you in Colorado Springs? Interestingly, there are some very high end stores (if you can call them that) here that are in peoples homes and you would never know they were here unless you did some serious research and digging...
But again, those speakers sound absolutely fantastic, paired with the right equipment and set up properly.
If you tell us what city you're in, I bet someone here would come help you out with that...
Also, if you are trying to get 6k (?) for your speakers and you're looking at speakers that cost 10k-20k you have some money to throw at your rig. If you don't have some incredible components already like a wicked amp and pre amp, and a listening room with a lot of treatments, I'd do that.
And buy good equipment, used, at good prices and if you don't like it, you can easily get your money back...
I may be way off base here, and I don't know what components to recommend because I look at $1500 amps, not $5,000 amps, but it sounds like you aren't placing enough importance on the other pieces to the chain...
All really great responses guys, thank you... So my gear
Rotel rc1580 preamp
Rotel line conditioner
Audioquest columbia interconnects
Just sold my rotel rb1091 500 watt monoblocks
Audioquest rocket88 biwire speaker cables
Room WAS 10x12 with 3 kinetics accoustic panels and one accoustic innovations custom theater chair with electric recline and heat :)
The honest answer on why i want to replace the speakers is ive had them for a year and i want a new "toy".
The 4 3 way level adjustments on each of the big OHMs ($6500 pair list) provide 3^8 or 6561 different possible combos to help get them tuned into your room. That's a nice audio toy to play with. Sound great too. THe 500 w/ch Rotels would have been a nice match. :^)
Well Gary ... welcome to our crazy hobby. It's a merry-go-round from which you can't easily get off. Look, I'm not telling you *not* to flip the Tributes. I've been there and done it with lots of gear. Some flips worked out ok for me and other flips not so ok.
All I'm saying is that what the Tributes did to that other darling speaker brand was not pretty. And being a founding member of the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Amplifiers), I really felt badly for the other brand speaker. :(
Other members have advised folks about how to do system make-overs. So far the best advice I've read is to start with the speakers and match backwards. If you're close to any B&M stores, audition various speaker brands. Post your thoughts on A'gon. Even better, research other threads that may contain comments that are already posted.
Perhaps the best place to start even before doing all of that is tell us how much you want to drop on speakers. That will at least give the group an idea of the market niche you want to be in. Then, as I sugested, work backwards.
Last point, be mindful of speaker/amp electrical compatibility issues. The topic is complicated, but suffice to say, very important. One extreme example. I would not want to see you drop $10K on a top grade SET amp and then buy amp crushing speakers. That's when the SPCA is called in.
Good luck and let us know what you decide to do.
Gary ..., you posted that "[m]y choices are b&w, totem, golden ear, paradigm, mcintosh, dyn, and focal. Thats it.
Ive owned all of these brands except golden ear and totem which i just dont like ...."
Tell me about the B&Ws and Focals. These speakers have garnered some good comments. In particular, I am interested in your reactions about the Focals, especially the 1038 Be IIs. I ask about the 1038s because they have the beryllium tweeter which is a very special driver. I've seen some preowned Focal 1038s (v2) going for $8500 or so here on A'gon.
Can't comment much about B&Ws, other than to say that the higher end models can be amp crushers. Better have plenty of watts and currents, i.e., high quality SS amp.
That's all. I'll turn the floor over to you and the others.
Well, now we know what you have and why you want to replace the speakers, but you're still not telling us what specifically you're looking to improve upon or what aspects of sound reproduction are most important to you. Without that information our recommendations are not nearly as useful as they could be -- actually they could be counterproductive since the Paradigms are pretty good in their own right.
That aside, I think it's great you sold your amps as now you can buy amps/speakers that will compliment each other sonically and work well together functionally -- as it should be IMHO. And -- sorry to be so blunt -- I think you should sell your preamp too as it will be a significant weak link in your audio chain. Once you find the right amp/speakers it may be as simple as partnering a pre from the same maker as the amp, but maybe not.
Anyway, if I'm you and looking at this price level I'd suggest taking some good long road trips to hear speakers that are of interest. Again, telling us what characteristics are most important to you would be most helpful in letting us guide you to what might be worth travelling to hear. Or, alternatively, you can use the recommendations as guidelines as to what to buy used, and if they don't work out you can hopefully sell them at little or no loss if they don't significantly improve upon the Paradigms.
Frankly, since you're just looking for a change and seem hesitant to tell us what specifically you're looking for it makes me think you're not really sure of what you're looking for. If that's the case I'd seriously recommend taking some roadtrips to go listen to some well-regarded high-end speakers so you can start to find what really knocks your socks off. That would be better than any recommendations you're likely to get here. In any event, best of luck in your search.
In looking at the equipment you list, my personal feeling is that you'd be better off upgrading the preamp and amplifier before you give up on the speakers. Rotel is good stuff but not as nuanced as higher end equipment, and the speakers you have could probably let you hear the difference in the improved electronics. But what do you mean the room WAS 10 by 12? That's a small room, and I wonder if you can get the best out of any full-range speaker in a room of that size. Are you going to be using a new, larger room? If not, I think you might be best served using smaller speakers designed for smaller rooms (think stand-mounted monitors); that way the room isn't overloaded and you're not listening to speakers that are intended to be listened to at a distance of 10 feet or so. Just my $.02.
Firstly, Not trying to be mean at all, so please don't take it that way.
Secondly, I'm not real familiar with your gear.
With that being said, I'd change everything EXCEPT your speakers, chair and acoustic panels.
I'm sure someone else can better guide you on what to keep, but I'd fill the "I need something new and improved, bug" on a new amp (which you need), a better pre amp that pairs well with your new amp, and get different cables to match your new set-up...
I've switched out gear for a lateral move, or sometimes, for something I didn't like as much, and that feeling sucks. I hate it when I spend hundreds of dollars and drive hundreds of miles, only to end up with something that I didn't like as much.
Again, where do you live? Maybe someone here from the gon can help you out in person.
Again, thanks again for the great advice.
So yes the new room is much much larger. I dont know exactly but its in the 30ish by 20ish range and will be in the main room of my new house. Im looking for a focal point of the room and i'd like this to be it.
I owned the focal/jmlabs 936's and actually i really liked them. The downfall to the 936's is they were butt ugly. I had them in my living room and everyone that would come to my house commented that all they needed was orange surrounds on the woofers and they'd look like 1990's cerwin vegas.
Compared to the b&w cm9's i had its no comparison, and i really liked the cm9's until i heard the tributes haha. The tributes real value is that tweeter. Its so smooth and the cabinets are gorgeous, but i think i'd like something physically larger for this new space. I even debated on staying in the brand and going up to s8's but i owned a pair of sig s6 version 2's a few years ago at the same time i had the 936's and if you listened to them side by side youd pick the 936's every time. Now with the berylium tweeter its a different story.
I really appreciate the help but i think the suggestion to do a road trip and listen to some other brands is a great idea. In the mean time an audio buddy is going to let me borrow a vintage mcintosh mc275 and a krell 200 watt integrated to play with until i decide what i want to do. This should be interesting.
I'll keep everyone informed when i decide what i want. But if you see the tributes in the for sale section you'll know i bought something new and awesome.
Probably throw Revel in the mix...constantly been impressed with their models....plenty of price points