Honing down the speaker shortlist ~$5K

After 20+ years, it's time to replace my restored and very we'll-loved pair of Snell Type Es with something new. Aiming for a budget cap of ~$5k (likely used) I've narrowed it down to a short-list:

Harbeth Super HL5
Harbeth M30.1
Acoustic Zen Adagio
Vandersten 2ce signature

I've been able to audition the Harbeths at a dealer, but haven't heard them yet at home.
As for the others, I'll need to travel a bit to hear them so any input would be welcome.

My room is woody and old. It's 12x16x9 but opens through large archways on three sides to other rooms, each about 12' across. The speakers are currently at the closed end of the room, 3' from the side walls, 4' out from the back walls and 8' feet from the seating position. I listen to jazz, folk, alternative and a little classical. Primarily vinyl. Nothing that requires floor shaking bass. I live in a multi-family building and try to keep the neighbors happy.

For power I'm using a Creek 5350se integrated at 80w per channel. This is prime for a future upgrade, but one thing at a time. The rest of my system should be visible in my profile. 

I'm looking for something that resolves well without being overly analytical, yet retains the openness that I've always enjoyed with the Snells. The Harbeths seem to fit that bill, though the 30.1s sounded a little closed-in at the dealer audition. The 5s were much better in that regard, though struck me as a bit recessed.

Thanks for the advice.
It's a wonderful resource to have the collected wisdom exhibited on this forum!

Might want to check out the Legacy Audio Classic HD.  The ribbon tweeter may offer the openness you are looking for.

I would take a serious look / listen to the Spendor D7. This speaker has been reviewed a lot. You don't see it come up on the used market a lot, but it still does on occasion. Would work well with your current amp.
If your looking for an amp down the road I think it would pair up to the Primaluna Dialogue Premium or a Rogue Integrated well (both lines are high value). The speakers are 89-90 sensitivity, rated at a nominal 8 ohms.  I have included (below) a link for  a pair currently listed on usaudiomart 

New D7 for sale at Gene Rubin Audio on line store. $5,995.00; considerable discount from MSR

I am a Vandy nut for many decades. For a room that size, I would go for the Quattro, though you would/should get a better amp, too.
Otherwise, a more efficient speaker like Zu would be a way to go.
Any ProAc below $5K. Love my studio 148 towers. Plus the exchange rate is good now.  Maybe not the 140s. 
I heard the new D9 by Spendor and was really impressed. One of the top rooms at RMAF regardless of price IMO. I had never heard this brand, however, they really caught my attention. I can only assume the D7 is a slightly smaller version of the D9.

I heard Harbeth and enjoyed the Spendor significantly more.
What about an Audio Note AN/E? Great sounding speaker not sure what the new price is but they come up used in your price range from time to time. And the direct descendant of your current Snell E's.
I have similar preferences in music / sound... and... I've tried / owned a number of superb speakers, several of which I still have.  

The ones I've found to have sound to rival the best at any price in your price range (actually below) are the WaveTouch Grand Tetons, which have recently been upgraded to the Antero's.  

See the reviews on the web site:  http://www.wavetouchaudio.com/products.html

For my money that's what I would get - they will rival any of those you noted, and exceed most of them.  
Thanks for all the responses.

Spendor has been on my radar, but are difficult to listen to in the New England area since dealers for them are very thin on the ground.  Perhaps they'll be at the New York Audio Show. They certainly have a better WAF than Harbeth. I'm discovering that there's very little love for replacing big black boxes with newer black boxes on stands!

As for Audio Note, they've always intrigued me because of their Snell lineage, but I can't help wondering if I'm just moving to a slightly better version of the same thing. Also, corner placement isn't ideal in my room. On the other hand, they're represented in MA along with JM Reynaud. Both would be worth a listen.


since Vandersteen is on your list, I would be remiss, if I did not mention the Thiel CS 2.4 loudspeaker. Both designs use a 1st order crossover, completely different in sound and presentation. Thiel is a nice match for your Creek integrated. My 1st taste was a Creek integrated and the CS 2.4, very musical indeed.
These have a 30 day in home trial! 
@krabbypantz trust me Audionote AN/E will crush your Snells and corner placement isn't mandatory. If you have a chance to give them a listen you should my next pair of speakers will be Audio Notes for sure.
Without any hesitation the Jim Salk Designed Bud Fried Towers.
Please note the Review Dick Olsher did was in stock form- Crossover Solen capacitors.I bought the Upgraded option, much better  Mundorf Supreme caps
This 2nd order transmission line speaker 45H X 8.5W X14D 
The drivers are all very do is quality midbass drivers Peerless-Denmark 
And tweeter the Excellent Hiquphon ex Scan speak designer 
These tweeters are pair matched to under 1/2 dB per pair Very musical and accurate. The key here is getting the best Capacitors you can afford it us a very 
Easy load only 3 capacitors in the signal path. Upgrading to the Mundorf Silver gold oil for the midrange tweeter, and Munforf Supreme for the Bass transforms 
This speaker will easily go toe to toe with any $8k speaker. Great realism and Pratt and solid bass to 35hz if you need lower buy a JL aufio definition 10 sub for  $1k then you havd a full range speaker. On its own very good for  $4500
With this capacitor upgrade is a no Brainer and comes with outriggers.
BTW ,the rest of this series Xover has the Excellent Jantzen Copper inductors
And Mils or Mundorf Supreme resistors. With these caps get the Supreme resistors for the extra $1k  upgrade Transformation is the only way to describe this .read the review and add 15% across the board in detail and refinement .
I have been doing this for over 35 years and have done many mods Trust me on this one .it blew my Revel F-208 speakers  away.sold and gone !!
I will second the mention of Vandersteen Quatro's.  I owned them for 5 years, running them in my 11.25' x 15' x 8' room, and when I spent the time to dial them in using their powered subwoofer 11 band equalizer (huge advantage IME), they worked extremely well.  Yes, as the previous poster noted, they will tempt you to upgrade your amp (and will reward you for it!).  Under $5k used, for sure.
I'd wait for a pair of used Joseph Audio Pulsars or go listen to the Prisms if you have a JA dealer within reach.  I'd think either would nicely check all your boxes.  Best of luck. 

Build the Linkwitz LX521 or Orion systems.  You can readily do it within your budget.  You'll get a loudspeaker system to rival ANYTHING.   Absolutely killer.  Great imaging.

AND it's a LOT more fun than just wandering down to the audio salon and listen to some droid play on your ego while he tries to get you to spend $10k instead of $5k.  And you'll learn a lot more too.

Check out some used Thiel 2.7s or the 2.4 se.  Both great speakers if you have good upstream equipment.  You might look for a pair of used Vandersteen Treos.
I owned the M30.1s and found them ok.  I get the attraction but there's way too much emphasis on the high mid to treble which results in a distracting attention to detail.

I went back to my first love, Quads.  You can get a fully rebuilt set of quads from Quads Unlimited for less than 5k.  Or get a pair of 63s for even less.  The sound is so much more balanced and just right compared to box speakers.
I’m with malthuse on that. My first love was also the Quads - ESL 63.
Particularly for the type of music you listen to. They don’t blow you away with huge dynamics or etched in glass detail, they just present a very wide and deep stage of convincingly real music - strings, horns, vocals and piano just sound right. After many very nice box speakers, I’ve settled, for now, on a pr. of Magnapan 1.7s driven by a Rouge integrated tube amp. Like with the Quads, I find myself, once again, just enjoying the music. Hopefully I will some day upgrade to the Maggie 3.7is, or another set of Quads but for now am very happy with the little 1.7s with a sub.
Good luck with your quest.
After the fact... but...if you insist on spending $5000+/-...

Must agree with these last posts.

The Quads are very special for acoustic music - very real, live Sound - especially, the recent, modified 57's.

And... very little, if anything, sounds better than the Linkwitz LS521's or Orion's... at any price.

But, if not... then the Wavetouch Audio Grand Teton's / Antero's are the "giant killers."

In my experience Harbeth 7-3ES conected to Croft amp with Magnan signature is a match made in heaven.
I have a nice set of Thiel SC6's for sale with a Bryston 4BST amp. I also have three Tannoy S6LCR's to complete a surround system if it's your goal to have a dual role system, Velodyne sub also if you want it. $5,000 for all. Can deliver in New England, NY, NJ or PA. (I'm new here, apologies if this is in the wrong section)
Have you considered going to a 300B SET amp and Tonian Labs Classic 12.1 S speakers?  There's a pair for sale on AG for $5,200 now.  For the music you listen to, this would be an incredible sound.  Very fast, articulate, good solid bass.  At an efficiency of 97db it should easily fill up your room with sweet, quality sound.
Listen to the Aerial Acoustic line of speakers.

5t are the bookshelf. You'll never think about new speakers again. I have them with a JL Audio sub and a Primaluna dialogue HP.  Real music not embellished like many speaker companies that I had to get through until I found Aerial.
I spent a long time demoing in the $5000-$7500 ballpark and went with the Vandersteen 3A Sigs, and really glad I did.  The 2CE Sigs on your short list are excellent too, but I thought the midrange was more lifelike in the 3A.  This is all a matter of taste, so pick what you love and enjoy it. 
Another option for your consideration


From its maker

Good Listening


The shortlist is getting substantially longer...
Thanks for the many suggestions.

Any love out there for the Harbeth SHL5?  WAF aside, they hit a bit of a sweet spot. If you close your eyes you can almost imagine Quads. Very smooth and extended. And it's not like you would need to place your head in a vice to fully appreciate them.
Early in the process I listened to a pair of Audio Physics Tempos. They had a pleasant warmth, lots of detail, and imaged like crazy. That was the problem, they imaged all over the room. It took quite a lot of playing around to get a believable, natural soundstage.

To my ears, part of what attracts me to Harbeth, and my original Snells, is that they don't do magic tricks. They present the music in a very natural way and they're forgiving of some of the ills of room and amplification. My guess is that Spendor, Audio Note and Vandersteen would be in the same vein.
Lots still to listen to....

You should check out the Spatial Hologram M3's. Amazing detail, incredible midrange, tight punchy bass.. Decidedly open baffle airy feel with the ability bother the neighbors if need be. Great audition policy and around 2k.. Amazing speaker compared to many at much higher prices... 
The shortlist is getting substantially longer...
Thanks for the many suggestions.

Eventually every speaker ever made under 5k will show up here . Good luck with this !
I had Vandersteen 2c's for some time (after upgrading from DCM Time Widows) but after a long comparison (5 rainy months in Portland, oregon nearly all time after 6pm spent listening), I finally decided to sell them and keep the Magneplanars (1.5QR).

Maggies were not better in every way but I finally decided that they were enough better in some important ways to switch.

So I would add some Maggies to your list, tho I hate to lengthen it...
I have Vandersteen 2CE Sig II speakers and Magnepan MMGs. I like them both. I think $5K would buy the 3A Sig or the Magnepan 1.7i. Both these speakers are very good. With jazz, acoustic and vocals they are truly great. I would try to listen to these speakers. Also the Vandersteen and Magnepan need room to breathe and do much better with quality power....moreso with the 1.7i. With the Vandersteen placement is crucial and so is the tilt. I try to keep the speakers at least 10ft apart. Mine are about 12-14 feet apart.

For now I am running a Line Magnetic Audio 216i push, pull tube amp for the Vandersteen speakers and a Parasound A21 for the MMGs. I also use both a Benchmark and Schiit DAC.

As a coincidence I used to own Snell E5 speakers as well. The 2CEs are really more refined and much better although the Snell speakers were very good.

The last bit of info I can share is that the Vandersteen really shine bright with good source material and quality electronics.

Before you decide, take a look at the Spatial Audio M3. I heard the smaller M4 and was quite taken by them. On the plus side, they're comfortably below your spending point.

All the best,