In that price range I'd be tempted by the Martin Logan Motion 60XTs which are being closed out at $2K/pair, originally $3K/pair. That is, if you want new speakers with well-rounded capability.
I compared them to KEF R11s and they certainly kept up. High end clarity from these MLs is class-leading without being harsh.
There are countless options in the pre-owned market. You'd need to provide more details regarding your listening needs/preferences if you want useful suggestions -- what type of music you listen to, how loud, and what traits you prefer over others, i.e. do you value dynamics over insight, or bass depth over transparency? Also, how large is the space and do you have placement flexibility?
I have heard the Monitor Silver series and was really impressed they didn't cost more. Good luck on your search, I am doing the same and have been for a while. My psychiatrist says to buy headphones and call it a day, but she streams MUZAK so I didn't buy into her suggestion:)
In your spot if buying new I would also go for the ML 60XT. A bargain with good low end you are looking for. Used market is great if you have time to shop.
Vandersteen 2CE Sig II's. Great match with Belles amps and still one of the great speaker bargains in Audio.
I recently bought a used pair of Synchrony One's (towers) that I really like. They fit the price target used, I was able to listen to mine locally. Low frequency response is good, rated at 30Hz +/- 3db with some nice low distortion specs. Best of all, they sound great.
But, the ML 60XT's may a compelling case for a new full range at a similar price - and I liked them in the showroom too.
Check out the Revel F36. Has the punch and clarity that you are looking for.
Might check out Fyne Audio if any dealers in your area have them.
My dad has a pair of ML 60XT towers and they are great sounding speakers. I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone. At the current $900/each clearance price they are a great value.
That being said, I have a pair of Revel Performa F208 towers I picked up used and they are superior. The Revels certainly have more low end and image better (at least in my mind). The Revels will probably be closer to $3000 used for a pair but it would be money well spent (imo). Good luck with whatever you decide.
check out the wharfdale evo 4.4 $2k
I recently bought a second hand but immaculate pair of Martin Logan Vantage. They would fit your price range and for me they have it all. Bass aplenty, incredible dynamics but best of all the three dimensional soundstage..its the closest thing I've heard to live music. If you haven't auditioned electrostatics then you really should
To answer helomech's suggestion for additional information: my musical tastes are very broad; from classical, jazz, blues, rock, folk to old school country. Insofar as loudness, I would like a defined, well balanced soundstage at lower volume and maintain that soundstage in those moments higher volume madness. Doesn't everyone? As far as bass is concerned, I should clarify I don't need a ton of bass at a cost to transparency, which I'm not exactly sure how to qualify, and dynamics. The dedicated listening room is a rectangle, 15w' x 20'l x 9'h with preferred speaker placement along the 15' wall, hardwood floors with a 9' x 12' area rug.
To those who suggested Martin Logans, I did audition a pair against B&W's, neither model do I remember (in the $2.5K new range), and I liked the ML's more. But to be fair, the salesperson at my local Magnolia just didn't have a clue as to how to run the source for either, so I left disappointed. I also listened to a Pair of Paradigm Prestige 85F that were very nice but over my budget. That shop was nearly as dysfunctional as Magnolia. I've yet to find a good audio shop in my area, Sarasota, FL, but would hope to find one or two in Tampa. That said, my ability to audition is really limited. The Vandersteens, Revels and others are worth investigating on all of your suggestions, which I greatly appreciate.
The Quad S-5 is one the best speakers I have ever heard ,2700$ MSRP and better than any I've heard in 5-7 K range .
No faults .
Thanks schubert. I've yet to hear any of the past or present Quad lineup and doubt I'll be able to in my area. But I'll do some searching.
i highly recommend buying used. i can suggest the following . also don’t diss a subwoofer. i very much like b&w smallish subs. i think that you can purchase the following used in your price range.
magnepan 1.7i if you have enough juice but that’s usually overstated
revel F206 the overall quality for the money is mind bending great buys used
b&w 700s2 series fairly high tech with new drivers that have really improved them. harder to find used.
just looked and i think the b&w 704s2 floorstander would make you very happy. list is 3k new so w a 15% or so discount you’d be in budget.
Salk SongTowers, sold factory direct, new at your price...
Salk Song Towers would be awesome! Electric blue curly maple, or some crazy finish!
Beautiful looking and sounding speakers!
fwiw the b&w will hold value as well.
To answer helomech’s suggestion for additional information: my musical tastes are very broad; from classical, jazz, blues, rock, folk to old school country. Insofar as loudness, I would like a defined, well balanced soundstage at lower volume and maintain that soundstage in those moments higher volume madness. Doesn’t everyone? As far as bass is concerned, I should clarify I don’t need a ton of bass at a cost to transparency, which I’m not exactly sure how to qualify, and dynamics. The dedicated listening room is a rectangle, 15w’ x 20’l x 9’h with preferred speaker placement along the 15’ wall, hardwood floors with a 9’ x 12’ area rug.
Well the desire for dynamics at low volume should rule out the Vandys IMO.
You’ll want a speaker witn fairly high sensitivity, a factor which I find has a strong correlation to low-spl dynamics. You should seek out an audition of the Klipsch RP-8000Fs. No, not kidding. Yes they’re relatively inexpensive but Klipsch has a big advantage in their economy of scale. Generally, you’ll want to look for speakers of at least 88db sensitivity. Another to consider is a pre-owned pair of Zu Soul Supremes.
wonder what jbl reissues sound like. the concept is cool
Tyler Linbrook signature system. Used ones come at 2K or under. D2 and D20 will be upper 2k.
I'll research these suggestions tomorrow. Someone suggested I look into Quads. He said they don't use an active woofer but rather a passive radiator style. A speaker cone but no coil. Does that minimize bass response for the benefit of those who want less bass and more mids and highs?
There’s a nice pair of Joseph Audio RM25 Signature lls available at US AudioMart for $1200 that are local pickup only in the Orlando area. They are excellent all-around speakers and well worth the drive to go listen to if possible, and I think they’d sound superb with your Rogue pre and Belles amp. Best of luck in your search.
soix...Thank you but I couldn't find them there.
@axspike — Go to Hifishark.com and punch in Joseph Audio and you should see them.
You have a great dealer in Palm Beach for Vandersteen and other notable brands and you could decide for yourself how they sound.
The Revel recommendation is a good one also, Buddy has a pair w EL34 amp, quite good.
I’ll research these suggestions tomorrow. Someone suggested I look into Quads. He said they don’t use an active woofer but rather a passive radiator style. A speaker cone but no coil. Does that minimize bass response for the benefit of those who want less bass and more mids and highs?
Some Quads have passive radiators in addition to their conventional woofers. The design is intended to augment the bass in a fashion similar to a port. The passive radiator is a concept intended to blend bass-reflex-like efficiency with some of the temporal texture and snap you’d typically get from a sealed box. IME, it doesn’t really succeed in practice and can indeed detract from overall bass output as you might have guessed.
I haven’t heard every type of this design and I’m sure they’re are good ones out there, I’ve just yet to encounter any that handle bass better than a conventional port would.
tomic601...Thank you for the tip. Palm Beach is across the state, about 3+ hours from me. next time I'm on the East coast, I'll look into that shop...if this search lasts that long.
if you dont need rock concert levels I’ve had to go way above $2k to get more engaging speakers than the V A beethovens . There’s a few iterations and used can be found around your budget. Slightly recessed mids with a really clean tweeter and enough bass to make ya smile.
The VA Beethoven's look gorgeous. Nice reviews as well. Someone has suggested the Quad 25L. Tough to find info on these. Anyone know about these?
I second the Maggie's 1.7is! Hard to get better value.
Golden Ear Triton Three+ if you stretch your budget a bit. You might also find them and the Two + used for less. I believe are $1300 each and they have around a 91 db efficiency rating. I have only heard the One and Reference but liked both of the models. Granted different drivers, so different speakers but liked the sound.
Just something else to audition, if you have a chance. There were a few used models on A’gon a little while back, might still be there.
I have heard most of the speakers mentioned here and owned a few, most notably the Martin Logan motion 60 XT and the Vandersteen 2CE. All are good suggestions. Depending on your room and placement possibilities I am sure that most but not all will work. Speaking of the 60 XT, I thought they were very good. They were the main speakers in my family room home theater. I also listen to 2 channel music there as well. I found them to be a bit bass heavy in that room and replaced them with the motion 40’s. I prefer the 40’s. Still have plenty of bass (Without the sub). They are very quick and punchy. Put them on sound o city outriggers. Currently listening to Steely Dan Aja on them While I type.
The best live in-store live demo I have heard was in Deerfield Beach, Florida. While walking back to the hotel from the beach we passed a shopping center that had a stereo store on the main drag. The windows were tinted and I was afraid that it might be a car audio place. Went inside and it was a beautiful little store. The owner played the Maggie 1.7i’s Driven by a 40 W per channel Prima Luna integrated tube amplifier. I was not expecting much, as I had heard that the Maggie’s were power-hungry. The sound was incredible! It was one of those rare “you are there“ experiences. This was in a small to medium sized listening room, but the largest room in that store. If your room placement allows for them, I would definitely addition the Maggies!
By the way, I have heard the JBL L 100 reissues. One of the local dealers here in PA are selling their demos. If I had somewhere to put them I would buy them. The same dealer has the Revel F208 demos on sale as well. If I could fit them somewhere in my house they would be here as well. KEF Is one of my favorite speaker manufacturers. I currently own the Blade Two’s and a pair of LS 50s as well. There are some great deals out there on the previous generation of “R” series speakers. The R 700’s or 900s would certainly satisfy your bass needs.
there's a place in Lakewood Ranch called Integrity Sound. I think they have a second location in the area too. I'm not from there but have family in the area and I've been to the shop at Lakewood Ranch. They have stuff in your budget range you can audition -- Martin Logan, Paradigm, Dynaudio, KEF. When I went in there about a year ago I was very impressed by the sound of the Dynaudio Contour 20s, although I think those were a lot more than $2k and not floorstanders. But I do recall they had a pair of ML electrostats, Paradigm towers and B&W towers. Certainly it's a better run and setup shop than Best Buy.
Look out for a used pair of Usher Mini Two Diamonds.
Check Out DeVore Fidelity, Nines. Discontinued model, and falls slightly above your budget on Used Market. Other than Revel's I would say best investment value given your budget. Solid build quality, phenomenal clean Imaging and detail. Will elevate your system especially with your set up. I knew some one with a Rogue set up who invested in the DeVore's Nines. After a year he added a pair of REL subs and never looked back.
jnehma- I've been to both Integrity Sound locations and honestly I don't know how the keep the lights on. I was not impressed. Especially with the downtown Sarasota showroom. Cavernous, empty and ill staffed. I was going to ask elsewhere on A'gon if anyone knew of any real hifi audio shops in Tampa/St. Pete/Clearwater because clearly this area is bereft. But thank you for at least offering that information.
I just bought a pair of Monitor Audio Silver 300s and have been really impressed by the knife-edge balance that they achieve between detail, speed, dynamics and relative lack of harshness. I auditioned 11 speakers before choosing the Silver 300s. My listening preferences are:
- I listen to all types of music. Rock, Classical, Jazz, Acoustic music, vocals, Blues
- Speed and agility: Understanding the interaction between musicians is enjoyable to me so I value the ability of a speaker to start and stop quickly. In audiophile terms, that might be called speed on transients.
- Dynamics & clarity at low listening levels (along with ability to maintain coherence at moderate listening level). I can’t always play my music loudly due to my wife’s preferences, so sounding good at low volumes is a valuable characteristic for me.
- Good coherence from low to high frequencies. Some speakers I heard (i.e., Goldenear Triton Five) had a low end response that overwhelmed the clarity of the mid range.
- Focus on mid range rather than low end or high end extension.
Essentially I was looking for a speaker with the clarity of a stand mounted monitor with a bit more low end presence. And, be able to move away from metal stands as this would be going into our bedroom.
I’ve not listened to recent versions of the Vandersteen 2Ce speakers so please do take my comments with a grain of salt, but what I remember of them is that they sounded really sweet and harmonious. From what I remember that is how Vandersteens got the nickname ’Vandersweet’. The Vandersteens were indeed really pleasant sounding speakers. They reproduced the sense of space really well and acoustic instruments and voices sounded very natural to me. The newer speaker designs I’ve been auditioning do seem to sound faster and more upfront than what I remembered of the Vandersteen 2Ce but with the harshness tuned out. It would be worth listening to some current Vandersteens as they did sound really pleasant.
My audition summary is attached below (ranked in order of my preference). I’m happy to attached my detailed listening notes on any of these speakers or to discuss in more detail.
1. Monitor Audio Gold 200 (previous-gen): These were a real WOW. All of the dynamics and musicality of the Silver 300s but with an additional level of detail and insight into my music. These made easy-to-reproduce music sound even better and difficult-to-reproduce music sound good in a way that my lower ranked speakers did not (all of the speakers ranked lower than the Audio Physic Spark).
2. Monitor Audio Silver 300: Though not inexpensive, it seems that quite a few publications are right on the mark when they describe this speaker as a great value. These have the clarity and quickness in the mid-range and treble that my Linn Index speakers had with the addition of a tuneful and rhythmic low end. These are a LOT of fun to listen to and can really boogie when presented with interesting rhythms in music.
3 (tied): Paradigm Prestige 95F: The tonal quality of these speakers is really pleasant to listen to. They are less clear in the midrange than both of the Monitor Audio speakers and the B&W 704 S2 and a little slower in pace than those speakers as well. The pace issue seems like it can be somewhat resolved by quicker sounding amplification.
3 (tied): Bowers & Wilkins 704 S2: Has a similar level of clarity, quickness, detail as the Silver 300s. (Close enough that I need to hear the Monitor Audio speakers again to figure out which is better) But is $1000 more expensive than the Silver 300s. The Silver 300s also have a smoother top end while not yielding any clarity or quickness to the 704. My impressions independent of price is that the Silver 300 is a better speaker as it does everything the 704 does with with more high end smoothness.
5. Audio Physic Spark: Very musical sounding, but less low end punch than the Silver 300s.
6. Triangle Esprit Gaia EZ: These sounded fairly precise and had a nice fullness of tone, but was lacking in pace and timing compared to my higher ranked speakers.
7. Totem Sky Tower: These sounded quick and provided good definition to the leading edge of notes, but I would have difficulty listening to these for an extended period due to their aggressiveness in the high end.
8. Dynaudio X34 Excite: The sound felt a little loose and not so well controlled, but worked great for rock and metal.
9. Goldenear Audio Triton 5: This would probably be a better choice for a home theater speaker as they had a "big" sound though not as articulate for reproducing music.
10. Rega RX-3: It played music okay, but lacked precision.
11. Bowers & Wilkins 603: These speakers were a bit of mess. Their sound seems to be the result in trying to design a speaker that can play lower in the low end and higher in the high end without sorting out the fundamentals of how to play music first. Kind of boring to listen to since it fails to reproduce so much of the music captured in recordings and fails to play rhythms well.
You shouldn’t overlook the Tannoy XT8F. Not a lot of dealers and therefore harder to audition, but totally in love with mine. Really punch above their weight. In the mid $2k new.
Some respected audio reviewer I can’t remember heard them and thought they had to be at least $10k+. He considered them a real find.
@axspike there is one is the best hi-fi stores I've ever been to in Sarasota but everything they sell is way outside your budget I believe. Suncoast Audio, if you want to look it up.
I agree Mike's store is like a candy shop but nothing there inside the OP's mid $2000's budget.
I've heard the same thing about SA. I'm in the "Festivus for the rest of us" budget...
There are so many great floorstanders out there and it never stops or even pauses, and I’ve owned my share...Vandys, KEFs, Viennas, Silverlines, etc., and for decades enjoyed them all with amps up to 250wpc...I became curious about Klipsch Heresy IIIs to use with my 12wpc tube amp, and although the "drivers in a tallish box" world of competing designs of 86 to 90db efficiency will never cease to enthrall many, I doubt that I’ll ever go back to anything but efficient, well designed horn loaded systems. For me there’s no contest...my current Heresy IIIs simply astonish with clarity and coherence, and the new Heresy IVs are likely in my future. Smallish slanted boxes on the floor mated with a couple of powered subs took me right out of the world of inefficient sameness...done. Who knew?
Since I posted this thread, I've had many great responses. To all of you who take the time, thank you. I've been re-reading all of the suggestions, doing the research and coming away wishing more than ever to be able to listen to 10% of them. Either it's my location, Sarasota/Bradenton FL or hifi shops are becoming a thing of the past. Last month Tampa hosted the Florida Audio Expo, which I missed, and yet when I do a search for hifi shops in the area I get mostly auto and home theatre hits whose websites show little in home audio. Someone above mentioned Suncoast Audio which is not far from me. But his caveat of it not being in my price point has kept me from even going there. On the east coast of Florida it looks to be a bit better and I may end up making the trip if I find something there. The alternative is to buy on recommendations and reviews, which most of us know is not the best way to spend your money. That said, I appreciate any other suggestions that add to this thread.