Hey Dan. My opinion albeit perhaps biased to some degree is to go with the Golden Ears. As for something you may not have considered, the company truly stands behind the product (i.e. if you do need service its top notch). That's on top of the fact that the overall value (price, sound quality) is very high comparatively speaking.
I owned a pair of Golden Ear 2's. They sounded great but I had qualms about the build quality. Screws into MDF or small pieces of wood attached to MDF if I remember correctly. Nothing wrong with MDF per se, it just seemed cheaply done. The other thing to think about is the powered sub built in. It sounds great but that is another piece of hardware that can fail. I rank reliability as a main factor in how I spend my audio $$$$. After all that they may last 20 years with no problem but Golden Ear along with many other mfgs can make it difficult to use their warranty services if you weren't the first buyer.
The last three shows Ive been to the consesus has been that Ryan Loudspeakers are absolutely stunning values in terms of build quality and overall musicality.......go find some avshowroom videos on youtube.....,4 models range from 2k to 3400 to 5k to 15k
the 2k 610 model sounds amazing and would obliterate the golden ears
Nice short list you have put together and good to hear that you were able to listen to all on them. Surely something struck you about each when you auditioned?
FWIW, here is my take of them. Focal, B&W too bright for my tastes. Always thought Kef were a little weak in the bass dept. Have heard high praise for the Tritons but mixing active subs in a passive system reminds me a Def Techs which I never liked for music applications. I am sure the Tritons sound great but their design would steer me away - yeah I know, my own built-in bias. But we all have them.
But I never heard a Revel I didn't like. Also a friend has a pair of F12 Concertas that I have spend a lot of time with. Very smooth, musical speaker. So I gotta believe the new F206 Performa3's sound even better. This would be my first choice if looking for a well balanced, musical speaker. Good luck!
voxerama, just so you should know, there are numerous GET owners who have reported that Golden Ear has honored warranty service (albeit seldom needed) when the issue was caused by user error or the warranty has expired. In fact there is a current thread now on their forum about the outstanding support service if and when needed.
4425, I kinda sorta beg to differ. While the Revel may be an outstanding overall value, I believe the top model Salon 2 was compared (under "professional" review) to the Golden Ear Triton 1. When the price tag of $22,000 versus $5,000 respectively was brought into the fray, it became a bit clearer which was the better value.
With a relatively low powered amp you should take care to look at the sensitivity and impedance specs on the speakers you're considering. Some of the speakers on your list are known to need some power to get the best out of them. There is a nice pair of Joseph Audio RM25s for sale here now at a nice price that sound fantastic and don't require much power to drive. Tough to beat at $1295 IMHO. Best of luck.
Which ever speaker you choose make sure you have a good return policy in place. Speakers tend to sound different at home then compared to the store. Sometimes better sometimes horrible. Another post mentioned the Ryans ,That will probably be my next speaker. Good combination of old school base(clean and punchy) and nice clear non fatiguing highs. I also like the paradigm 85F good looking and build quality with nice detail price not to bad. Good Luck
Thanks for all the suggestions! There's not a Ryan loudspeaker dealer within 2 hundred miles of me, so I can't check them out. I visited a website that carries the Acoustic Zen, http://www.soundsofsilence.com/ and I wasn't familiar with anything there. The Revel is 500 bucks cheaper than the others, so that's a plus.
I've got it narrowed down to the Focal and Revel and luckily one dealer (about 90 minutes away) carries both. I'm contemplating bringing my wife with me for another set of ears, but what do women know about hi-fi? :)
Salk WOW 1's
$1300 and they play large!
Salk Silk Monitors - outstanding
Exotica monitors - I have the floor stander version - exquisite
And my favorite bargain speaker that always brings a smile to my face because they are just stupid good and multi-award-winning:
I've owned 7 or 8 pairs of Salks and that should say it all...I'm a shill I guess :|
Of the speakers you listed, I have only heard Golden Ears (Triton 3, but similar to the 2+), and IIRC, the Revels. The Revels were very good, but I loved the sound of the GE’s folded ribbon tweet. Smooth and clean. I doubt you will ever experience listener fatigue with the GEs.
But there is no substitute for an audition in your home with your gear, and without any pressure by a hovering salesman. For that, you need a cooperative dealer, or a direct seller with a generous return policy. I had a 4 month in-home trial of my Ohm Walsh 2000s ($2800/pr) before I decided to keep them. I knew by then that I would never get bored with them, and five years later, I still have no interest in replacing them.
The Stereophile review of the GE Triton 5 has a frequency response that is almost an identical match to the B&W 802D's. If you like that sound they will have similarities. I find it unnatural. Also the GE does not have the dynamic range of the B&W's (nor the price) but I found their AMT implementation incredibly hard sounding when turned up. I experienced listener fatigue within about 30 seconds.
I'd suggest Paradigm or Monitor Audio as being more natural and easier to listen to for longer periods of time in the same price bracket. Used, especially, the Monitor Audio Silver series are absolute bargains.
Thanks bugredmachine for the Sulk suggestion! I’ve been seeing many positive impressions of their stuff popping up lately, and I’m looking to upgrade my monitors, so those Exotica’s have me intrigued.
Snoopgordie, I personally feel that you could do absolutely no wrong with either the R700s or Aria936s. Both series seem to sound very decent with modest gear, but will also scale very well as you improve upon your upstream components. Obviously, it will boil down to personal preference. I feel that the Focal Aria series, for the money, are tough to beat. This from my own, fairly limited experience. (For what it’s worth, I have CC 900 and 906s in my home theatre system, and a friend has the R500s.)
The truth is that a speaker will never sound in the showroom as they will sound in your house. ...and a year later the ones with the sound in your house will sound different again, after you tweak them with new cables, position changes, etc. The showroom with 12 different speaker in the room will sound different because each of those speakers will add their colorations to what you hear. ..funny, but Richard Vandersteen and I was just talking about this very same issue with him last night. ...by the way, Vandersteen speakers should be on your short list as well. Anyway, listening to the same orchestra in 3 different concert halls will sound different as well. ...just for the halibut, call John Rutan at Audioconnection in Verona, New Jersey. He sells everything and knows from what he speaks. ...just listen to what he has to say....a phonecall.