I'm ready to pull the trigger on some new speakers.looking for some last minute advice


Hey all,
I know that there are too many posts like this when it comes to buying speakers, and I know that the answer is 'what sounds best to me', but maybe there's something that I have overlooked. Maybe someone has had a bad experience, or has been blown away, etc.  I hope to buy one of these soon. I have an 80W NAD int amp and my room size is 14x12'
The speakers I've listened to in the last 3 days are :

Golden Ear Triton Two+ Tower
Paradigm 85F
KEF r700
B&Wcm10
revel F206
Focal Aria936

It's not easy to remember what one speaker sounded like when listening to a different one days later.
One dealer won't do an A-B comparison because he believes it's deceiving?
From what I've read, the Golden Ears are either loved or hated.

So any advice is appreciated.

Thanks!

Dan
snoopgordie
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 have the Aria 936 and I am very happy with them, paired with a Primaluna HP tube amplifier w/KT150s - 90+ watts/channel.  Similar size room as yours, speakers are 8' apart and 11' from listening position.

Listened to the cm 10s and Sonus faber and the the 936s were much better in my opinion.
Just VERY substantially upgraded my Acoustic Zen Adagios (msrp $4500 to $5000 depending where you get them). I'll part with them for $2200.. Excellent condition. Read some remarkable reviews. Like 6 moons. Call Peter 3 one five four 9 two 9 zero four one..
Hi. I had some experience with Triton 2. I think with your system it will be Great. But if you want to go standmount some neat motive SX3 or even the motive 3 wich are older will do the trick with NAD. I had those, they are amazing with Nad. Good luck. Osiris. 
Try the Pioneer S3EX.. Its a bit costly but I can guarantee its worth every $ 
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
Shahinian Obelisk 2 - see how many ’I don’t like’ reviews you can find :)

You may need to upgrade the amp to get the best from them...
Revel. Build quality and awesome sound not to mention most value per dollar in high end speakers IMHO. 

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?  :)

Dan
where do you live?  I have a dealer friend who is placing his initial order w/ Ryan and that's how I'm getting my 610s.  I'm in Oklahoma City
I'm in NH and the closest dealer is in NY.  I'm not going to purchase anything without being able to audition them first.

Thanks!
Salk WOW 1's
http://www.salksound.com/model.php?model=WOW1

$1300 and they play large!

Salk Silk Monitors - outstanding
http://www.salksound.com/model.php?model=Silk+Monitors

$3600

Exotica monitors - I have the floor stander version - exquisite
http://ww w.salksound.com/model.php?model=Exotica+Monitors

$6000

And my favorite bargain speaker that always brings a smile to my face because they are just stupid good and multi-award-winning:
Songtowers
http://www.salksound.com/model.php?model=SongTower+RT

$2900

I've owned 7 or 8 pairs of Salks and that should say it all...I'm a shill I guess :|
Dan-

based on your list- the best choice is the Focal 936. This is a fine speaker that will mate nicely w/ your NAD.

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. 

If you live in NH close to NY  assuming that's New Haven CT, you should visit Take5audio in New haven.

FidelisAV in NH and Goodwin's High End in Boston are reputable dealers.
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.
I bought the Focals about 2 weeks ago.  Still tweaking and trying to get MQA streaming. No complaints so far.