Paradigm Studio 60's version II are a good match to Rotel in that price range. Also look at Soliloquy 5.3 or Meadowlark Swift, both selling on Audiogon. Kimber Kable 8TC or Analysis Plus for speaker cables.
17 responses Add your response
Not used but home brew so you get a very good deal. Dave Ellis 1801s. Hard to audition but I've heard them and they are very nice. These are a far cry from "decent" and your system won't sound "cheap" either. On top of it the woodworking is beautiful. He is a perfectionist.
Lots of choices out there.
I'm using NHT speakers with Rotel power amps, and I like the combo a lot. For around $1000, you should be able to pick up a used pair of 2.9s -- Stereophile Class B, which should last you beyond that Rotel as long as you avoid amps that are on the dry side.
Alternately, you could buy a used pair of 2.3s or early 2.5s if you don't like the metal tweeter sound, and get em for about $500.
Do you need spousal approval on the style and looks of the speaker too? Because in that case, you might want to look at smaller minimonitor speakers, such as those from Totem, the Dynaudio contour series, Revel m20, Amphion Argon2 (very high wife acceptance factor!) All of these speakers should produce excellent bass despite their small size. They should be available in the just over $1000 range on Audiogon. I agree that the Vandersteen 2ce's are great, but that mass of charcoal grey/back mesh look just doesn't fit my living room.
I'll jump on the Vandersteen bandwagon as well. Even if you pay full list price for the 2Ce Sigs, you will still have your self one hell of a bargain.
About 2 months ago, I auditioned the Vandersteen 2Ce (not the Sigs). At that point, I really didn't know a thing about the Vandersteen line. The imaging was excellent, the bass was full and satisfying, the high end was properly placed. There was something magical about the Vandersteen / Rogue / Sony setup I was listening to. As I would listen with my eyes closed, I could feel my pupils darting back and forth "looking" at the soundstage.
When the dealer asked me what I thought, I told him my nitpicks, and my praises. In the back of my mind, I kept thinking, "For a $6k speaker, they sound pretty good." It wasn't until I got home and started to research to what I had listened did I discover the cost of the components.
And mind you, these wern't the Sig line.
If you find a pair of the 2Ce Sigs for under $1k, snatch them up and dance a jig.
I agree with the Vandy recommendations, they will fill a room with very pleasant sound with decent quality solid state gear. A friend had a Vandy system with all Adcom gear and it sounded very nice on all music. They sound especially good biwired, maybe it has to do with the passive woofer but the bass tightens a great deal biwired.
Also do not cut corners with wire, I believe you will get better sound with cheaper speakers (maybe Vandy 1B's) and better wire than the other way around (within reason)
My recollection was that when I looked at Vandy's years ago, they were a lot more sensitive to room placement in the sense that they really didn't like being in corners or, for that matter, anywhere *near* a corner. I know, ideally, most speakers are supposed to be somewhere like 1/5 to 1/3 of the room width away from the side walls, but my sense was that (at least the 3s) weren't as tolerant as, for example, minimonitors to accommodating the realities of most people's living spaces. I keep seeing recommendations for the 2Ce's and 3's on A'gon forums, but I got driven away by the compromises I had to make in my life at that time placement-wise. Maybe some Vandy owners can chime in if I'm right, because its something to consider if my memory is right (its generally pretty bad, frankly). They sure sounded good tho'. Also, if you do go the minimonitor route (might look at the ProAcs as well), you should budget some funds for some good solid spiked stands.
There are hundreds of speakers that fit your needs. I have put many systems together for myself and friends. Always take your room size,layout and flexability of speaker placement into account first. Your rotel equipment is really not to bad and you said your going to keep it for awhile. Your room is really a plus for you size wise because it will let you use floor or stand mount speakers with very good results. ( as long as your wife is not to fussy.) Some are. You will need some speakers that are not to hard for you amp to drive and fill your nice size room with sound. Your Rotel can sound vary good if you do not over work it. You and I can not afford speakers that do it all so get some speakers that will do most of what (YOU) want them to do. Classic rock does not sound good on hyper detailed speakers. Get a good all around speaker for your music tastes,something with easy and good resale value. Get something that will make you happy now but will only get much better if you upgrade your equipment down the road. The vandersteen fits the bill and so does the spendor line of speakers. Also: Psb,snell,vmps, and alot more.
Sogood51, I have to disagree on one of your points...there are plenty of (what I consider) reasonably priced speakers out there. The Vandersteen, Theil, and Dunlavy lines are perfect examples. You can spend less than $1000.00 or more than $10,000.00 (a stupid amount IMHO). However, each of these lines (no matter the price) use 1st order crossovers, are time and phase aligned, and will basically not be out-classed by any hardware you match with them.
I'm not a believer that expensive hardware automatically sounds better than inexpensive hardware. Also, I'm not the type of person to attempt to acquire the last 5% of audio nirvana with a cost-no-object fervor. I guess that's where I draw the line.
However, I don't believe that you can emphasize the following enough: Always take your room size, layout and flexability of speaker placement into account first. I have B&W Nautilus 805s driven with Rotel hardware. Until I have a better physical space for my toys, I have no desire to upgrade. Well, I have a desire....but I can't justify it.
Wow! I am pleasantly surprised at how many responses have been posted, and I do appreciate it!
I expected a couple of people to mention Paradigm, and a coworker told me about Meadowlark. I had heard the Vandersteen name, but never actually seen any of their products. It looks like I have a bit of research ahead of me...
There is a gentleman across town with a pair of Coincident Conquest floorstanders for sale. I know nothing about Coincident but I have the feeling that they're geared toward tube amps - is this correct?
Should I even take the time to audition them or am I barking up the wrong tree?
Everyone - Thanks again!