I need to be wowed

Next month I'll be starting my hunt for new speakers...new to me, at any rate.
And I will be obsessed...

What I've got:
Arcan Alpha 9
Plinius Integrated 2100i
Analysis plus 12's bi-wire
and shortly HT Pro MK2 IC's
and a *DOUZY* of a room:
Oh, that room.I think that's the key....I learned early on how much room interaction plays in sound.

I listen almost strictly to classical music....small ensemble/piano/violin/but yearn for large scale to sound
wonderful too. Also listen to acoustical classical/folk/female singers...

What I want:Tonal quality most important....I tend to like laid back/dark sound but needs to be involving and have intensity...
and oh, yes....they must come in black.
What I don't want: Bright tweeters!

Just for comparison I had wanted to hear some stats but have been told there was no way bipoles could work with
in my room....although someone suggested Innersound Isis ....and Gradient(out of my price range)..
I had also been intrigued for a while by Newforms but the fact that most who own them feel the need to do
mods bothers me....I want to own them....not build them...

Any suggestions will be much appreciated!

Hey dude, I like the pictures. Good kitty:^)
I'm a dudette
What is your budget for these speakers?
Hi Allegro. Is your Plinius rated at 100wpc. I don't recall.

The first speaker that comes to mind that might fit your parameters is the Meadowlark Kestrel. From what I understand they are relatively easy to drive and aren't bright. I'm not sure if they come in black though. Take a look:


Also maybe worth a look are the Sonus Faber Concert line. specifically the Concerto and Grand Piano speakers. I used to own Concertinos, and they exhibited a very full midrange and a romantic presentation. Oh yes, and they are available in piano black. Check this out:


Take care, and good luck!

If you get a chance, audition the Vienna Acoustics line--the beethovens or mozarts might be in your price range. Their sound fits your description, at least to my ears.

Happy listening!
I'd suggest a BBC monitor (they come in various sizes and prices) from Spendor or Harbeth. Not fatiguing, lovely tone. If you want big scale music to sound big scale then add a subwoofer ... REL (I own) or ACI seem to be the frontrunners. In my experience large scale orchestral works and live performances featuring acoustic guitars played through a PA system are lacking without those low low frequencies. They come to life with a sub. However, since the sub costs at least $1000 and would make little or no difference to small ensemble music it might not be justifiable for you. If you have a difficult room then monitors and a sub might be better than full range main speakers since you can place the monitors for good soundstage and the sub for deep bass without boom.

By the way I also own a pair of Spicas ... you would probably like the sound of Spica angelus or TC50s if you can find a pair .... they're an absolute bargain. Unfortunately the angelus looks very wierd so if your listening room needs to also look attractive then that option is probably out. (My wife banished my hifi to the spare room !) At least our 5 cats can't get in to destroy the speakers.
Ditto on the pictures! It does seem like a pretty bright room so I would stay away from Thiels (unless, maybe, you went with MIT cables). I would highly recommend some of the Montana products -- they are smooth throughout the spectrum. Also, Khorus are getting good reviews, but I've not heard them. What is your price range? Have you run a search in Audiogon -- there's a lot of great advice on speakers in every price range (I'm not sure anyone's talked about an emphasis on the mids and lows though). Have fun in your search and try to listen at home before you buy ;-)
Cool cats, nice place. Sonus Faber might fit the bill. You also might want to look at and perhaps audition ACI's Sapphire III LE. I owned a pair and they were wonderful, and I think in line with what you prefer. Add their Titan II LE sub for the bottom end and you'd have it made. Very attractive build/appearance that should work well with your decor.
..but if a few hundred makes a difference in the wow factor....
and the Sonus GP and Vienna acoustics always seem to be mentioned for my musical taste....
I'd say they definitely must be on my audition list...!
There's a Spendor dealer close by...who also carries Arcam and Plinius....
that'd be the next best thing to bringing them home....
Thanks....you helped me understand when a sub is needed....
appreciate your advice....!
After reading through the above recommendations I'm shocked no one has yet recommended Vandersteens. I listened to the 3s at length and although they were a tad dark for my taste every other part of the spectrum was outstanding, as was soundstaging, dynamics, imaging, and overall coherence. If the 3s are out of your price range the 2s may also suffice, but by all means given your musical tastes go hear Vandersteens--they seem almost custom made for your preferences. Best of luck.

Strongly second the Vandersteen suggestion. Every characteristic you're looking for is is a noted strength of the Vandy line. Including the famous black sock.

Should really be at the very top of your list for auditioning.
I agree with those who lean toward british monitor speakers for the type of music that you listen to and for the interesting room that you will be listening in. I have always found that B&W loudspeakers are the best to use for classical music because 90 percent of classical recordings are mastered using B&W loudspeakers. They seem to work well for all types of music.
That being said I saw an ad for a used pair of Celestion 700SE loudspeakers on Audiogon with stands for $1200. A long time ago, maybe ten years ago, I owned a pair of Celestion 600's and they were very much what you seem to be looking for. I could not afford the 700's at that time but I listened to them frequently and absolutely loved them. A magnificent speaker for those who tend to appreciate the dark side of presentation. Good luck!!!!
Hey Dudette, Any chance we could talk you into hanging a nice plasma screen TV on the wall?
If you're principally into classical, I'm not sure how they'll look in that room (which looks GREAT!) but I'd suggest you listen to the speakers John Marks likes with the Plinius, the Shahinian speakers (Obelisks or other types). Unlike most other speakers you'll hear, but extremely musical and geared, I think, to the classical music lover. Good luck!
Check out the Gershman Acoustic Avant Garde RX 20's - beautiful speaker with great sound - comes in glossy piano black - great for classical music.
Another great choice for your room would be the VMPS RM 40's.
Agreed, Vandersteens will work great for you. I've owned several pairs and am currently using 3A Signatures. Love Them in every way.
Nice place! Cute cats. Sundae way cuter, even with eyes closed and fancy furs. And china cabinet, very cool. For fuller, classical music sound Dunlavys are perfect. In your price range, if you push a little you could get pre-owned IV's. They might be too big for your place and decor. I would go with II or III's . I have V and II's and the II performs very close to IV's except with much lower extension. II OR III will be perfect for that tall wall, being slim and tall. And the sound much fuller in all 4D. Yes it will give you the height perspective too. Although I do like Vany 2Ci suggestions (better value), but still not as good as Dunlavy where it counts-mid range.
You have a big space to fill with sound, and listen from a good distance away. A BBC-type monitor may have the nominal tonal balance you are after, but is made to be listened to in more of a near-field situation, so it could sound boring in your room. I agree about the sound of the Vienna Acoustics line, but a model large enough for you would exceed the budget, and I've only ever seen them in the natural beech finish. I think the Vandersteen (model 3a) and B&W (model 802 matrix) recommendations are good bets (the B&W is better) if you can find a late edition at your price point. Other suggestions: PSB Stratus Gold i, NHT 3.3, Snell B, KEF 105, and maybe Mirage M-2 if the front wall proximity is no less than two feet (these bipolar speakers are shallow in depth). As a Thiel CS2 2 owner, I will also add that I do not consider these speakers bright unless one listens at too close a distance (the first order X-over's mandate at least 10 feet for proper integration, true for the Vandy's and Dunlavy's as well), and I think they have a more accurate timbral response than a lot of "dark" sounding alternatives, but need high-quality partnering equipment. To me, they are outstanding for acoustic music.
Hi, Allegro12. I own newforms and don't feel any need to mod them. I did dump the jumper cables and used mapleshade ribbons[mushc better]. If you love the sound of these ribbons might I suggest trying the VMPS line? Now I haven't heard them but they are also ribbons and have the advantage of crossing over at a very low 160hz to the woofer. The newforms cross over at 1000 to scan-speak drivers. The VMPS' go lower with their ribbons and [in theory] should be more integrated though the low midrange. However, I have not heard them but the newform ribbons, from 1000 up are very, very good......happy shopping...
I listen to the same music you do and have a relatively small room, for the last twenty years I used martin logans first monolith and more recently Prodigies.I just changed to JM Lab Utopias,love them.they do not have an irritating treble and are very detailed.you may find the the other JM Labs just as satisfactory.In the Utopia line you pay a lot for the very high end finish.
Seamless, coherent, superb soundstaging and imaging,
three dimensional. More musically satisfying than
many speakers 4X their modest cost.
At your budget level my suggestions will not get it - I would look to a rather tall setup because of those ceilings - The Martin Logan SL3 would fill that room quite nicely and are for sale in your price range.
I'll second the Martin Logan suggestion. My Aerius i's do voice better than anything I've ever heard.
I see references to a budget, but I must be overlooking what the stated budget is. Two reasonably prices possibilities would be the Revel Performa F30 (not absolutely sure of the model, retail price is $3500). It has received excellent reviews all over the place and would appear to get you a great deal of the Revel performance without paying for the exotic cabinetry. I don't have personal experience with them. 4th order x-over to increase the sweet spot of the listening room.

Second suggestion would be the Dynaudio Contour 1.8 Mk II's. List is also in the 3's, but you regularly see them used for <$2K. They would be the best Dynaudio to drive with 100 w/c. My musical tastes don't run the same as yours, but a friend of mine has this exact setup - the 1.8's driven by 100 w/c (Arcam amplification) and listens primarily to classical music. Sounds awesome. -Kirk

I've exchanged a few emails with John Marks.....he's convinced those speakers are my ultimate ...
however, since I need to be wowed in every way..looks matter....and the SHAHINIAN wood only cabinets
wouldn't work in my room....(I like the hi-tech look...in fact, looks wise Piegas make me swoon)...and unlike most women, evidently, I want my audio equipment to be the focal point of my room..I'll risk stubbing my toe to have them right there..I *love* my music...

I may be missing out on my dream speakers but SHAHINIAN's are out...
appreciate your suggestion, though...thanks!
2k, give or take a few hundred
What B&W models.....floorstander?
I get a little nervous about B&W...have read too many people find them bright.....
I have a friend who says Vandies have that sweet mid-range I yearn for.....I think I must listen to these!
The close-by Spendor dealer has Dunlavy also.....I could make a day of it.....thanks!
I can only obsess about one thing at a time....hmm..maybe 2....:)
Allegro12, Go for Dunlavy's. You will not regret the choice. No matter what you buy, don't do it untill you give Dunlavy's a listen.
Hi again Allegro12,

If you spend a few hours with the spendor and dunlavy dealer then take along at least one large scale CD and ask to demo a subwoofer .... I think spendor has a sub specifically designed to work with their monitors. This will give you a good feeling of what I meant about the low frequencies really making it sound live. You'll also notice that the sub makes little or no difference on small scale music ... the choice to sub or not to sub should be obvious. I've never heard dunlavys so I'd be interested on your thoughts when you've compared them to spendors.
Yes...I will! I had never really considered this sub issue before....I'm just a newcomer in all this...
but I've learned a *lot*...and I trust my ears...
Nil...it's a speaker I hadn't considered until now...
I will give them a listen...thanks!
How is the ML on strings and horns? I'll be suicidal if I wind up with speakers that have ear-bleeder trumpets again!
Although you may like the tonal balance of an ML like the Aerius, IMHO you would need to place any dipolar panel-type radiator (ML, Maggies) further out from the front wall than you say you are willing to go, ideally 4 ft. or more, but no less than 3 ft. min. (BTW, the Aerius model is probably too small for the room.) I don't see in the thread a listing of the models you presently use, or have found objectionable in the past - this might be helpful.
That seems to be the consensus regarding dipoles..I'm not only locked into 2' from wall to front of speaker..
they just can't be placed *anywhere * other than where my present speakers are....
..so I'd better just not audition them.
It's always a shame to fall in love with something you can't have.

When I bought my present speakers (PSB 6T's) I was replacing 12 year old (gulp) Bose...and pretty much bought
the first speakers I heard. Then I replaced a crappy Sony recever and CDP and realized I was in a whole new zone..
I've been fighting the PSB's ever since (I find *them) objectionable...
bright/harsh...shallow/thin sounding...although imaging is great and piano music is really quite nice...
I think that this one may be the speaker for you. MSRP is 2400 or so. I don't usually go wild for Thiel speakers(although they always sound pretty good to excellent when I hear them), but the 1.6's were performing well out of their price range. I heard three songs -- a late career Sinatra tune, an electronically enhanced version of some Indian music (lots of synthesized bass), and a Robert Johnson blues song from way back. All sounded wonderful -- intimate on the first and last tracks, lush and huge on the second. And the pair I heard was black.

I was in the store to look for a pair of Revel F50's (a little more than 3 times the price) and while I didn't change my mind about what I want to buy, I was pretty blown away by the 1.6. The salesman had them set up with solid state Mac gear, so I would expect the Plinius to do very well. He just got the speakers a week before and he was showing them off to everyone who came in.

Check them out before you buy anything else.

I don't work for Thiel and I don't usually rant about products.
Allegro , the ML's ascent sound good with a big amp. but for alittle more you can get the quad988. the other speaker worth researching is a california lab company called VMP check out their Ribbon Monitor 1 $1600. by the way B&W, Vanderstein, Paradim, Maggie, do not impress me no matter how popular they are. talk to fellow audiogoner Sedond about VMP. good luck
You should try to listen to some Dynaudios before you make a decision. I have listened extensively in a friend's home to Dynaudio Contour 1.8, which new would be substantially above your price range, also the Audience line which costs less (and looks less, and sounds less...). You wonder about B&W: I ended up with B&W CDM7NT which I found smooth and detailed but too bright until I gave them 200 watts of very mellow B&K power amp (source is Arcam CD72, pre is British Fidelity 3B), tubes might be a different story but I don't want to go there...I don't think I will keep these for a long time...for the type of listening you describe and for your space I think you might really like Dynaudios. Sonically they are extremely transparent, lifelike, and detailed; never harsh, never grainy. The soundstage--how to describe this--they don't give a sense of a "stage," rather the instruments are just positioned all over the room--in too small of a room it is almost disorienting. Visually very slender, unobtrusive. Not terribly efficient. Good luck.
I enjoyed my Sonus Concertos for a long time. The ACI is a major improvement in so many ways while still maintaining a very similar type of rich tonal balance. The Sapphire IIIs are really amazing speakers. I'd strongly recommend giving them a try.
Thanks everyone for such thoughtful suggestions....(keep 'em coming!)
It'll be impratical for me to home audition so the more ammunition I'm loaded up with, the better.
My man has already moved *these* speakers around 1 too many times (he thinks they are "fine")...so I'm on my own.
....one more possibility is Aerial Acoustics 6 or 7....
You said it would not be possible to home audition. Just my two cents, but home audition is really mandatory for speakers. Nothing any of us say or what you hear in a store will tell you what it will be like in your room for the long term. Whatever/wherever you buy, make sure you can take it back if it doesn't cut it for you.
Check out the Monsoon line.
A couple of things bother me here. First, your constraints about speaker placement. Given the number of dollars you already have invested and the additional dollars you are prepared to invest, I'd strongly urge you to be more flexible about speaker placement. Please forgive me if I sound condescending--truly I do not mean to be--but it is a measure of your inexperience that you are prepared to say, "They have to be placed RIGHT HERE and no place else." It comes down to how badly you want good sound. In the interest of optimum speaker placement, I have seen speakers placed in traffic flow patterns so that everyone had to learn to step around them, etc. In my current situation, one of my speakers extends halfway into a doorway--AND the door is covered with ugly Sonex. Inconvenient as hell but I paid $15K for the speakers and I'm sure gonna put them where they sound best.

Speaker placement is absolutely CRITICAL to getting what you say you want. Whether it is a matter of convenience, aesthetics, SAF, or whatever, I'd try to work it through.

Secondly, please do make every possible--even superhuman--effort to audition in your home. Even if it means renting a truck to haul them back and forth a hundred miles there simply is no other way to determine how speakers will sound in your space until you put them there and spend some days experimenting and listening.

If all this sounds extreme....well, audiophilia IS a disease, after all, and you definitely seem to have the early symptoms. :)

Good luck!
agree with bishopwill. Correctly placed $1k speakers can image far, far better than poorly placed $5k speakers.

See these two links for hints :
(they're both in english).
Again it's a trade off between musicality and aesthetics (since optimum sonic placement is usually rather non-optimal aesthetically), but the difference in sound quality is profound.