Janszen za2.1 vs nola metro grand ref series2

I am contemplating a speaker purchase. I was going to look into either a used vandy 5a or eggleston andra ii. But, I think they would both be too big for my small 12x14 room. I am also married to my 50 w triode monoblocks and I fear they would not provide sufficient power for either choice.

This leads me to the less well known janszen and a pair of demo nola metros. I have always liked the enormous magnepan 3.7 soundstage. I however found them always lacking in image specificity. So as the advice comes, please keep in mind my soundstage reference and goal is along the lines of the big Maggie's. I have read that the raven tweeter and open baffle in the nola result in a giant presentation. I am not as sure about the janszens.

Has anyone heard both of the speakers I am considering? My desire is to improve upon the sound of the Gallo ref 3.5 that I currently have. I would like a larger, taller deeper soundstage with Improved pinpoint proved imaging.

I recognize this may be an odd request, but I am hoping for real world experience as I have no way to hear either prior to purchasing the speakers. The janszens have a trial period going in their favor.

Fwiw David janszen was a pleasure to talk with about his speakers. If congeniality were a sound quality i would tip my hat to janszen.

I have not heard the Janszens, though many here rave about them. With respect to the Nolas, I think the Metros may be just a little bit too big for your room. My room is the same size as yours, and Nola had recommended the Micro References, which work perfectly in my room. Soundstage is good-sized and very open, with excellent location of instruments and images in the soundstage, though probably not as big a soundstage as the Maggies--very few smaller speakers can pull off that feat. I know Nolas sound great with tubes (I use a VAC Phi 200), and given the size of your room I think that your amps should work, though you might want to bring them to the seller of the Metros to hook up and make sure. I would also suggest that you not necessarily give up on the Vandys, as remember, they have a separate amplifier built in to handle the bass, and I think 50 WPC should be enough for the mid/tweeter. They may be a bit too large for your room, though.

A couple of other things about the Nolas: if your room is heavily damped, or your listening chair is low (and if these things can't be changed), I would not recommend the Nolas as highly, they do much better with a somewhat lively room (diffusors would be fine) and they can sound a bit polite and dull in the treble if you sit too low listening to them, in my experience.
Rcprince- I just replaced my Soundlab m2's with Nola KO's and was wondering if you know how many hours the Nola's would need to be considered broken in? They were demos with about 250 hours on them.
Do you use any toe in on your model?
Rleff--I'd think yours should be pretty well broken-in, maybe another 50 hours. I never really felt the break-in for my speakers was especially dramatic, but the KO does have a few more drivers than the Micros. I use no toe-in, as Carl suggested to me.

Soundlabs to cone speakers, that's quite a change, though I guess the open baffle design probably eases the transition.
thanks for the replies. I really hope that someone with janszen experience chimes in. I had a good conversation today with a janszen dealer who extolled the virtues of the janszen, but was realistic without too much sugar coating. just need to decide...hmmm...
We like similar speakers. I thought the Nola Metro Gold powered by a VAC 160i was the best sound at the Brooklyn show, but the Nola's got a decidedly lukewarm review in Stereophile in both listening and measurements. They retail at $33,000, which is beyond what I would spend, and I'm not quite sure if they were impressive or "right."

That really makes a home or dealer test of the JansZen Za2.1 my path. Although I like my tube amp, I'm intrigued to try the combination of the Benchmark DAC2 HGC going into the new powered version of the Za2.1a. There's a trickle of good feedback appearing on the powered version.

If the combo is not great, they can be returned, but I have high hopes from spending a lot of time reading about the products, and being impressed with everything I've heard David Janszen say. Plus, I still remember how good Simon and Garfunkel sounded on his father's version of the speaker, (although that one had a dip in lower midrange.)
2out2sea you might have to take them up on that trial period.
Reprince so far the KO's remind me of my dunlavy's scIII's before I moved into the soundlab's; I like what I hear so far.
I think at this point I am going to try the janszen. the trial period eases my mind and david janszen is a real pleasure to deal with. I will keep everyone posted on the way things go. my goal is a 50% improvement (subjective of course) over my current gallo 3.5. bigger soundstage and improved imaging. we'll have to wait and see.
2out2sea, I've owned the zA2.1 for more than a year now without a moments regret. And I fully agree with your impressions of David. I believe his is both knowledgable and totally honest. He has been wonderful to work with both before and after my purchase.

Rather than summarize my impressions of the speakers I'll offer this link to my written review - http://db.audioasylum.com/mhtml/m.html?forum=speakers&n=329558&highlight=m3+lover+Janszen+m3+lover&r=&search_url=%2Fcgi%2Fsearch.mpl%3Fforum%3DALL%26searchtext%3DFried

Also, look for the comments by jsm71 on Planar Asylum. We both had overpowered SS amps to begin with (which did sound very good) but then changed to lower powered tube amps which upped the listening pleasure.

So yes, take the home trial. And follow David's instructions on placement. They do not need to be placed well out in the room like other planar speakers.
Brad - Like Pryso, I too own the Janszen's, though only for a month or so. I absolutely love these speakers even if I haven't got them dialed in yet (both room placement and tweeter controls are still being experimented with). Already they are better in my smallish mid-sized room then all other's - including Maggies and SF Cremona's - as I now have the organic full-bodied sound combined with stat-like detail that I've always wished for.

And yes, David is absolutely the best. I challenged him with a special finish request that was similar to some Wilson speakers I had seen, and he said he would see what he could do. Well, he actually ended up not being able to complete this in-house so he had an auto paint specialist do so, at no extra cost to me!! This on top of sending various grill cloth swatches and patiently listening to me go back and forth on a final decision.

Bottom line, the speakers are beautiful to both hear and see. And even as I'm powering them with a Rowland ss amp at the moment, I will also try a lower powered tube amp in the next few months.

Give them a shot, you really have nothing to lose.
Pryso, as a former Duntech Princess owner, how would you compare the size of the soundstage presentation of the Janszens vs. the Duntechs? That would give the OP an idea of that aspect of the speakers, as the Duntechs' soundstage, from my experience with them, easily compares with the Maggies.
Ordered a set from David today. I will certainly revisit this thread once I have a chance to listen. The waiting game now begins...
Fair question Rcprince, so even though 2out2sea made his/her decision I'll try to answer for the general interest of other readers.

First off, I'll admit that soundstage is not my highest priority, that goes to tonality and a sense of involvement with the music. I attend a fair amount of live musical performances and I almost never hear the precise instrument placement as described by many magazine reviewers. That precision requires very close seating to the performers and I prefer to be back just a little to better take in the whole perspective.

Secondly, my room does not allow for optimum speaker placement since the right channel cannot be more than about 2 feet from the side wall. I've heard Duntech Princesses in four other rooms and all allowed better soundstaging than my set up did. Speaking with John Dunlavy confirmed that ideal placement provided at least 4-5 feet distance from sidewalls.

Now for those not familiar with the Princesses they are 6 feet tall with five drivers in a w/m/t/m/w array. So they do produce a very large soundstage, including width in a proper set up. The Janszens are a little more than half that size. In my room there is no appreciable difference in width of soundstage between the two models. And the height from the Janszens is greater that would be expected from their physical size. There has been a four year interval between owning these two speaker systems but from memory I don't feel there is much compromise in soundstage height.

One area where the Janszens excel, which as mentioned was not a priority for me, is image placement within the soundstage. With careful setup my system now presents more precision than any of the multiple other systems I've lived with through the years. I was not looking for this but it has been fun to experience.

Regarding Maggies, the most stupendous soundstage I've heard was recently from a friend's MG-20s. But to achieve that he places them almost half-way out into the room. Unless you close your eyes it can be something of a "2001" experience with those two large black obelisks there in front of you. Not many situations can allow for such placement and one of the benefits in the Janszen design is their performance when placed fairly close to the front wall (if fact they demand not to be pulled too far out for best bass extension). Any model Maggie, like all dipoles, will benefit from placement well out into the room. The hybrid Janszen does not radiate from the rear so does not have that need.

So I hope this longer reply helps 2out2sea with setup and offers a little more information for any others considering the Janszens.
2out2sea, congrats on moving forward with these speakers. I have had my pair for over 2 years, being one of the early adaptors. I've also enjoyed being close to David's operations and have spent time with him at his shop on a couple of occasions while he upgraded my pair to bring them to their current design. He is a great guy to spend time with as well as to do business.

As Pryso noted I used to be in the big SS amp camp but have gone all tubes. I used to have a Sanders Magtech for my Maggie 1.7s (a superb combo) but I now run a Decware ZMA with only 40 watts/channel. I actually had an earlier Decware amp briefly at 25 watts/channel before the ZMA became available.

My room is a 13' by 12' spare bedroom. I can exceed listening levels that I'm comfortable with in this room with the ZMA amp. The point here is David's speakers are indeed an easy load and tube amps from 25-100 watts are plenty unless you intend on damaging your ears.

I have come to enjoy most how correct everything sounds and how seamless the hybrid design is. Solo piano will convince you how cohesive these are. The crossover happens at roughtly the middle of the keyboard. I have tried (hard) to hear that transition and cannot, nor does the timbre of the sound change. It's perfect.

I local friend has 9' Soundlab speakers in his house. As impressive as the presentation is with those, I have no envy and feel my sound is as good or better in some ways. I like also that the soundstage is at the correct scale. I felt the Maggies were larger than needed in that area, similar to the Soundlabs.

I know the waiting is no fun. I had to for mine, as well as with the Decware amps. Do let us know your impressions once you get them.
thank you again everyone for your feedback. it is through a dedicated community like this that makes it possible to wade through the endless possibilities in hifi. I am currently just watching the calendar until the speakers arrive.

On the truck for delivery on Monday. I will post impressions once they arrive. I got a little holiday discount on them as well which was nice.
ok so first impressions. these are very different. much more focused with a smaller sweet spot both vertically and horizontally. The sound is unlike anything I have heard previously. mind you my room is small so that limits some of the acoustics.

at first I thought they were less dynamic than the gallos that I currently have. they sounded more polite and laid back. but, after listening for a while I realized that all of the music was there. I didn't find myself leaning forward in my listening seat to try and hear deeper into the music. it was all there, just not shouty and forward. my old vandersteens had a similar laid back sound, but sounded veiled compared to the gallos. the janszens sound laid back and non-fatiguing without a loss of detail.

the width of the soundstage is smaller than with the gallos. the gallos have a 300* tweeter that is hard to beat. it is essentially a small electrostat tweeter. however, something in the drivers is harsher than the janszens. I will sacrifice a little width to gain the depth of soundstage and fatigue free listening.

the bass can't stack up to the gallos, but is very natural sounding and not lacking. the 250w subwoofer amp with the gallos results in subterranean 20hz depths. the janszens are close to 30hz and it's only because I was so used to the gallos that I miss anything at all. electronica music like Mannheim steamroller will require me pulling my subwoofer back out. luckily I bought a decent one a year or so ago and it's been mostly living in it's box.

now the most marked sound qualities I am hearing are pretty astounding. the center fill is otherworldly. my gallos would always lock the singer in one spot and move the instruments out to the sides around the singer. the instruments were never centered between the speakers, but rather were separated as if on either side of the singer. with the janszens everything populates the same soundstage, but each is defined uniquely. the sound is so different that it is hard to compare.

lastly the janszens do something that makes no sense to me. I have never experienced a speaker that at times sounds like I'm wearing a set of headphones. my gosh it is amazing!

the stature of the speakers is very similar to the gallos. they are slightly more substantial, but almost dead even in height. they are very nice looking as well. very simple and understated. there's not even a janszen label on them except a silk screen next to the binding posts. they get a high wife approval factor compared to the gallos.
"lastly the janszens do something that makes no sense to me. I have never experienced a speaker that at times sounds like I'm wearing a set of headphones."

You say that as if it's a good thing.........

It is a real sound. I have been in venues where the sound did indeed envelope you in a way that the point source wasn't distinguishable. I can't explain it better. Yes I think it is a good thing.
further impressions. there are 3 things that the gallos do better.

the first is bass. the janszens do bass well, but I see why david recommends a 200w solid state amp. I wish there were a way to biwire the speakers. the bass has significantly more impact from the gallos.

the second area is soundstage width. I have always liked huge open soundstaging speakers such as maggies. however, in this regard I will lose a little width to keep the other things that the janszens are doing in my system.

the third area is in regards to off axis listening. the gallos have a very forgiving and wide listening zone. the janszens don't seem to require your head be locked in place, but vertical changes and anything beyond 2-3' side to side loses the magic. vertically there is a very distinct line. it's almost like the difference b/w halogen headlights vs HID.

these are all small quibbles. I am very intrigued by the effortless grain free sound. no sibilance or etch even with some of my fairly bright recordings.

the only real concern that I have at this point is the increased power consumption of the janszens. they are not efficient. I have run out of steam with my 50w triodes. This is not good. I will have a conversation w/ david and keep you all posted.

my settings on the speakers is tweeter -3, air layer -8 and bass 0. just fyi.

I know that I seem to be the only one posting replies here, but I thought I would try to further clarify the "headphones" comment.

I remember hearing a similar effect one time while at a private concert of Chris Issac. I was seated center stage not more than 8' from Chris. The speakers for the small auditorium were actually on plane with me to either side. The amplification was not turned up particularly high and I could hear the actual acoustic guitar and his voice in the natural while also hearing the amplified signal from the pa system. When I moved to behind the plane of the speakers the sound became very typical. But the magic returned once I re took my seat.

This is a very similar effect to what I am hearing from the Janszens. Take that for what it is.
I'm sorry if this violates Audiogon convention, but I'd like to weigh in, just to state that the effect is headphone-like, in terms of immediacy, but is not "in the head", like the sound from headphones and some planar speakers is.
I am keeping the Janszens. A great speaker that suits my listening tastes much better than the myriad of other speakers I listened to in comparison. I have yet to hear the Nola, but I will at some point and decide then what differences I hear. Some may find close to 10k for speakers paltry, but I do not find it insignificant. However, I feel like I am getting my money's worth. What sounded like lossy compression on other 15-20k speakers the Janszens revealed as distortion in the crappy quality music files I sometimes listen to for background music.
$10K "paltry"?? Hardly. Congratulations on your choice, you made the decision the right way, with your ears and in your room.