Journey ending speakers


Listening to to my  stereo last night thinking about what upgrade I may do in the future. May upgrade my CD player or change phono cart or a new arm? But one of the things I will never change is my speakers. My journey has ended with the speakers I have now. Are you like me and have your forever speakers? Oh mine are a set of 30 year old 4 way JBL  Studio Monitors 4345s.
ricpan
I just got the speakers I've wanted for a few years now, the Vandersteen Quatro's.  Will they be my forever speakers?  Possibly, but there have been so many great advances in materials over the years as well as manufacturing, that the newer stuff is so much better than the older gear.  Not saying your 30 year old speakers aren't great for you.  Your ears are the only thing that matter in the equation.  I'm just saying that I hear what properly implemented carbon fiber has done for drivers.  Newer resistors and caps.  Better internal wiring.  Being able to measure internal resonance in cabinets and choosing the right thickness and or materials used in the cabinet all change the sound and usually for the best.

Those are MY reasons why I ended up with the Vandersteen Quatro's, but I can't say that I'll have them for life.  I can say that I usually own a pair of speakers for a minimum of 10 years on average.  I only got the Treo's because I could afford them, but I knew I'd sell in a couple of years to upgrade to either Quatro's or something else if I liked them better.  After listening to over 50 speakers, I chose the Quatro's and had them painted in Audi Havana Black.  LOVE THEM and that's all that matters.  
What I like about the older large foot print speakers are they push a lot of air and the sound hits you in the chest. By the way the rest of my equipment is modern.
My one-off Tannoy HPD (12" Dual Concentric drivers, ca 1975, custom built crossovers and enclosures), are my forever speakers. They cost in the $5K range to build, with very high quality parts, but I firmly believe I couldn't afford this quality of sound if I were to buy new. I do love them, and will die with them, and hand them down to my children.

Dan
Does anyone build custom speakers that sound great? I know Michael Green Audio can do it, semi-custom at least.
Discovered ATC 23 years ago. Only upgraded to the bigger models over the years...absolutely no reason to change even though I keep hoping someone will make better speaker...
ProAc Studio 148s with SEV9 Soundocity Outriggers.  Love the sound and the bang for the buck (about $3200 total).  Don't see myself spending more or getting different ones.
Canton Vento Reference 1.  Never say never, but likely journey-ending for the primary system.   Can't imagine swapping them out unless they break or I get forced into a small room.  I'll probably die with them, as suggested by domestic threats that I will be buried in one of the crates in which they came.

Thinking about trying tweeters from the 1K, though.  Not 100% sure, yet, whether they are close enough to be drop-in.  If not, will try to build speakers around them at some point.

Surely will monkey around with speakers everywhere else, though.

Von Schweikert VR55 Aktives - would be happy to keep them rest of my life. Best I have heard so far and I have heard many in homes and at shows.
I've had the big Quad ESL's for 10 years now, and don't ever plan to change. Augment, maybe ...
ATC SCM50 active.  Absolutely incredible.  Finally listening to music the way it was intended to be heard.
I have had 6 speakers in the lsst 5 years. Recently I bought Martin Logan  latest 11-A Loudspeaker With a active 24bit  crossover, dual powered woofers per cabinet premium parts And upgraded throughout . I have done mods for years 
The only thing I could find was just upgrade 3 capacitors to premium Mundorf,
And clarity caps, stock  sounded very good ,after mods better still. 91 db efficient for a Electrostat panel is very respectable.
My seating means 4 ft distance needed for others L to R and the so called sweet spot As with Any speaker is in the Middle. Having 1/3rd of the panel curved gives a much wider window then a flat panel. The speed of the panel is 2nd to none .
$10k retail is not cheap but I got them for under $8k in cherry cabinet. and with Bass drivers firing front and rear per speaker 550watts per side 2 ICE amps per cabinet with Bass room correction taking the room out of the equation with midbass,as well as low bass adjustments in room Bass to around 26hz in my room is very respectable, and SPL levels  over 110db possible which is severe ear damage level which I will never play at  .
The realism and involvement is far better then Anything they have made previously .Designed still in the U.S,and hand built in Canada. I had up to $16k to  spend 
And I could not be happier with my decision. One thing they won't do though is sugar coat a poor recording.  You will hear even more so any distortion artifacts ,that being said a average or great recording  puts you pretty close to the event.
Excellent replies as above. Thiel CS 2.4SE  loudspeakers for me.
Happy Listening!
I don't consider myself to be on the "up-grade" merry-go-round but as far as speakers are concerned I don't think the journey ending variety ever existed....JMHO.
A lot has to do with available $$. ,how old ,and how soon to retire.
When younger the sky is the limit. I will be 60 next year there for I am getting closer to last speaker based on the above .something to consider by many
Baby boomers.
I hear you. I'm retiring next year. I actually have two sets I'll have when I die the JBL 4345s and a great set of Bozak Concert Grands on my second system.
I don’t change gear or speakers often. Too much effort and expense. The third pair of speakers I have purchased over a 39-year time span will likely be my last - Ohm Walsh 2000s, each with their own Vandersteen 2Wq subwoofer (with M-HP5 crossovers). I do get to hear a lot of speakers through my local audio club and shows in my area, and so far, nothing in the price range I could afford (under $4000/pr) has appealed to me enough to make me want to switch. Add to that looming unemployment, and I think I am all set. I occasionally get to enjoy long, pleasurable listening sessions free of fatigue. So, barring a lottery win or an inheritance from a rich uncle I didn’t know I had, I am set. Plus, Ohm claims a 50-year life-span for the current line, and I have had mine since 2009. So, the speakers will likely last longer than me.
Acoustat 2+2 electrostatics, built in 1984. I first heard them in a boutique hifi store 30 years ago when I was in my early 20s, and dreamed of owning them for a long time. Purchased a pair six years ago, updated the caps, and I haven't found anything better for my listening room/ears. I've been through half a dozen different amps to drive them, and will probably continue to look for the best match. I've heard plenty of very good speakers since, but nothing that presents music for me like the 2+2s.
I plan to treat myself at retirement to these speakers or something similar.
Magnepan 3.7i with (added) fast subs or the Vandersteen Quatro Wood CT. I really have not decided on amp/preamp yet.
JBL CS 3115 I picked up for $150. Almost got some L300 but for the price I think I'll stick with these for a long while.
I'm another older guy approaching 60 and now have the speakers I'll very likely finish out with:  Dynaudio Confidence C1 Mk II's.

I went from pretty good floor standers (PSB Imagine T's) to the superb Dynaudio stand-mounted monitors late last year after spending several years being amazed by the extremely high resolution + extremely low distortion of my HiFiMan HE-500 planar-magnetic headphone rig.  I decided to try to find loudspeakers that could give me close to that level of accuracy and clarity (with the true-to-life soundstaging only speakers can provide) and I think I've gotten as close to that as I'm going to get with the Dyn's.  


Focal 936’s are doing it for me. They take advantage of better gear very nicely. I don’t see them going anywhere anytime soon unless some kind soul throws a fair of Sopra No.2’s at me.
Zu Audio Definition Mk. IV 
JBL 4350A and  B units. that's all. Hey ricpan one more step up left.
Ctsooner  i'm glad you love your vandersteens  but I had to chime in and correct your statements. All these so-called advances in materials are mostly bunk.   A good old paper driver is still king for musicality. You can assemble a system with eighty-year-old technology that will sound better than everything at the shows. Now I'm not disputing the fact that material advances have made better capacitors and resistors but as far as in speaker technology I'm not buying. 
My system consists of a pair of Oris horns with Fostex drivers and separate tweeters.  I have a pair of TAD 15 inch woofers that are separately by amped.  The horns and tweeters are run by a western electric 300 B clone and the woofers are run by a sumo Polaris solid-state amp. 
 I am very familiar with Vander Steen sound  having on the pair for numerous years and I have heard your speakers  numerous times as well. I'm sure your system sounds very very good and it will probably do a few things better than mine but likewise my system will do a few things better than yours. If all of these  advances were so great your modern system should completely obliterate mine with it's 80-year-old technology.  Rest assured that would not be happening. 
 I feel the need to try and correct these types of statements because I feel that they are driven by marketing simply to cause people to spend endless amounts of money and never exit the merry-go-round. 
I bought B&W 804s in the 80s. Never thought I would find anything I would like better at a reasonable cost. But, basically to prove how good they really were, I purchased a set of Tekton Double Impact speakers as a "trial". Thinking the Tekton build-up was all hype and to really test the quality of the 804s with a newer speaker. Didn't work out that way. The Tektons displaced my much loved 804s. So I figured the DIs were going to be my bucket list speaker. Well, until Tekton announced a Special Editiion verson of the DIs and agreed to let me trade the standard ones in for them. Waiting on those now. Sometimes constants change...
I too believe I have finally purchased my last set of speakers. I recently bought a pair of Ohm FRS 11's and did the rebuild of the cans to the 3000 series. Hooked up to my Nad 375 int amp and SVS sub which I really don't need, they sound incredible. Warm, rich, depth. Nice crisp highs. A very wide spatial sweet spot. And they will outlive me. Having owned some very good PSB Imagine T's and Energy RC70's, and I still have my original Infinity reference studio monitors and a pair of JBL L26's. The Ohms have really impressed my ears listening to bluegrass, to classical, to jazz, to pop, to alt and heavy metal. Just my honest opinion.
My Classic Audio T3.3 speakers with Field Coil drivers will be my forever speakers for sure. 

I have worked hard through the years and listened/owned some great speakers. Those included Vandersteen 3a, Magnepan MGllla, Magn
apan Tympani IVa, Dunlavy SCV, ESP Concert Grand, Avantgarde Duo 3.2, Edgarhorn Titan II, Living Voice OBX-RW. Some I am forgetting no doubt but this covers most. I know a lot of these are old designs  but the point is they were dynamic, panel, horn, high efficiency etc. I missed out on electrostats.

No speaker can do it all for everyone as each excelled in given areas. A lot also has to do with your soul mating and what you consider "class" amplification.

As I approached retirement I wanted a smaller foot print speaker that was full-range, could be driven easily with tubes, and drew me into the music and did everything that music stands for. 

For me those speakers are the Gamut RS7i which I now own and love dearly.

Speakers are a personal thing as is all the rest in this hobby so enjoy the journey if your wealth allows you to do so.


Vandersteens  good choice , Also try the Totem Sky,JBL 4312 SE ,And take the house down Cerwin Vegas XLS 12
Raidhos have done it for me. Though now I would like to move up within their line :). Luckily, all the models share the same sound, just the scale gets larger and the soundstage gets bigger. While the d series fleshes out more details, I don't think the c series is a slouch.
  Hi Ricpan, nice choice to END with . I'm a long time JBL lover . But I must warn you , stay away from Westlake Speakers . Some years past , I went to a friends house to check out his new mixer . He had purchased a used pair of Westlake BBSM-15's , then rebuilt all the drivers through Orange County Speaker . Made some heavy stands ala Sound Anchor and ran them bi-amped with a pair of Bryston 4BSST's. All I could say was WOW , followed by a song request , then a couple more . We OLD FOLK , tend to revert to our youth and add some upgrades . I have JBL and Klipsch in the Rotation . Been grooving on Zu for the past year . You either Love em or Hate em . Went back to tubes also . Now I'm trying Morrow cables . Anyway , big speakers with big power , yield big air movement ! It's like having a ZZ Top concert in your living room . Anyway sounds nice and I can relate to your taste . If you get bored , try an active crossover and tubes on top . And no matter what people say , you can never have too much power with original JBL's. Happy Listening , Mike. 
 

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I'm gonna step up here and defend technology. A lot can be done with paper, but the best of paper involves computer modeling. I do think there are better materials than paper. Designing a speaker using the latest design tools most certainly makes a difference. Materials and R&D have definitely produced more flatly responding speakers. Nobody walks into a store and is asked if they prefer east coast, west coast, or British sound anymore. The definition of quality sound has certainly narrowed and become more nuanced. 
I could care less about technology or lack thereof, what sounds good sounds good. I've had my current speakers, original JMlabs MicroUtopias for 10 years now. Very good speakers well suited to my room. Recently pulled the trigger on a pair of Audio Note AN/Jlx's which I hope will be my last speakers. At the advice of Vu from Deja Vu getting the original drivers not the new blue hemp drivers which Vu says makes the speakers sound a bit too dry. Very excited!
Speakers are the most personal of all the other equipment. Room needs to match the size of the speakers so the 4350s would never work. House is paid for and ain't going anywhere. I have a friend In town with a great set of 4350a the are nice if you has the room.
As I've said before: never trust any audiophile who says he has found his "journey-ending speaker" until he's on his death bed.

Most of us feel that way when we are enamoured with some new purchase but then after a while, whadyya know, something new comes along (even if it's the new version 1.2 of the same gear) or that itch just makes itself known again.
ove lost count of the number of audiophile friends and acquaintances who said if some component "this is it!" only to see them rave later on about the gear that replaces it.
ricpan--"House is paid for and ain't going anywhere."

+1!
My modified decades old B&W 801 are the ones I will always keep. My father (not an audiophile) mistakenly bought these studio monitor speakers, which sounded flat... awful -- they have built in casters, no less. Over the years I tried many different amp, pre amp combinations to no avail. Finally, I decided to give them one last chance and replaced the circuitry. North Creek's external boxes, each containing approximately 30 lbs of copper wiring, made for the perfect speaker, at least in my price range. In addition to the B&Ws, I've owned Polk, KEF, ML, Cambridge Audio, Cerwin Vega, JBL and others.
Powering the 4345s biamped with McIntosh MC2500 500 RMS for the 18" woofers and mid, horn tweeter, and super tweet with the MC275VI.
Tannoy for me.  Currently have Definition DC8 and am saving for Turnberrys or Kensingtons.  Been through many speakers!  The Tannoys just engage me like none of the others.  Music flows from them first, and then the usual hifi adjectives follow secondly.  Best.......
@inna Deja Vu Audio makes amazing custom speakers, they source vintage drivers for them and they are amazing if you have a large room.
There is only one journey ending speaker, and I own it. Get your own. ;)

Then again, when I sell mine, you can have a journey ending speaker, too!
Klispch LA Scala's do it for me! I also have B&W and a pair of Magnapans, Klispch is still my go to pair of speakers! 
I absolutely love my McIntosh XRT28's. 6'5" tall with a small footprint, creating a gorgeous wall of sound. They're definitely going to the grave with me. Or I'll be buried inside of them!
The speaker bar has moved I'm afraid, the new B & W 800 D3 is the most realistic sounding speaker I have heard to date, after auditioning for the last 18 months. They unfortunately do need a minimum of 200 hours to fully come on song, so a run in dealer demo pair to audition is a must. The rest of the manufacturers will now have to play catch up to match them.

the good news is pricing is in reasonable territory, compared to their peers, looks are an acquired taste, they however grow on you - especially the piano black finish.

Absolutely the last speaker I will purchase, and enjoying being closer to the musical event, than ever before, magnificent ....... !
Douglas-Schroeder, thats funny you forgot the name of your journey ending speaker. 
joejoe,

The post was clearly a parody of the notion that there actually is a "journey ending speaker".

Dave
analogluvr,
 " All these so-called advances in materials are mostly bunk.   A good old paper driver is still king for musicality."

What you forgot to add is, "For me..."

I just can't understand why some people, and they are mostly analog lovers, think that they have "the best"  and everyone should like what they like.  It just doesn't work that way.

I bought a pair of Apogee Slant 6s years ago and I have been partial to ribbons and electrostatics ever since.  


I will second Jond's recommendation of the DejaVu Audio custom speakers.  I recently bought a pair using a YL Acoustic midrange horn and compression driver, and they sound very nice in my opinion.  However, two days ago I heard two new designs at Vu's store and I was just amazed at how good they sound.  So the target is always moving forward.  
analogluvr326 posts08-05-2017 8:24amCtsooner  i'm glad you love your vandersteens  but I had to chime in and correct your statements. All these so-called advances in materials are mostly bunk.   A good old paper driver is still king for musicality. You can assemble a system with eighty-year-old technology that will sound better than everything at the shows. Now I'm not disputing the fact that material advances have made better capacitors and resistors but as far as in speaker technology I'm not buying.
My system consists of a pair of Oris horns with Fostex drivers and separate tweeters.  I have a pair of TAD 15 inch woofers that are separately by amped.  The horns and tweeters are run by a western electric 300 B clone and the woofers are run by a sumo Polaris solid-state amp.
 I am very familiar with Vander Steen sound  having on the pair for numerous years and I have heard your speakers  numerous times as well. I'm sure your system sounds very very good and it will probably do a few things better than mine but likewise my system will do a few things better than yours. If all of these  advances were so great your modern system should completely obliterate mine with it's 80-year-old technology.  Rest assured that would not be happening.
 I feel the need to try and correct these types of statements because I feel that they are driven by marketing simply to cause people to spend endless amounts of money and never exit the merry-go-round.

There have been so many versions of the Quatro that its hard to know which one you  heard.  You are happy with what you have, so often times folks aren't out auditioning or when they do, it's not seriously done.  Materials have changed speakers a lot.  To my ears, it's easy to notice the nuance in music.   Most people who love the arts and music are not analytical.   This often explains the wide diversity in especially expensive speakers.  

To my ears, as well as many others who have heard all my systems, they hear a very large positive difference between the Quatro's, the Treos, formerly the Proac Supertowers (my original) as well as when they were rebuilt with new drivers and crossovers.  

No need for you to correct anything I posted as I stand fully behind my thoughts.  These are things that I and other have heard in my system.  Going from the ceramic coated tweeter in the Treo to the carbon fiber is a major step in dynamics, a more realistic presentation and much more detail.  

The other thing is that changing just one to a few components or even all of them in a crossover, can give major improvements in a speakers sound and they are positive if implemented correctly.  I feel strongly that Richard Vandersteen has done this as he auditions every single change in his speakers.  He isn't hand making his carbon fiber cones just for marketing purposes I assure you.  

I love hearing folks who love their older gear. I too love a few items I still own, but newer can and often is better to so many that it keeps the industry moving forward.