YOu'd be hard pressed to beat the Merlin VSM-MMS that are for sale right now at $2.9K
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I love my Spendor S8e's... they do all music exceptionally well. Just read all the reviews on these speakers... everybody seems to be of the same opinion. But, then listen to them, and see for yourself. I'm using them with a Musical Fidelity A5 CD Player, ARC VSi55 Tube Integrated Amp (50wpc) with SED Cyro KT88's, and, of course, MAC UltraSilver Cables. This is great sound that you don't have to mortgage your house for!
sorry, as a big merlin fan, I can say not a chance are they pop speakers. Not even close. Don't even bother as they are not even in the ball park. Good as they are, you will not be happy. You like pop/rock, loud?? you must go with a three way speaker period. Try legacy or vmps even cerwin vega would be chosen over small two ways by 9 out of 10 people who listen to your type of music. Yes I have tested this theory out many times. No I dont own cv's but I do love merlins really.
I agree with Mahandave here. I too am a *big* Merlin fan and find them excellent two-way speakers... That said, for Rock and the like, Legacy Audio indeed would be a good place to start. If you have a large room, you may be able to find some original Legacy Focus speaker (not the 20/20 model) for under 3K. If your room is medium sized, some used Legacy Signature IIIs will do nicely.
At your price point I think you should really try to hear the new Consonance Eric Grande speakers. I downsized my system from Von Schweikert VR4 HSE III to these Consonance Eric Grande and I can't believe how good they sound for the price and size. They list for $2800 new. I also listen to everything and don't want speakers that only shine on one genre of music. Good luck and I hope you can audition several of the suggestions.
I was thinking about the title "All around" not the specifics of the post. I agree that if you want a pop/rock sound there may be other choices. Vandy 3Asigs with a lot of current are a good "all-around" suggestion, but again, not really a pop/rock speaker. Von Schweikert 4jrs might be a good choice. Used would come in right under that #.
The Revel F30 speaker is an excellent choice.
There are a couple of pairs of these used here on Audiogon.
(Two different finishes to choose from too!)
They run about half of your budget, so you can afford to either upgrade another component too, or you can buy some more software to listen to.
It is a full range speaker, so rocking out will be no problem! (The only caveat is that they are not the most aesthetically pleasing speaker, IMHO.)
Check out the reviews of this speaker here and on Audio Asylum for more opinions and information.
My two cents worth!
I love my own speakers on all kinds of music, rock included. Depending on the size of your room a used pair of JMlabs Micro-Utopias, or even Mini-Utopias if you can find them would be great. I have the micros in a fairly small room and don't feel the need for a sub, in a larger room I might. With the Mini though, no way. That's a little speaker with a huge sound. And I gaurantee both of these would be considerably more transparent than anything listed above with the possible exception of Merlins. Lastly they are very easy to drive, I'm using about 20 tube watts. Whatever you choose just remember to have fun with the process, take your time, and listen to as much as possible.
look into the tyler acoustic speakers. they are factory direct. you can call them and ask to speak to ty lashbrook. i have two pairs of their speakers and they are at least to my ears the finest speaker i have had. by the way you are not paying the HUGE markup costs of a non factory direct speaker as well. at the 2005 T.H.E. SHOW, robert e. greene from the absolute sound rated the speakers and company as one of the best at show. if you can, try get the diapollito design speakers. the design works great in most rooms. all you need is to match the size of your room with the right speakers.
I agree with Swampwalker, Von Schweikert Audio is a very good choice for your preference in music. Over the last two years, I've become a big Von Schweikert fan. I've heard all the new models from the VR-2 to the VR-11. There is not a weak sounding speaker in the entire line. I currently have the original VR-4s as my main fronts, the VR-2s as my rears and a LCR-15 for my center. I listen to basically the same music as you do and I'm absolutely giddy with the performance of my system. I recommend you get a listen to what Von Schweikert Audio has to offer, you will not be disappointed.........John
I would strongly recommend Zu Cable's Druid: I auditioned the Definition recently (above your price range) and they rock out, great quality and very under priced. The Druid's are in your price range: great thing about both are very high sensitivity so you have felxibility with amps.
Another would be Anthony Gallo's Reference. Fantastic and again extremely good and competitive at its price.
In fact I have made the same two recommendations to a friend who is embarking on setting up his two channel system: first foray into the high end. Both in mind are giant killers though sound very different.
Without a doubt I fully recommend Usher speakers in the 6000 series. They are simply awsome for all that kind of music. The only thing I have no personal experience with "yet" is classic music. I'm looking into getting some soon but wanted to wait for my new Teres turntable built before I delve into better quality music than classic rock and jazz. My Usher 6371 performs up to par to the Sonus Faber Domus Piano speakers. Big, balanced and full sounding. More detail than the Sonus Fabers but a little brighter so far. Still only have 60 hours on them.
Funny thing is. They don't sound bright when I play Nora Jones. I think they are truthfull to the source. My bright japanese LP's sound bright. Well mastered LP's sound like they should. Not bright at all. But then again. I don't like the laid back sound of the Vandersteens I auditioned. I bet people that like and are used to the Vandersteens would think the Ushers are bright.
Aktchi..I can only comment from brief experiences with both...my only exp is 2 hrs each at a retailer so take this with a grain of salt....plus I am more of a jazz/bluses/rock lover.
Gallo has more air and extension on the tweeter and perspective is bit more mid hall. I also listened with and without their bass amp and I definitely thought its better with it...without it I think it does not do bass as well as Druids which are stupendous...the mid range perspective is more upfront. both are coherent across the freq range, but the druids can be driven by basically anything so if you like low pwr SET amplification then Druids are definitely worth checking out...the dynamic capbility is simply stunning and ahead of the Gallos. At any rate, I think both are superb and well worth checking out in this price range, both are in their own way giant killers. I personally can afford something more and am looking into things, but if my budget was restricted to this....then these are the two I would be comparing ...and probably struggling too!
Save yourself a lot of money to buy cd's . Check this audiogon thread and seek out a pair, they smoke most under 4K a pair. I went with them after owning MUCH pricier speakers, and I am happy at last. A no-brainer for the money...