Looking for speaker recommendations

I retired a couple of years ago and as a hobby have become a bit of an audiophile.  I need some speaker advice from those of you who know more than I. 

I listen mostly to classical and jazz. System is on most of the day for background music.  I do more critical listen from 8-10 in the evening at low volume (50-60 db.)

Been buying and selling gear and my current system is a Mac computer, Teac UD-301 DAC/preamp, Classe CT-2300 amp, Vandersteen 2CE signature speakers. My listening space is a 20 X 18 foot living room with cathedral ceilings. Due to WAF restrictions, the stereo system is in a corner of the room with the speakers 10 feet apart, directed at my listening chair that is 12 feet away.  

The Vandys sound nice but I suspect they are too directional for my listening space and style.  I am looking for a speaker that has a more fuller sound stage and will fill the room with sound. Speakers will need to have a better WAF than the Vandys. (Wife does not like the black socks on the Vandys.)

I prefer to buy used and am looking in the $2-5K range.

My current short-list for speakers is-

Legacy-Signature SE

DeVore-Gibbon X

Any advice/recommendations would be appreciated.

0faf33e0 81db 4b8b 93c4 563be307f7762tuby
I can only speak to the Devore’s, but I love my Gibbon Super 8’s. It seems as though the Gibbons have a house sound; realistic tonality, deep and wide soundstaging, and a very focused image. Non-fatiguing and organic, the speakers disappear in my 12' x 16' room.

BTW, a pair of the DeVore-Gibbon X is $15,000 new.

you are on the right track with the vandersteen, but get the 3's and up.  I don't know what kind of gear you are pushing, but tube preamps do a good job of filling the room up with sound.  try these, alon 1's or II's or the psb stratus silver or goldi the second generation of that line.  I don't know where you are but you can find them on line here and there at a good price.....someone has a pair on line for $700 somewhere.  
I recommend a pair of Ohm Walsh's. 3-D imaging from anywhere in the room! Performers right there in front of you! I have a pair! Well within your budget - and nicer looking!
+1 on the Ohm's. I would call John Strohbeen (Ohm's president) and see what model they recommend. I would think the Ohm Walsh Tall 2000 would work in that size space. They have plenty of beautiful finishes. They literally sound great anywhere in the room AND they have a 120 day home trial!
I have seen the Ohm website. Rather different speaker design. I have been looking for several months on Audiogon and USAudiomart for used Ohms and there are very few.  Do people keep them or do the have a small market share?

Has anyone ever listened to the Ohm 2000 or 3000 and Vandy 2CE sigs and can offer a comparison?

I own the Vandy 2ce Sig II's and have heard the Ohm 1000s.

In my opinion, the Vandy's are at times enthralling and other times lackluster. It all depends on the source material. If you throw a reference CD at them eg, Fleetwood Mac-Rumors, Steely Dan-Gaucho, etc. They can be absolutely sublime and thrilling. I've also found in my room, that they can get congested in the mid-range and lack detail in the top end.

If you listen to acoustic jazz like Ray Brown or Bill Evans they sound great. It seems the more sparse the music (like Muddy Waters) the more enjoyable they are to listen to. Once the music gets dense, like I said, they can get congested. I find that I just can't throw any old CD at them, sit down, and enjoy the music.

I demo'd the Ohm 1000s at their shop in Brooklyn, NY. It was in a warehouse setting, so the environment was not exactly optimized for critical listening. However, as other have mentioned, the sweet spot is literally everywhere. I was able to roll my chair around and not have to worry about being in a +/- 3" listening window.

The Ohms seemed to have more air on top in the treble. I was able to hear more detail. In general they were just very "fun" to listen to. I threw on the Police, Led Zeppelin, Rush and it all sounded "good." I found that the Ohms lacked the mid-bass punch or slam that the Vandy's have. And being a semi omni-directional speaker there was a vagueness with respect to imaging where I couldn't really identify where instruments were located in the soundstage.

I would love to hear the Micros or 1000s with a set of subs. Also, from what I was told by John and Evan? is that all of their speakers are designed to sound the same. They are just sized differently to suit the size of the environment they're placed in.

To me, the Ohms are the ultimate speaker for hosting guests or for entertaining. Everyone in the room would have access to clear wonderful sound. I may still get a pair of the Micros if they ever come up cheap just for that purpose.

Not to go off topic, but I just placed an order for the Tekton Electrons and expect them to be delivered within a week. I'm very excited to hear them.



Why not look into Tannoy? Their cabinets are beautifully made, and they are outstanding in sound quality. The drivers are Dual Concentric, and come in 10", 12", or 15" size with commensurate cabinet size increase as you go up the line.

Best of luck, regards,
Here's a nice pair of Nola Vipers with upgraded drivers at a big discount. As dipole speakers they'll probably sound much "bigger" in your room.


You might also consider a pair of Joseph Audio Profiles or even Pulsars as they'll have the imaging you're used to with the Vandys but with a more even off-axis response that may do a better job sounding good in the rest of your room.

Just a couple ideas to chew on, and best of luck in your search.

You chose well with the Vandy 2ce's. I would not consider them 'directional'. When properly set up, they are one of the most transparent speakers for the money. Did you follow the set up for the Vandersteen speakers?
I won't disparage Ohm's, I really like the way they sound, but Vandersteen's are in a higher league In my opinion.
If you want to move upward, get a pair of Treo's-much better than the 3's and much more WAF'able.
I think you should contact John Rutan at Audioconnection. He is an Audiogon member, so you can PM him. He will give you the best information for free, and never pressure you.

Out of those two speakers that you listed above I would definitely go with the DeVore Gibbon X but as one of the member said above that these speakers retail for $15k/pair new and I wouldn’t think that you would be able to find a used pair for within your budget of $2k to $5k.

I would also throw out some speakers that I think will be worth considering :
A used pair of Sonus Faber Olympica line, a used pair of an older Revel Ultima Salon, a used pair of Vienna Acoustics Mozart, and finally a used pair of either B&W 803 D2 or used pair of B&W 804 D3.

Your Classe CT-2300 amp will pair really well with these B&W speakers and will sound really good together. But your weak link I think is your DAC/preamp. You will need to upgrade your DAC/preamp. Upstream electronics such as DAC, preamp, etc are very crucial and will determine the overall sound quality of your setup and system. You already have a great amp. Your Classe CT-2300 is a spectacular sounding amp but your preamp/DAC needs to be upgraded to a better one. You should look for a used Classe CP-800 stereo preamp/DAC. It originally retailed for $6k but it was discontinued last year and nowaday can be had for around $3k to $4k used. This will pair well with your Classe CT-2300 power amp and it will be a big improvement sonically from your TEAC UD-301 DAC/preamp.
I highly recommend that you connect using USB cable from your computer to its rear USB DAC inpit port. The Classe CP-800 is optimized for use with its USB DAC input.

All in all, I think your Vandy speakers are fine. Your weak link is your TEAC UD-301 DAC/preamp. If you like, you can move up the Vandy line if you like their sound profile. Again, it's all about personal preferences / tastes and musical tastes when it comes to speaker choices. 
Audionoobie (aren't we all?)-
You seem to be where I am in this audiophile hobby.  I like my Vandys but I think I can get better sound. (If you do not look you will never find it!)

I read the hype on Audiogon for the Tektons and was attracted to them too but not enough buy them.  Please let me know what you think of them
I think that the Ohms will be different than the Vandys but not  $3-4K better. I think I may give the Ohms a home trial. 

I have been looking for a less expensive Gibbon and have not had any luck but I will continue my quest.
I agree that my DAC/preamp is the weak link in my current system.  As an audiophile newbee I have two questions-1) Do you believe that I should replace the DAC/preamp before the speakers?  2) Do you believe there is a discernible difference between a $1K DAC/preamp and a $3-4K DAC/preamp?
I recommend Evolution Acoustics Mmmone speaker to you.
It looks good but with nice tumber and clear sound.
It will meet Waf.
I have the Vandy 3A's. I've discovered that proper setup, room placement, is a huge factor in how they sound. I'm fortunate to have a dedicated listening room, so I can do whatever works within the constraints of the room itself. My only concern, given your listening preferences, is that they tend to really open up when driven a bit harder than it seems you listen. .............As for "Mamma", well, I'll grant you that they won't win a beauty contest, but you're paying for performance, not looks. As in women, beauty costs money:).............Best of luck!!
Totem hawks. Amazing sound, hit lows and highs, first order crossover, long throw scanspeak revelator and mb tweeter are beautifully paired. Great soundstage, full sound. Detailed without crapping out when source is not ideal. 

Like power so your amp will kick it out of the park. Peachtree dacitx works great for me. Vinyl rips from my brother and apple music only.  
2tuby; I think that you would be well served to spend forty or fifty bucks to acquire back issues of the Absolute Sound and Sterephile, especially their issues with "editors' choices" and "best of"  recommendations.  It will get you some good reading and expose you to both a wide range of speakers and DACs that are in your price range.
I like these forums, most people mean well, but they can get confusing. Reading over back issues of both of these Mags may give you a better idea of what to choose from. 
good luckps chk out the forum on Road trip to demo $10,000 speakers  and you will see what I mean.
Low WAF means a ton of $$$$ went into crossovers and drovers, veneer while pretty consumes $$$$
however you cannot pick two more different speakers....
flavor changes are understandable.....
consider a pair of Vandersteen 5 and run them with rear tweeter on when wandering
turn tweeter off during critical listening...
or Obelisk as others have said.....
and your preamp is holding you back....
have fun !!!!!
Is there a discernible difference between a $1K DAC/preamp and a $3-4K DAC/preamp?

Yes. 3 to 4k you are in the quality used range. Audionote 3.1 is unbelievable it is a tube dac. It changed my audio direction all together. I went out and purchased a Audionote 3M line preamp (under 3k$) to match. All powered by a Bryston 3Bst.

I changed from a NAD M51 dac with Bryston B1 preamp. I had many quality speakers including a fully active Linn System.

Back to speakers. This AN system has made all my speakers soind good. I conected a set of restored  KLH model 6, a sime late 60's 2 way, I could not beleive how much betwr they sounded. Next were my JBL 100's, all the dreded peakes were gone. It  is adifferent listening experience.

My point is, even the best speakers can only reproduce what you feed them. Start with your dac and pre. I think you may find your solution.

Look into Audionote. Good luck. 
I agree regarding DACs and preamps. For a combo Dac/Pre, $3 to $4K moves you into a much higher level of build and sound quality.
My original advice was to look for an upper level Devore used. But, if you were to purchase a separate preamp such as an Audio Note and use your Teac DAC for now, your opinion of the Vandersteens may change. A very good tube preamp combined with your amp would very likely transform the presentation of your system.

Full disclosure, I'm also an Audio Note owner...Dac 2.1 Signature and M2 Special linestage.


Yes there will be huge improvements sonically when using a $400 DAC/preamp vs a $6k preamp/DAC. Your upstream electronics play important role as they are the ones feeding the signals to your power amp and speakers. If you feed them with garbage the overall end results will be garbage too. Garbage in garbage out.
Since you have a Classe CT-2300 power amp I recommend that you get the matching Classe CP 800 stereo preamp/DAC and the two will pair well together. Besides the CP 800 stereo preamp/DAC has been discontinued last year and nowaday it can be had for around $3500 to $4k used. This will be the cheapest solution for you. You can always get better ones but will probably cost more. 

Your Classe CT-2300, which is basically the same amp as the CA-2300, is a wonderful sounding amplifier. You can also get a good quality tube preamp plus a standalone DAC/streamer to potentially change the tonal character a little bit. 
Auduo Research, Primaluna, Cary Audio, Rogue Audio make great sounding analog tube preamps. I would look for a used one. The Rogue Audio P7 is highly regarded by many and I would strongly suggest that you look into that. But you will still need a standalone DAC with these tube analog preamps. Your Teac UD 301 DAC wouldn't cut it. 

After you upgrade your preamp/DAC or preamp + DAC you might not even need to upgrade your speakers after all. Or you can always move the Vandy line if you like their sound profile. They are great sounding speakers IMO. 

Are you close to NYC ?
I am 50 miles from NYC

 What are you thoughts on the Classe CT-SSP for two channel music? There is one for sale now. I know it was designed for  for home theater surround sound and so a lot more electronics.

I wouldn't get the Classe CT-SSP/SSP 800 av preamp surround processor if I were you. The CT-SSP does not have a USB input. It does have HDMI, spdif (coax digital audio), and optical digital (Toslink) inputs. Lacking USB input can be troublesome if you want to connect your computer to stream music files. 
Don't get me wrong the CT-SSP/SSP 800 sounded great for two channels but I would wait and get a stereo preamp/DAC or a DAC + stereo preamp. From time to time I spotted a Classe CP 800 stereo preamp/DAC here on Audiogon. This one has USB DAC input and will perform better than the CT-SSP/SSP 800. 

There are also countless other options out there as far as the DAC/preamp options. PS Audio Direct Stream DAC is awesome and has built-in volume control / preamp and recently there are quite a few of them offered for sale here on Agon. This will even be better than the Classe CP 800 stereo preamp/DAC.

Benchmark also makes spectacular sounding DAC for the money and they have built-in volume control as well. 
I have couple model to nice working in you room and feet you 
budget . Tribeca-001 and Urban-001. You can listen  Staten Island
any time
I will start looking at DACs.

Thank you all for your sage advice.  
Anything from Focal's Aria series is quite nice, I currently have a pair of Aria 906's that run around 1500/pair. They are standmounters but if you're into full range their tower speakers from the same series are wonderful. Very airy highs with lean but punchy bass. 
You should definitely reach out to John Rutan at Audioconnection (that is his tag here on Agon, should you want to pm him). He is in Verona NJ, so near NYC.
He knows just about all the manufacturers and can give you lots of free advice, with no hard sell.

Having read about the PS Audio Stellar Gain DAC and the Benchmark DAC2 or Benchmark Dac3 can anyone offer pros and cons between the three DACs?
i have heard the benchmarks in brother in laws system including Vandersteen 2 ce sig, very very musical....i have no experience with the PS Audio

Have not heard the PS Audio Stellar Gain DAC.

The Benchmark DAC 3 is very detailed without sounding digital - no harshness or digital glare at all

I think you you can try it and return it if you dont like that level of detail/precision.

That said, changing speakers will make a much bigger difference than changing DACs, IMHO.
Unfortunately, you will not find the Devores used for even twice your max budget. John is 3 months in waiting and the used market has soared. There is a used pair of Silverbacks for $7800. Even The Nines are in the $4k range and I have these. The 96’s are unbelievable speakers but you cannot find a pair with the newer drivers for less than $8500. They will fill any room and are on the extreme side of efficiency! As much as I love Devores they are not holographic in sound. I got used to electrostatics and still feel confined by the box. I am auditioning a pair of Emerald Physics with DSP. Maybe this will do it for me:)
Who am I kidding? Nothing will do it for me for long. I have audio sickness:(
1st question: how big is your space?

DEFINITELY DO VINTAGE/USED:Rarely do you find them - but if you find a clean pair of GERSHMAN AVANT GARDE RX20s, or even the more recent AVANT GARDES, you could be happy for a lifetime. Do your internet research
... Sorry - found your room dimensions. Reinforces my recommendation. Speakers with a 1'x1' footprint, 3' tall that visually disappear in the room, and throw a wide soundstage - with a high WAF. Reproduces acoustic piano and voices amazingly, and will rock you when you want. I'd suggest that Gershman Avante Garde RX20s fit the bill...
Justvinagestuff, we were a Gershman dealer and if this gentleman turns up the speakers to fill up that room he might blow a driver we had that happen to one of our clients. 

He needs a much bigger and more capable speaker. 

The Legacy's are amazing and a terrific bang for the buck loudspeaker.

We have them on display so if he is 50 miles outside of NYC this might make a nice little trip for him. 

We also have Paradigm, Kef, Dali, and many other top notch loudspeakers. The new Quad Z4 are amazing sounding and are brand new for $4k a pair.

The Quad with a good subwoofer will outperfom many much more expensive loudspeakers, their ribbon tweeter is exceptional smooth yet detailed, without the ribbon sizzle that affects many loudspeakers


Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ

You definitely need to take care of your DAC/preamp first before upgrading the speakers. Your Teac UD 301 DAC/preamp just can’t do justice for the rest of your setup and system. I recommend either the PS Audio DirectStream DAC with Perfect Wave ll or the Classe CP 800 stereo preamp/DAC. Either of these will be a big step up sonically from your Teac UD 301 DAC/preamp and will elevate the overall performance of your setup/system to the next level. Even the Benchmard DAC2 or DAC3 will be significant improvements from what you have now. Your Teac UD 301 DAC/preamp is fine for just playing background music but not for critical listening. 

Your Vandy speakers are awesome IMO and you can always change up speakers anytime you wish but first you will have to upgrade your upstream component(s) (DAC/preamp) first for critical listening. 
It all comes down to personal preference and taste and musical tastes when it comes to speaker choices. There are countless options out there. 

Wharfedale Dentons or diamonds. I've also heard good recommendation on the Focal. Go to music direct order them, give theme a listen and if they aren't your cup of tea return them. Best of both worlds.

@justvintage I agree and have a cłean pair of Gershman AG’s with boxes should the OP be interested. @2tuby it's a great value for money speaker.
Ok time for the curve ball, I have a pair of Decware HR-1s.
They are hybrid-radials, the WAF is within spec, and they are more forgiving on placement.

Due to your listening style, and content, I feel these would be a spectacular choice.


I own two Decware amps, and I have met the maker of the HR-1s, he truly is an artist and fantastic guy!

Hope this helps,
Magnepan 1.7i. I have heard them twice, once with a Prima Luna 35 wpc tube integrated and also with a pair of Bel Canto class D mono blocks. They were shockingly good both times!
About two years ago I bought Sonus Faber Venere 2.5 for about $2700 and love them. The richness of the music is better than any speaker I have ever had, especially for strings, voice, jazz, piano and rock and roll. I am not a fan of large ensemble music but when I listen to a symphony it produces a very large sound stage.

I've auditioned a lot of speakers including the Magnapan 1.7i which I like, as well as the 30 when they were in a store in my area. I have listened to Linn, KEF, Focal, Magico, and ProAc but the Sonus Faber please me the most, especially for the price.
Look into Usher Speakers 
 You might want to take a look at the Vivid Giya speakers like the G3. Your wife will absolutely love the look… Or absolutely hate it. And you will most certainly love the sound.  They will play very loudly without distortion, and have a wonderful imaging.
(Wife does not like the black socks on the Vandys)
Perhaps involve the wife in choosing new colour socks to replace the black ones or consider replacing the wife.
Richard Vandersteen produces one of the best value speakers and the Model 2CE is probably the value leader. Properly set up they are convincing, outperforming many more costly alternatives.
As others have mentioned, replace the front end. Your power amp is fine, try a good tube preamp and new DAC. Think Denafrips.
This combo will enthrall you IF your room will allow. By that I mean paying attention to room treatment.

Install some bass traps, perhaps the same colour as the Vandy's new socks :)  and absorbers at the first reflection points. This addition alone would transform your system and with new preamp and R2R DAC your jaw will hit the floor. Hope its carpeted.
I had a pair of OHM Walsh 2's, i bought them beat up and dropped them off at OHM in RedHook, BK. Talked with John over the phone, within 2 weeks he refreshed and refinished them at a reasonable cost. I saw a bunch of veneer samples and ended up getting the redone in a beautiful maple finish.

I had them for about 4 years and i will say that i have havn't heard a smoother mid range in that price category. The Omni directional design makes them really enjoyable to listen from anywhere in the room, they sound very lifelike when you are hearing them from a different room then they are playing in. My only complaint with them is they lacked low Bass, they did not dip as low as modern speakers tend to do these days. That said they were still very punchy, i found them most enjoyable for Jazz programming and music up until the late 70's is where they shined.

They can be found for a couple hundred bucks, OHM now offers upgraded super drivers so you can get the Bass extension but its a bit expensive and at that price point you have many more options, i had mine redone to stock trim. You dont see many omnidirectional speakers at that price point so they are worth a try. 
Wharfedale dentons just came out with 85th anniversary edition with 6.5” woofer. Very musical and warm, pleasant and voiced vintge. Not fatigueing or tiring. 

Totem hawks I think are out of this world for me
The one quality I have found with my Focal 926s is they fill up the room.  https://www.audiogon.com/listings/lis95c90-focal-aria-926floorstanding-speakers-excellent-demo-full-...

But I agree with outhers about upgrading the DAC