The Triton 5 is a great value for the money and gives the listener wonderful performance, but I am looking for a speaker that give me a more lifelike and large presentation. When listening to a symphony orchestra would like to hear all players on the stage. In short, larger presentation with more realistic detail.
Wow, that is such a hotly contested price point! Your list so far is great.
New Magico A3, Used Sonus Faber Olympical III(actually available around $7K, and great for your symphony sound stage requirement),
Legacy Audio Focus SE, Used Rockport Technologies Atria(stretch budget to $12K), B&W 804D3, Used Revel Ultima Salon II(stretch budget to $11K)
Am setup to reproduce large orchestral works with stunning accuracy/soundstage and use Tekton speakers. The Ulfberht is available a simple black version for 9k. If you can handle the size and utilitarian design, it will accomplish your goals in spades. Throw a great deal of clean power to it and you're in the concert hall. You'll get a lot of negative feedback here about Tekton speakers but listen to owners -- they tell the true story.
Kjl1065, your three speakers are exactly the ones I was considering. All good, but I chose Sonist Concerto 4 because the other three had a somewhat Technicolor quality that I felt gave more sound than the actual instruments, although I'd probably prefer that quality if I was still centered in rock/pop. I did like the GE Reference but a foot too tall for domestic bliss.
Over the past year or so I have been trying to find speakers for my home in that price range as well. I have tried only a few as it’s hard to find dealers that have what I really want to listen to. But I have listened to the Vienna Acoustics Concert Grands a couple of times as well as the afore mentioned Aerial 7T’s. My last session with VA has ruled them out so I want to hear a few others before I decide. But so far the 7T’s have made the best impression on me. I did also hear the Kanta at AudioFest but conditions weren’t optimal for a purchasing judgment. I have heard the Olympica 3’s and the Focal Sophia 3’s but really not sure I want to spend that much. It seems the local dealers either have ultra high priced or low budget speakers on display, so 10K is a tough target, at least in Colorado . I want to hear the PSB, Monitor Gold, and the new Revel 228 BE, I currently own F32’s. But if possible listen to the Aerial, I think you will be quite impressed.
As a side note I did listen to the GE New Reference model, and I feel the Aerial was far superior. ymmv
Most of what we are going to say is mirrored in other threads to which we have replied here is our take on this subject.
There are a lot of good speakers in this price range, you need to identify what are your priorities aside from just bettering your current speakers and these issues include things other than just sound.
1:Are looks important?
2:Is the loudspeakers size important?
3:Is the long term sustainability/servicability resale important as some of the smaller companies may or may not be around 10 years from now
4:Do you prefer to purchase new and gain dealer/manufacturer support or is used a viable option?
Then determine sonic issues, the Golden Ears and the Golden Ear Reference are not the last word in detail, like it or not Golden Ear uses good well made drivers and parts but these drivers are not state of the art in design compared to more exotic and expensive European drivers so a Heil AMT is not a Heil AMT.
We were going to be Golden Ear dealers and had the Aeon 2 left at our shop for a few weeks the speakers were good they were not amazing compared to the LS 50, we brought in the Quad Line the S2 which uses a real ribbon tweeter and those sounded amazing and could challenge the LS 50. So one Chinese sourced and built ribbon vs one Chinese sourced and built AMT are similar equations.
Considering you have 2 excellent subs, you may not need a speaker with very deep bass, so in terms of what you want to get superior dynamics are usually from bigger more robust designs however the dynamic ability of a speaker also comes from the electronics and your tube amplifiers are probably not the last word in kick.
So with this in mind you need to be a bit more specific in what you are looking for these are the questions we would ask you about the sound:
1: How loud do you like to play?
2: How important is imaging, do you want a big wash of sound or is the specificty of the image more or as important.
3: How much resolution do you crave? Sonic flavors run from the warmer camp: Vandy, Harbeth, Proac with soft domes, Golden Ear, Legacy, vs the more detailed camp, Paradigm Persona, KEF,Focal models like the Kanta, Rockport etc.
4: Are you prepared to buy without listening as some of the choices listed here may not be demoable unless you drive or fly to a larger city.
Hope this helps give you some guidance on to some of the things you may need to also consider.
Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
I would recommend an in-home audition of the Ohm Walsh 5000. At $6600 a pair, they will save you some cabbage, and I would stack them against anything mentioned so far in this thread. The only one I hacve heard that I think might be a bit better is the Carver Amazing, but you need a high cieling for it.
Bondmanp, Omni directional speakers are a love hate thing, honestly most people don't like them, if they did everyone would be making such designs at last count I think there are four such designs: MBL, Ohm, German Physics a Walsh clone, and the Candian Electrostatic product.
The issue with omni directional speakers is the image is very large and very unfocused, also the sound may be bouncing all over the place due to reflections, over the years have heard most of these designs, give us a direct radiating loudspeaker which is tunable anyday.
Soix so far heard the Carvers at several shows and they just didn't sound right to us at all, where did you hear a pair sound good, most of the show reports haven't been flatering.
Salk does make some very interesting designs with very good drivers, howerver, if detail is your thing, a pair of Paradigm Personas offer a pure Beryillium midrange driver and tweeter so the sound if very coherent and the Paraigms are quite dynamic and image extraoridinairly well.
The Salks use a ceramic midrange driver with a Raal ribbon two very good but different sounding drivers, have heard ceramic midrange drivers over the years they all sound slightly hard in the midrange, although they have great detail, hence Kharma moved away from ceramic for this very reason.
The other issue with a company like Salk is actually hearing a pair because they are factory direct means no dealers and hence difficult to audition.
Drive or fly to a big city and you most likely can hear Kef, Paradigm, B&W, Magico Rockport, Wilson. etc.
Kji if it is possible take an audio vaction to NYC and you can hear almost every conceivable reference speaker you would want.
Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
Can you provide a link to the show reviews that express displeasure with the Carvers speakers? All I have been able to find is glowing reviews about them. I think you’re making that one up. However I did find one dude on I think "What Hi-fi" who thought the image was too high. Probably because when you stand up the image rises with you.
I now own them and after about 200 hours of breakin they sound fantastic!
@Dave & Troy - Have you actually heard the current line of Ohm Walsh speakers? (To quote JGH, "if you haven't heard it, you don't have an opinion.") Yes, they are not everyone's cup of tea, which is why I suggested a home audition rather than an unauditioned purchase for the OP (who, like anyone else, won't know if they love them or hate them until they hear them). FYI, the Ohms are not full omnis. They have attenuated rear propagation, and a conventional dome tweeter. IME, and I have owned the 2000s since 2009 when they first went into production, they are capable of producing fairly solid images of performers within the soundstage. No, these images are not lazer-sharp, but again, IME, they mimic the sort of imaging one hears in a live performance. Yes, much of the sound is reflected off of the room walls, but the designer clearly factored this in to the design, with, to my tastes, excellent results. I cannot speak for other brands, but owners of conventional and panel speakers who have been to my home to hear my Ohm Walsh 2000s have generally been impressed, although, as you said, they are not for everyone. No speaker is.
My impression of the Carver Amazings, which I heard at the 2016 Chester Group show in NYC, was very favorable. YMMV, of course.
To the OP: Auditioning is indeed extremely important. Furthermore, auditioing in your own home, with your own gear, and with your own music, is, IMHO, essential to making the best possible purchase of a loudspeaker that you will be happy with in the long term. If you go the B&M dealer route, insist on such an in-home demo for at least a few days if not a few weeks, not simply a brief in home demo with a dealer hovering, and telling you what you are hearing, rather than your own ears doing that. In your price range, you should find dealers who will accomodate this for you.
I believe you’ve made those statements about omnis before, and my reply this time will be similar.
As for "love/hate" thing, I’ve rarely (actually never) encountered someone who hated my omnis, and rarely seen anyone state a hate for omnis in general.
I think the omins that most people are aware of, and most encounter at shows, are the MBLs. They get some bad comments, but usually those are confined to remarks about tonal balance (’too bright’) or the volume (they were played too loud! As we know MBL for some reason loves to crank their demos).
But MBL also get tons of rave comments, and being so expensive most people don’t go on to own them. Rarely do I see people saying they "hated" the MBL or an omni due to, for instance, the imaging - usually that’s one of their most impressive characteristics.
As to unfocused, that like any speaker depends on the set up, room etc.My MBL 121s do not strike me as unfocused (and I have some of the most focused-imaging speakers out there, in the Thiel 3.7s/2.7s). Their imagine sounds to me quite natural. (My room is pretty well damped, which would contribute to this). Listening to some well recorded vocal tracks (for instance one album, a tribute to Nick Drake in an Elizabethan style, with voices recorded in a great acoustic space), vocalists sound more like hearing real people (with eyes closed) than on any other speaker I’ve owned. That wouldn’t be the case if they didn’t image accurately or realistically.
And I’ve heard the MBL 101s in well treated rooms, in which their imaging was as realistic, in terms of palpably focused images of voices and instruments, as any speaker I’ve heard.
Just adding some more user experience to the conversation.
A good general rule when considering loudspeakers: Any really fine pair of transducers should be able to realistically reproduce all genres of music. In the case of smaller monitors or stand mounted speakers, augmenting the bass with quality subwoofers can get you there. Never buy speakers that do not sound good with a particular genre of music as you never know what music you may be exposed to that floats your boat and you might want to listen to on a regular basis.
Ulfberht in soft-gloss black - $9000 Pair on special. I own them. They are an amazing value at their normal $12K price but you have to have enough room for them. They are large speakers.
I would certainly put Magico A3s on my short list.They have sold over 750 pairs thus far but you must match them with the best amp, preamp and cables. Don't listen to the Magico detractors listen for yourself.I would certainly not listen to dealers with something to sell you.Good luck whatever you get and please let us know.Thanks!!
Prof it is impossible to properly tune an omni, the effects of toe in do not apply to such a design, and for most people roon reflections will create a wide but unfocused image as you will be producing new sound sources via reflections, a well damped room and the right place in the room is crucial.
Have heard MBL many times over the years, they are one of the best of these types of designs, howerver, yet to hear a set whose image is believable most of the times the image is too large and lacks the pin point focus of the really good dynamic designs. The Mbls do have very good clarity and are very open which is a positive.
EBM Magico is a another love hate brand, many people find the Magico's boring and lifeless, also will they really work well on a tube amp, most Magico demos use high powered solid state.
We haven't heard the new A3 which may be tuned differently.
With a tube amp the great matches have been the Focals, Legacy, the Persona 3F from Paradigms are also amazing with the right tube amplifer.
Tektons would also work.
If the OP has GE and wants more clarity then a speaker with higher technology/better implimented drivers will be the key, most of the less expensive Chinese sourced Heil drivers or Ribbons or Planner Ribbons Hybrids do not have the upper octave detail, we had the same tweeters Carver used in our much more expensive Scaenas and they did not have amazing detail, slightly soft in the upper octaves.
If the OP craves more detail then the Sopra 2, the Paradigm 3/5F should be on the top of his list.
Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
I think if you leave this thread up long enough you will get a recommendation for almost anything on the market at that price point. You really need to do some legwork and figure out what aspects of reproduction are the most important to you and then focus on models that XL at that.
For example imaging and sound staging are very important to me so I love point source speakers such as Tannoy altec 604. Or maybe I would be tempted to try out a magna pan.But reading this thread there reccomendations that I really disliked. So while people rarely agree on what's best I think you get more consensus on what is best at certain aspects of reproduction.
Focal stuff is very 'true'....
upscale audio is running a sale at the moment.
one notch above the Kanta is the Electra 1038be...based on the utopia drivers.
as opposed to the Kantas being based on the next lower driver..Flax.
the 1038be are usually $9999
on sale now for 6999
they even have refurbished for 5949 !
I recently purchased the Focal Kanta 2 and have been very pleased with their sound. I listened to a lot of speakers within the price range of $10 to $15k and thought they were the best value. I also did a listening comparison between the Focal Kanta 2 and the Sopra 2 and didn’t think the difference justified the cost. I purchased them from Upscale.
I will echo what jdt7385 said on the Revels. I have Salon2's, and they sound truly incredible once I got my room acoustics sorted out. I have listened to the F228 BE's, and they have most of the best traits of the Salon2's. If precise imaging and linearity are at the top of your list, then I would say the F228 BE's are a great choice at that price point. The Revel's are power hogs, particularly in the bass. However, if you have a good crossover to feed your subs and offload some of the bass from the Revels, then they mate better with most amps in my experience. Good luck!!!
Check out the Bache Audio Tribeca-001 with dual 8's! Greg was a pleasure to deal with and they will custom make any type of color/wood. They sound amazing, so detailed and blow away all of my other towers I have tried. Save yourself some money and try out a pair for under $6000! Love the size, they really don't take up much of a footprint at all, and are the best addition to my audio room! I have a Bryston 4B3 hooked up to a Parasound PreAmp and Yamaha high end SACD player. Greg at Bache Audio in NYC has the best communication, awesome packing, and use only top notch components. I may even have him build me a pair of bookshelves to match! -Brett
You may also want to check out the PSB Image Tower 3’s. They have received the (one in every 10 years best speakers) and (you would have to spend 2-3 more to better) You can read the reviews on the PSB website. (TAS, Stereophile, HiFI+) they are easy to drive and work wonderful with a variety of music. They then improve by another order of magnitude when you place Isoacoustics GAIA’s under them.