Magico S5 vs KEF Blade 2 vs TAD Evo One vs YG Kipod II Sig w/pwr bass

Opinions please. All are Used and are the same very good price but The Y&G are $4000 less which is nice.

KEF Blade 2

TAD Evolution One

Y&G Kipod II Signature w/Pwr Bass module

Magico S5

Would love your thoughts any thoughts on any please! Being all used and in good shape these are all within $500 of each other used price but Y&G and those had highest list but know to be good used deals because they are pretty serious speakers.

I think as far as used speakers in the great value - now less than 1/2 price but still new enough to provide great performance these are some different but pretty serious speakers. Please any and all feedback totally welcomed and is super helpful 

Source: Bricasti M1SE DAC 

Preamp: Parasound JC2 Pre

Amp: Pass Labs X350.5 Amp

IC: Darwin TRUTH Balanced

SC: HiDiamond D8 w/Furutech

PC: HiDiammond P3 (7)

AC: HiDiamond HDX2 

Transport: microRendu 1.4 and full suite of UpTone Audio Premium Power Supplies (2)x LPS-1 and (1) JS-2 LPS - (2) Regens - ISO and Amber and custom Canare DC cables for all / Tellarium Q Black Diamond USB cable and Curious Regen Link

Room is 12 x 23 w/Cathedral Ceilings - 15 Foot a peak 

Music: Assorted Music no metal or loud hard rock anymore really - not much Large Scale classical either but everything else.

Likes: Transparency- Delicate-linear-Dynamic-Fast - high resolution-microscope but not sterile not etched or lifeless - I know there is a fine Line here but I'm looking to walk it and come out on the right side - but real see through into the music - transparent to the source because I love my DAC - there more everything else sound more like my DAC the closer I'm getting to where I want to go as close as possible - image and sound stage lover - tight bass - hate flab - like speed and transparency as my selection choices might speak to

Coming from: Rethm Saadhana V3 speakers which I love and are incredible but want to try something else. 

Love any feedback about matching or equipment matching or one or multiple of these - what you heard at shows or whatever. Love more Info on these.

128x128Ag insider logo xs@2xfsmithjack
No opinion on any of the loudspeakers, but your post should be used as a model for others about how to provide relevant information.

Good luck!
Post removed 
Onhwy61 - thanks so much - I posted on my phone and just noticed all the type-o's which just made my cringe but can't edit it now :( 

Thanks so much for the kind feedback! 
I heard the YG at a club meeting...they were offered to us for more than 50% one took the offer.....I thought they were not for me at all. Never heard the Blade, but that's what VPI uses to evaluate their products
I would choose between KEF or the TAD. The others two will be bass flabby (one of your concerns). 
Shadome - thanks for the response. Do you think Magico S5 will be bass flabby? I don't know myself thats why I'm asking -thanks for the taking time to respond. 
Wow this is a tough one, these are all good speakers here is my take as someone who knows all of these speakers:

1: Tad Evolution is a good speaker transparent not particularily great in the bass good sound stage never was blown away by the TADs includigng the big models.

2: YG in all the shows we have heard them they tend to sound okay most of the time, we did the New York Audio show in 2012 with the big Kef Blades on an all Chord setup about $125k  worth of gear and heard the $107 Sonja setup on all Solution a $400k setup and came away with the Kef Blades at $32k sounded just as good, here the Sonja's did sound very good, heard an old Kipod demo with dual Krells years ago and that demo they did sound very good. 

In comparison to the other speakers The YG are not as transparent. We heard the $25k 2 way model at the last New York audio show and was not impressed at all. You have to hear them for yourself. 

3: Magicos are a love hate speaker, they are very well made, have good bass but not super deep, good sound staging, to my ear they are sterile and lack musicallity, but others love em. 

Personally I would take a Focal Sopra over these, as well as used Rockport.  I would also recommend that you listen to the new Persona 5f very transparent, very holographic, with surprisingly deep bass, nice size and nice looking.

Sometimes buying new will get you a better sound for less or the same money as buying a used expensive speaker.

As a Kef Blade dealer I do think we are biased. Howver, they are really amazing when setup with good equipment, your Pass and Briscati stuff are good, I would ditch the Parasoud preamp it is okay it is not a great preamp no matter what the reviews say, we had a full Halo reference setup with JC 2 and JC 1 monos, Electrocompaniet gear sounded way better for not much more money.  We have a demo set of Blades with cosmetic damage at the same price as a pair of Blade 2 if you are interested. Damage is one scratch and the speakers need a new base. 

Look for a BAT VK 52  or a used Pass preamp, if you want a great sounding preamp a bit more tuby Cary SLP 98. Personally we much prefer a tube front end with a solid state amplifier.

Another option for you would be to listen to these speakers at a dealer with the proviso that you would purchase a dealer demo if they have one, you would be surprised how many dealers might have a slightly dinged up product that they would sell for the same price or nearly the same price at what many people sell used products for and you would get a full warranty and the service and support of a good dealer. 

Dave owner
Audio Doctor NJ
Thanks so much Dave!

Thats funny I actually have not pulled the trigger on the Parasound JC2 - that's the only thing I don't actually own yet but was going to pull the trigger on it today - I'm running my Bricasti direct now and like it but want a pre and thought JC2 at $1700 was a good grab.

 I don't want to meas up this thread and talk about pres but I will run the few cheaper ones I'm considering for feedback if no one minds.

I'm thinking about the JS2 - I've never heard it in my system but I never got to buy stuff while getting to hear it my system. I'm not going to waiste a dealers time and doubt they can match the used prices. 

I heard the Sopra 2 wasn't really that impressed but maybe it was the system but I'm looking for more speaker.

Rockport Atria 1 is the same price also but thought that the S5 or Magico would be better. I wanted to ask about YG because it's $4000 less.

Regardless of what I buy I don't want anything damaged - scratch is no problem but a damaged base unless it can be ordered and repaired I wouldn't want to get it home and have it be broken that would bum me out too much. Is regular blade a lot better than Blade 2 in my medium room 12x23? I would think it might be kinda small for a regular Blade but really don't know.

The speakers and shipping are eating up so much of my budget I wanted to get a pre for $2000 or under as an alternative to running my Bricasti direct:

for pres under $2000 I was thinking

Parasound JC2 $1,700
Wyred 4 Sound STP-SE $1,200
Cary SLP-98 $2000
Modwrite LS100 $1800
CJ Classic SE $1000
Audio Valve Eklipse $2000
VTL 5.5 $1800

Here are a few points, fof you to consider.

Your room is way bigger in terms of bass output due to the Cathederal ceiling, so a speaker with deeper bass is going to sound better.

Bass requirements in a room are based on total room volume , so a tall ceiling means you have a commensurate need for more bass output compared to a room with a shorter ceiling. 

As per our Kef Blades we can get a new base but want to sell the speakers first. The base is mechanically fine but the paint on the bottom came off due to an accident. 

Kef Blade vs Blade 2, Blades have considerably more bass and a bigger sound. 

The issue you have if you are on the short wall is you do not have a lot of room side to side, so after some delibration I would rule out the Kef's as the side firing woofers would play havoic on the 12 foot width.

Now if you are on the long side and have 23 feet width the Kefs will work well. 

Our demo room is 26 long by 20 wide with 10 foot ceilings, we are only about 8 feet away from the speakers and they work wonderfully as near field monitors. 

The Uni q, coaxial driver, enables the speaker to be very coherent and eliminates issues with imaging in a less then ideal setup. 

The Kefs are very transparent clean and fast, bass is prodigious and well defined. 

Another point the Kefs are very narrow and look good in many rooms.

If you are near the East Coast we have a set for you to hear. 

As per preamps it depends on where you want to go, Briscati is very neatural, Pass tends to sound a bit on the warm side.

Go with a BAT in your price range or the VTL they are both neautral yet are more satisfying to listen to vs the Parasound which is okay at best. 

You should get the speakers first and then listen to the setup if you want warmth go Cary, if you want neutral with good soundstaging and detail go with the VTL or BAT

Hope that helps. 

Dave Owner
Audio Doctor NJ

Dave - that info is awesome !!! 
I never thought about the high ceilings so thanks. Yeah they are high maybe 15-16 feet or so and I am on the long wall which is perfect and current set is Drivers 4 feet of back wall and about 8 feet away. I have Duel Sumiko S.9 Subs but really want to get full range and sell those but they are very good for their reasonable price.
Im on East Coast Boston.
please message me if those broken bass can be replaced and are same price as the used Magico  S5 then please pm me. 

On the basis of detail resolution, dynamics, and soundstage...

1.  Magico
2.  TAD

"Nuff said"
Not cheap speakers. Bricasti is showing in room 2013 at the RMAF Oct 5th. 6th. and 7th. The are showing with Wilson Beseech speakers this year. Should be worth while going. You will hear all the speakers mentioned, or the newer models by those makers. 
The base can be repaired. I would have to find out how much to fix. Other than that they are in good shape one small scratch on the top.

You are not that far about three and a half hours from us.

We have the Kef Blades, Dali Epicon 8, Paradigm Persona, Legacy speakers and tons of other cool toys for you to listen to. 

It would be fun to have you over for a visit

Dave owner
Audio Doctor NJ

KEF Blades + Luxman m900u + Luxman c900u. The amp and pre-amp are $15K each now (price lowered).

I have heard all of these separately for long periods at stores or shows. I have not heard them together but my feeling is this will sound great. There are at least 2 people on A'Gon who have mentioned that they have this combination.

A dealer gave me the following info on the Blades:
"Price aside the Lamm 1.2 references are amazing (27, the Burmester stereo amp 956 (19k) is really good and my favorite stereo amp for the blades, and lastly the Pass 60.8 monos (13,500pr) sound sweet with the blades"

I heard the TAD Evolution One, I did not like it as much as I expected. However, I have a feeling that the way the speakers were setup (extreme toe-in) was the reason it did like them that day. The room was also massively big so that would have had an effect.  I should have really liked this speaker but setup and room effects can mess all that up. These speakers were demoed with Audio Research gear. Someone on A'Gon is selling a pair now for about $14k and that price is pretty good. 

I heard the Magico S3 MKII and Magico S5 MKII at the last LA Audio Show, I was shocked at how much I like the MKII version of these speakers, especially the S3. The S3 and S5 were in different rooms with different gear. I was never a big Magico fan until I heard these 2 at the show. I have heard other Magicos before such as the Q7 for several hours.

1) Blades 1 or 2
2) Magico S3 MKII or S5 MKII
3) TAD Evolution One
4) YG

Thank you so much your feedback.

I would buy Magico S MKII in a second the problem is that they are just about double the price of others because no used ones. There are some great deals with Magico S1 MKI around $10k but that speaker I would think is not in the same league as these others or is it?
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You should also have a listen to the KEF Reference line and do a comparison to the Magico non-MKII versions. I think you maybe surprised at how good the KEF’s sound. The price is also a heck of a lot cheaper.

At the same LA show I heard the KEF Reference 1 (bookshelf) powered by the new Wyred4Sound monoblolocks and I was totally into the sound. I really like the stuff KEF is doing these days.
The $10,000 is for Magico S1 MKII

I know the S1 older version is not worth that 

I was wondering I guess how the 

S1 MKII is verse the older S5

i know less heft bass and slam but was curious if anyone heard the MKII in the S1

the S3MKII is way more money 
Hi @fsmithjack

I’ve heard the S1Mk II at Magico and my feelings are mixed, and curious. First, the good:

  • Glass smooth mid to treble.
  • VERY wide dispersion
  • Impressive dynamic range
The not so good:
  • VERY wide dispersion
  • VERY low efficiency
  • Bass peaks in lower male voice/low piano registers, both sound chesty.
  • In terms of bass, not among the best small speakers.
  • Treble has the classic Mundorf sound. Good, but scintilating/magical. Less realistic and more euphonic. Still far nicer to my ears than the best B&W/Focal or Wilsons (up until 2 years ago)

The wide dispersion is a pro and a con. Pro is very wide sweet spot. Con is needs a lot of space behind and to the sides.

So of all the Magico speakers, it makes me scratch my head the most about WHO this speaker is for. It is small but power and space hungry. If you are going to invest the floor space and amplifiers, it’s as much as a large speaker. It’s tonal balance will give you more details at lower volumes than other speakers. So it’s also not a live volume speaker IMHO.

The tonal balance is unmistakably that of a small speaker. Wee bright (but not ragged like brands mentioned above) and wee bit chesty. "Bright" may be the wrong word because it implies a graininess or unpleasantness. "Cool" may be better.

Q all the Magico fanboys who hate how I write and think I have no business talking about what I experience.


That sounds pretty accurate I would think. I mean all you wrote is how you perceive the sound via your own experiences and nothing you wrote sounded like a criticism to me.

I have the space 12 x 23 with 15/16 foot cathedral ceilings - I am set up on the long way so tons of space to the sides and can have 4/5 feet out into the room so my room has the space for your description - I have 700 wpc/4ohm Pass Labs X350.5 that is warm and may work well with the Extemded Diamond tweeter - and I'm not a bass freak by any means but of course like every Audiophile love good bass and I don't listen at crazy SPL's - Low to mid 80's 98% of the time.

In this set up how would you think I'd like the S1 MKII compared to S5?

Is the new mid range and tweeter that much better?

i would guess the S5 to be a overall better speaker but really have no real idea?

Q3 or S3 MKII just way too much more money and would be off to the KEF Blade but I have a man crush on Magico's for some reason.  

Really, KEF? Not even in the same zipcode as Magico or YG. The TAD is just plain harsh, so even though it's detailed, it'll drive you batty. I've also seen people recommending Focal... Must be jokers, for sure...

The S5 will definitely be more forgiving and will work with your Pass Labs. But given the lower price on the Kipods, and the fact that you already have the beefy amp that they require, that's the one I'd go for.

Given your listening habits, you might be even happy with an original YG Carmel, not the 2. Long wall setup, 4-5 feet off the back wall, just a touch of toe-in = gloriously deep sound stage.


Based on your room and equipment I think the S1 Mk II was actually made for you. :) The combination of your gear's own warmth and the S1's coolness may be ideal. To be fair, I think some of that coolness (but not all) also came from the Berkeley DAC, but everything was driven via CAT tube preamp and a huge tube amp.

If you like lower volumes, I think this is an ideal speaker for you, and damn, you have the power they will need already. I strongly encourage you to listen to them.

One thing is they are short. Perceived images will always be a little low, compared to taller speakers with mid's and tweets higher off the ground.


Post removed 
I wish I could afford the S3 MKII or Q3 - thanks so much for the response though !!! 

To put in perspective - we are talking $10,000 to $14,500 

Here are the ones that have / are being considered.

I need a pre too so less on speakers leaves room for a pre :) 

Magico S5 - $14,000
Magico S3 - $11,000
Magico S1 MKII - $10,400

KEF Blade - $14,000
FEF Blade 2 - $13,750

Focal Sopra 3 - $12,000

Vivid K1 - $14,200
Vivid B1 - $6,000

YG Kipod Sig II Pwrd $10,000

Rockport Atria I - $12,500

TAD Evolution One $14,000

Revel Ultima Studio2 - $6,000

Raidho XT-3 $7,000

Verity Sarastro II - $10,000

if you guys had to chose right now what the best speaker for the money - the money matters but can afford any one on this list and buy them now - today - what ones - any jump of the page ??? 

Thanks so much !!! 


Magico S5
KEF Blade 
Sopra 3 - maybe I just like them for some reason but not at same level everyone likes to point out. 

Best Value maybe:

Varity Sarastro II - $10,000
Vivid B1 - $6000
Raidho X-3 - $7000

Decisions - Decisions :) 

You should go to Rocky Mountain Audio Fest in Denver about two weekends from now. You can see and hear most if not all of these speakers in one place.

Given the amount you are going to spend it is a worthwhile trip. Who knows maybe you will find a too good to refuse show special.

If you like the Magico sound you should pay attention to comments from ebm.

My choice from your list would be Rockport, and my choice not from your list would be Wilson Benesch.

Best Regards,

Jim Perry
Thanks Jim - appreciate the feedback!! WB - I should check those never thought of them. There is a pair on here - the model 60 or something with 60 in the name and he says only ones in US but seem older and kind of expensive but only because I know nothing about them!

thanks again. 
" Really, KEF? Not even in the same zipcode as Magico or YG. The TAD is just plain harsh, so even though it’s detailed, it’ll drive you batty. I’ve also seen people recommending Focal... Must be jokers, for sure..."

Jokes on you buddy, Go for a hearing test, get’ em fixed, and then go and listen to everything listed here. The Blades, to my amazing ears, are the best of the bunch. They disappear to the point where you do not even know they are there,. All the other speakers do not do that, Even with mid-level amplification the Blades do that.

The Magico’s are alright but nut in the class of the Blades in this disappearing act. The Thiel CS 3.7 was also good at that. My second choice over anything listed in this thread.

BTW - $$ do not represent the best. Individual tastes matter and also marketing.
Lol... That's funny I thought you were killing the Blades - people either love them or hate them though that's for sure. I would have thought they would have more fans to be honest! 

As the prices I listed above show most are 40% to 60% off retail and I'm not going to go to a dealer and use them just to listen when I know I'm buying used for the simple reason of 60% discount is not something they could swing unless they had a trade and they are close enough which none are.

Dealers have it tough enough without me using a room a buyer from them could use but I do wish I could hear these with my gear in my room.

The thing I keep hearing about the Blades is too much bass - too bass heavy and the Blade 2 helped fix that but who knows. It could have been the room. I have the room for the Blades being 12 x 23 with 16 foot cathedral ceilings set up on the long wall and I love imagining. 

Blades are in the race!

thanks so much for the feedback - it helps - maybe I shouldn't listen to people and have their input effect my decisions but I do and especially when I'm buying em blind.

Live without a net - well at these prices if I hate my choice I should be able to get my doe back to put to another but reaching out to all the aphiles on here to try and avoid that if I can.

Thanks all! Keep the feedback coming please !!! 
@fsmithjack in my experience the secret to Magicos is inserting tubes somewhere in the system. With your Parasound and Pass I worry it will sound sterile as Magicos too often do when shown with big SS amps at shows. If you are inclined to adding a tube pre it may work very well. I match my Q3s with big VTL amps and an ARC 40th pre and often get comments along the lines of “these don’t sound like Magicos”. Btw. Magicos, esp Qs, love gobs of power but your 350.5s should be well up to the job
Thanks and I totally agree. I actually put a stop to the SS JC2 pre. One of the guys responded to me earlier saying a similar thing and I totally agree so I nixed the SS pre. 

He recommends the real warm Cary SLP-98 which is nice device or a CJ ET3. I have always been a fan of certain brands for certain things. I love Nelson's warm and transparent SS amps and been a fan of BAT preamps.

Been thinking my Pass Labs X350.5 might match up nice with the reasonably used priced BAT VK50SE which seems to go for around $3k used. I say this pre because I know it is a pretty dynamic and neutral pre for tubes but it's tubes. Think that might be a good match for the money?

As a dealer selling Blades as well as lots of other great gear, this post goes out to many of you who dis the Blades.

We did the 2012 New York Audio Show with the Blades in a system with Chord Reference electronics and an Esoteric D02 dac. This was an expensive system with $30k amps a $20k preamp a $22k Dac etc.
Total system cost around $100k

I went down the hall to listen to the GTT room, YG Sonja $107k Solution amps mono blocks $80 or $120k a pair, Solution preamp $40k Solution Phono stage $40k digital was also very very expensive figured the room was around $400k.

The reality of this demo was his system was good it wasn’t better then ours for 4 times the price, Blades were $32k vs YG Sonja $107k pretty steep difference.

The issue comes down to Audio Snobbery the concept that the dedicated tiny company always builds better products than the big guys it isnt true.

If you ever read the Kef Blade technical guide which details the lengths that the Kef engineers went to reduce or eliminate distortion and advanced driver research it would boggle your mind how many unique technologies that their engineers concocted in terms of desiging and implementing the Blades.

The Kef engineers also spent around $3 million dollars on this project. Wilson in their entirty has never spent $3 million on anything, nor does Rockport, YG, or Magico. They can’t these companies yearly sales are probably less than $10 million a year companies the size of Kef are around $100-300 million a year in global sales.

I have never liked Magico always too dry, never musical. TAD reminds me of Rahido impressive resolution but not musical enough, and a tad too bright.

So the idea that a Kef or a Paradigm can’t build a speaker system which can compete with the best in the world is bunk.

A properly setup pair of Blades can easily do battle with a pair of Wilson Maxx 3 and a pair of their $110k replacement.

Only one English reviewer had the balls to say that.

The American press is too cowed by the advertising dollar to call out this fact.

The sound in our room was awesome, deep tight room shaking bass, a huge three dimensional sound stage, and remarkably clarity.

As per the gentleman who was proposing a set of YG Carmels or Magico S1 get your acoustics straight.

The mans room seems small at 12 * 23 but when you factor in the Cathedral ceiling at 16 feet you are basically doubling the amount of air the speakers have to move, so acoustically in the bass the room appears quite large.

You guys are also missing the point that the Kef Blades behave as a point source radiator and works extremely well when and if you are sitting close to the speaker. The Blades sound like a gigantic mini monitor.

They have the pin point imaging of a tiny speaker with gigantic sound stage and thrilling deep and tight bass and there dynamics are ridiculous, crank up a pair with 300-400 watts and they just get loud without strain, or distortion.

Dave owner
Audio Doctor NJ

One thing to consider....I think running the Bricasti directly into your 350.5 is going to be superior to the level of pre-amp you are looking at.  Bricasti volume control is very, very good.  Consider putting your pre-amp money on the speakers for now.  

Sit tight a little while on the Magico MK II price....go take a nap and there will be MK III.

One other speaker to consider since you mentioned Revel would be the Salon 2.  Buying used, you're getting a whole lot for your money plus it would have excellent synergy with Pass and Bricasti.
I was thinking of writing exactly what tDimler wrote above. With your DAC I do not see the need for a preamp (at least in the short term).

I was going to suggest the Revel  Salon2  since you mentioned the Studio2 above. I had the Revel Salon 1 in a large room for many years. I enjoyed the heck out of back then, it had the best bass. The Studio2 is maybe too small for your room. However, I find that the KEF LS50 ($1.5k sort of similar on top to Blades) has better top end than my old Revel Salon1 ($20k speaker). The used prices on the Revels are pretty good. You can enjoy something like that until the next iteration of the Magico's come out and drop the price of the MKII's.

BTW - A speaker I really want to hear is the Yamaha NS 5000. It is supposedly the only speaker in the world that is using the same material for all 3 drivers. Check out what Doug Schneider said about them from the Tokyo show. He made a passing comparison about them and the Magico's. Yamaha is another big company that can put money into research.

I'm thinking of the Rethm Saadhana. What are you looking for that the Saadhana's are not giving you now. 
Are you using your PassLab amps to drive the Saadhana? These are hi eff speakers so seems an overkill. 
I can't soeak to the speakers in your list but I did listen to the Kef Blade 2 at CES. Was seriously thonking about it since I like single drivers or at least coaxial, coherent drivers like the KEF. I was underwhelmed bythe Blade 2. The bass units on the side gave a soundstage that I was not used to. FWIW.
I thought about the Revels Salon2. I mentioned the Studio2 because for whatever reason they 1/2 the price on the used market to Salon2 and certainly not half the speaker which messes them up with me. Also

The Salon2 is only $1000 to $1500 less than:

Magico S5
Kef Blade 
Rockport Atria 

and I would rather have one of these 3 above. 

I love the look of Sopra 3 in one of their cool colors and they can found for around $12,000

Are they really as bad as everyone says?

ive heard they are a good party speaker and decent but not a legit hiend speaker with the genuine resolution and over performance envelope of the 3 listed above or the Salon2 or even Sudio2 for that matter?

People real serious about high performance speakers seem to hate them so thought to ask. Not hate them but state they are no where even close to a Magico or Rockport or Blade. Too bad they look awesome I think in red or orange would be cool! 
Ddriveman -

if you read a bit earlier (not sure if you did) I wrote how the Rethm Saadhana V3 are absolutely amazing loudspeakers. World class! They are incredible and the best speakers I've ever owned or really ever heard and Ive heard a lot but so many in crap hotel room like all of us so that doesn't really help but still outstanding!

Fantastic speakers but I'm just looking to make a change but I'm no dummy (well maybe I am) and I'm covering my back side because they are too good to take the chance and I'm keeping my Rethm's in case I like them better than my new ones. Then I'll just flip the new ones.

Much less stress that way! Then I'd be traveling and forced to go to dealers to listening in fear of screwing up. Got myself a little insurance policy! 

That's why my audio funds are so tapped out and I'm scraping the bottom barrel to scape out a bang for buck preamp. I kept my old speaker. Instead I sold my TT, my Carts - had some good ones, 4 amps, linestage, phonostage, CD transport, extra cables and scrapped up every nickel. So I could swing keeping both sets of speakers at the same time.

The goal is for me to love my new speakers then sell my old speakers and probably upgrade my amp and get a good Pre or just get a Killer pre and maybe a modest table. VPI Prime Signature or something decent but nothing crazy. Tables can get crazy quick! 

With my Rethm speakers - when I bought them new I was so amazed by them I ordered an extra pair of $6,000 drivers still in wooden box never touched. May sell them or include when I sell my Rethm's but they don't sell these drivers and they are incredible. The best full range driver there is in my opinion.

I had tons of awesome - awesome amps for my Rethms - esoteric SET gear like Triode lab 2A3 - Yamamoto  45 - Fi 300b - Audio Note 300b - First Watt J2, F2J, F5, Bakoon and others. All were great! 

The Saadhana speakers are absolutely incredible but I'm getting the itch and looking to scratch it.

Rather then high efficient speaker with low power amps I'm taking a trip down the other end of the spectrum and going for semi-low or much lower efficient speakers and high power amps. 

Gonna tryout what the slam - multiple driver crowds been digging! Get me some good full range slam and some hard core SPL's but doubt I'll listen loud often. Not really my thing.

You know how it is. Just because you have a vet doesn't mean you drive it hard and fast all the time. It's the some of the time when you want the horsepower and you get the urge to stomp on it - it's there and I've got the urge but make no mistake I am fully prepared / hope not but prepared for my Rethms to wipe the floor with whatever I buy.

Thats why Im trying to get a really good speaker so it has a fighting chance against the Rethm's.

I got the Pass Labs beast to go with my new speakers but you know what the crazy part is? It sounds fantastic with the Rethms. Much like he First Watt J2 just not as lush and as warm. The J2 is a flat out tube amp made out JFETS. No idea how he pulled that off but thats why he's the master. Love Nelson he's the man. Wicked good guy! Email him - you'll hear back in 10 minutes - guys the best! 

Thanks for the response and feedback guys - it's helping - keep it coming! 
Guys my room is bigger than I thought. Kind of psyched about that.

Guy here helping us with getting a kitchen island he had a big enough measure tape.

25 x 14 feet with 16 foot ceilings that have what looks to be 12 pitch. He said ceilings are high - maybe 17 feet so my rooms a bit bigger.

Right now tweeter to my ear in sweet spot is 10 feet out so it's a bigger room - not huge but big enough for Blades or S5 or any full size I think. 
I've listened to Kef Blades several times and they just don't do anything for me. I currently own Monitor Audio PL500 IIs. If you get the opportunity give them a listen. I'm going to listen to Magico S3 MKII this week.
Been thinking my Pass Labs X350.5 might match up nice with the reasonably used priced BAT VK50SE which seems to go for around $3k used. I say this pre because I know it is a pretty dynamic and neutral pre for tubes but it's tubes. Think that might be a good match for the money?

I have my 250.8 matched with a Simaudio 740p and the two together are amazing.  I've never heard the 350.5 but based on the forum here I've heard a few folks say the .5 is a little more warm/tube-like in the mid-range where the .8 is a little more detailed. 

I didn't find the 740p added any forwardness to my 250.8 (with my Magico S1s) but the imaging and depth of the music exploded.   I was skeptical to pay a lot on a preamp after driving a Berklee Dac 2 direct into the 250.8, but I found the sound a bit analytical and a little flat with the Dac direct.  The 740p ended up giving me the largest overall gain to my system of any component I've added lately; I was amazed a good preamp could make that much difference.   The S1s make any up-stream change very noticeable, for good or for bad. 

I would imagine the already lovely midrange on the 350.5 would only sound better with a VERY neutral SS preamp like the 740p or something similar.   I've never heard the S5s but assuming they are no more forward or analytical than the same generation S1 I have, I think 350.5+740p or something similar (Pass XP-20 maybe) + S5 in a large room like yours would be amazing....  Cheers


You really need to listen. It depends on your taste. Do you like 1 a totally neutral accurate sound or 2 some bass emphasis or resonance.

IMHO two cents YMMV
Blade and TAD are camp 1 (driven by a British and Japanese preference for musical accuracy)
YG and Magico are camp 2 (driven by American preference for big sound)

Tight accurate bass is NOT as impressive except when playing loud (when it is more impressive) . With tight bass you will hear more lower mid details and differences (instrument separation between kick and bass) and even differences between recordings.

I think however tight accurate bass is an acquired taste.

I think most audiophiles go through small monitors to eventually affording big overly bass heavy speakers and then given long enough time back to more accurate bigger but tight bass speakers. Initially bigger bass is attractive (just like that boomy subwoofer) but after a while the coloration becomes noticeable and tiring (for the details that are lost)

Although it is always tough to generalize about speakers, the best British and Japanese designs tend to be bass neutral (low Q) to allow mid range details to be clean and clear and the best American tend to be BIG and Bold and brash and exuberantly outgoing and fun.

So what are you looking for? That is really the question!

I've heard most of what you're looking at, mainly at shows, and they were all impressive in their own way.  However, a while back I heard a pair of Pipedreams and found them more impressive and memorable than any of these others.  And there's a nice pair with sub available here now in about the same price range as the rest.  Not sure if or how they'd work in your particular room, but for whatever it's worth.  Best of luck. 

Soix are you talking Pipedreams or the newer iteration which is the Scaeana Iso Linear Array. Huge difference between these systems.

The Scaeanas are amazing speakers but are $60k to $120k depending on version and yes I would take those over almost anything. They do big better than almost anything just fabulous speakers.   

Over the last ten years we have had the Kef Blades, the Scaean Iso Linear Array and the Polymer MKX-S in the shop and have had the Kharma Grand Exquites the $120k current version.

The Blades are awesome speakers for their price brand new, for $15-20k a pair used they are a steal.

Dave owner
Audio Doctor NJ
Hey! You have an incredible list & i've heard them all but in show conditions but anyway they will not do the sound you are looking for.
Of course hearing is believing.
The Speakers that come to my mind, as to what sound you are looking for is the Kaiser Chiara. Yes they are stand mounts but will work in your room. Give them a listen if possible.
All the best.
Hi fsmithjack,

Thanks for your reply.
OK, understand now that you're keeping the Saadhana's. Of all your tube/FET amps ( Triode lab 2A3 - Yamamoto  45 - Fi 300b - Audio Note 300b - First Watt J2, F2J, F5, Bakoon) which do you think mates best with the Rethm?
I'm a single driver fan myself and after many speakers ended up with Feastrex 9inch Field coils. And have many tube amps (various 300Bs, 2A3, 71A, U45AB and Fi 421A) plus First Watt F2J and SIT-2. Finally settle on a Berning 300B SET. Suggest you try NOS WE 300B ( 1950's or earlier) or Single Plate 2A3. Magical!
I too sometimes get the itch to try multiway, high powered Hi-End speakers. I get my fix when I go listen to the systems of my audio circle of friends (Wilsons, Magico, Focal etc). And after hours of listening fun, I go home and listen to my setup and the urge to change dissipates. While there is an attraction to those other hi-end systems, in the end, for my taste, it's SET and Wideband drivers. The only thing that I do find better that covers both ends of the spectrum i.e. natural and high dynamics, is a large 2-3 way horn e.g. replica WE555 drivers as made by GIP or Line Magnetic. But just don't have enough space in my room and the $$$.
If you do want to sell your Saadhana's though, please contact me up. 
I know - I'm worried no doubt. I've thought of horns for sure - it's the only speaker where my wife was like - really - are you serious - those are the stupidest looking things I've ever seen / shes not an Audiophile at all but supports me in the hobby or should say accepts it / she thinks I'm / she loves music though / hates the Blades also :( / I just got serious with a dealer on these and wasn't having it / I mean I still could get them but it's the family room where everyone hangs most the time so I try not to be to unreasonable / she didn't really like the Rethm's either / she loves the Magico S5's / she said those are the best / the look like big regular speakers / get those / ever since she killed the Blades / the S5's are out front in the lead / I would have never thought I'd love a 700 wpc SS amp 4/ohm amp either but it my all time favorite amp. 
Kaiser Chiara

What are those? Why do you think I would like better than Magico S5?

I mean I love my Rethms but I also open minded and have heard many speakers that sound great?

Curious and thanks for the input.

The speakers I was referring to are the Nearfield Acoustics Pipedreams.  Seller here has original price as $78k and selling for under $18k with two subs included, so somebody's going to get a deal (no association).  Apparently they were originally made for Harry Pearson.  Never heard the Scaeanas.

Yes for $18k they are a big sounding speaker, however, the original Nearfield acoustics do not have the much greater sound staging, or the transparency of the Scaena speakers.

So yes they are still good, and on paper that is a good deal but the original Pipedreams was a speaker of its day, I would much prefer a nice good condition set of Infinity IRS Betas over those.

I would take a set of Blades any day of the week.

Dave owner
Audio Doctor NJ
Hi all:

I’ve had the original Blades in a 13 x 14.5 ft room for almost 4 years and absolutely love them!  Sound clarity, dynamics and imaging are first rate with no problems with bass overload....perfect bass for my taste. I’ve had many loudspeakers that did overload my small listening room including Revel Ultimate Salon 2. Most impressive, as others have mentioned, is their disappearing act...even in my small room the sound is divorced from the loudspeakers, except with very poor recordings.
Thank you KEF on your advice to proceed with the purchase in my relatively small room. By the way, I drive them with a Clayton Audio S2000 amp and VAC Renaissance 5 pre.