I used ProAc 1SCs with Cardas Golden Cross to tame the highs. This worked well with my Aleph 3. The midrange was smooth, even, and imaged well. The bass rolled off in the mid-bass, perhaps sooner than the Totems which I haven't owned but have auditioned and read about. I used a subwoofer. I replaced the 1 SCs with Red Rose Music R1s. The R1s had noticeably more delicate, feathery highs, produced by a ribbon tweeter. The bass went deeper, too, but there was a very slight depression in midrange response (a hole in the middle!). RRM has replaced the R1s with the Rosebud, which I am guessing doesn't go as low in the bass but has a level midrange. Good luck.
If you like the ProAc 2.5's, you might prefer the 1SC to the Totems. I preferred the Totems to the ProAcs by far. More coherent, more accurate, much better bass. I didnt notice any midrange congestion (not sure what that is), but they do require a lot of power. I chose and prefer Harbeth HL-P3's to both of the more expensive speakers you mention, even though the Totems were a lot better in the bass and play louder. Even though I prefer the Harbeths, the Totems are really good speakers.
The ProAc 1SC's are very neutral and critical regarding what you feed them. Cheap CD players or amps will not allow the 1SC to shine. I have auditioned many monitors including the Totems and ended up with the ProAc's. I have not heard another monitor that presents the music in such a natural involving way w/out coloration. Vocal are amazing as well as acoustic instruments. The Totems are very nice as well, but being that you have and Audio Research VT-100 I would absolutely go with the ProAc's.
I think your choice may depend on what amp you use. I had Totem 1 speakers for some time and found their sound will very considerably with different amps. They dont work well with some lower powered SS amps and respond well to a good dose of current. They liked the fast and clean Marsh amp and were less suited to the warm Belles I used to have. The Totems can sound great with the right amp.
Your problem with the highs on the 2.5's really puzzles me. I have the 2.5's and have never had them come even close to sounding too aggressive. Different strokes, I guess. I've used tubes and SS, Harmonic Tech, Cardas, and Valhalla speaker cables, digital and analog sources, you name it.
However, when I measure my system with the TacT room correction unit, I do see a rising top end, so maybe...
The 1SC's are a great speaker but very stand sensitive. If this is an issue you may want to consider a new speaker ProAc is just introducing that gives you all that the 1SC does, but not as stand sensitive. I think it is the Tablette Signature 8 at $1700.
I have had the Totem Model 1 speakers. In their day, they dominated the sub $1500 minimoniter sound. I loved tham and had them for many years.
That being said, I would seriously try to get ahold of a pair of Alon Petites. The Petites are a better speaker than the Totems, and they retailed for only $1000. I think Alon has discontinued the Petite line, but they can be found used. I picked up a pair for $400 about 3 years ago (they has a few cosmetic defects, but they have made wonderful rear speakers).
Anyway, the Petites image as good or better than the totems. They also are a more revealing speaker than the Model 1's. I think they play lower (bass) as well.
Give them a shot if you are on a budget.
Even not on a budget, they are hard to beat for the price.
Correction on above thread. The new ProAc is the Signature Referecne 8
You should check out the dynaudio contour 1.1's or the 1.3's. (the 1.3's have a fuller bass, but i only heard the 1.1's which i loved) wonderful soundstage, never bright or forward, just great music with just about everything i threw at them. Compared them to the proac 1sc's head to head and liked the dyn's better, they seemed more natural, more like real music, particularly at high volumes. The nearest dealer is Pheonix, i suggest you get in your car and hear them asap! -bring your amps so you can get an idea of their synergy.
Cellorover, could you elaborate on the ProAc/stand issue? I've only used one stand, the Lovan Imperial 2900 with both my ProAc monitors and was wondering what your experience with different stands yielded. Thanks.
I am not a stand expert, but each stand appears to have its own sound regardless of dampening. I have old Targets, some others that I cannot remember where I even got them and some that I made years ago that are twice the mass as the Targets but only have two columns and a thicker base. The sound differs with each pair. The old, lighter ones (thinner metal, not weight) sound the worse. They are 2" higher than the others and the bass is mushy and the highs a bit brighter. However, the sound is still tolerable. The 2" could be the reason for the difference in the highs, but I doubt it. It is more difficult to hear the difference between the other two. The bass sounds a touch tigher and maybe deeper with the four column Target but less airy. I prefer the sound of my own stands. It drove me crazy and I wanted to write it off as psychological and only wanting to hear a difference. I finally called Richard at Modern Audio (US importer) and he confirmed the stand sensitive nature of the 1SCs. He likes the Targets or that is the impression I got. So, case closed. You need good stands with the 1SCs. How good? That is up to you and your ears. I think the Targets are great, but heavy looking. I probably would not have them if I did not get them used. Hope this helps.
Thanks, Cellorover. My Lovans have a thin single column about 2x3" and 29" tall, they're filled with 20lbs. of steel shot each and I picked them because they are elegant and unobtrusive.
I've seen many photos of people using heftier stands like the Osiris or Stand Design with the 1SC, some utilizing four square columns with such a wide stance they're almost flush with the speaker's sides, front and back.
I never considered that a stand could have an impact on the speaker's sound beyond bass dampening. Throughout my short audiophile life I've endured a bit of top end sizzle in my various systems and always chalked it up to room acoustics or choice of equipment, but now you've given me a reason to consider spending more on this hobby, heheh!
Before you go out and spend money, experiment. Try sand and shot or just sand. Are the stands spiked to the floor and the speakers to the stand? And are they level? Other considerations are your speaker wires. What is in the rest of your system?
The Harbeth HL-P3's are magnificent. IMHO, With the matching Xtender Bass modules they go beyond the Proacs and Totems.
Cellorover, I've considered changing the stand fill to sand. I'm a bit lazy though. You can see my system at virtual systems next to my name. The components seem a good match fo rmy 1SCs, but I've always been suspect about my rooms acoustics. I'll be trying out some Sonex acoustic squares this weekend and see if the cabinets which seem to be in the vicinity of first reflection can be helped. Thanks for the suggestions.
I am reluctant to offer another opinion because the choice between these two speakers just boils down to a simple matter of personal taste. But being a minimonitor freak, and having owned both pairs of these at the same time, I’ll put in my $.02 FWIW. I absolutely agree w/ comments from Jla “I have not heard another monitor that presents the music in such a natural involving way w/out coloration.” Insofar as the points mentioned regarding bass, if you want it right, you need a sub, simple as that. There’re minis that go deeper, but what the 1SC does, it does magically. And I personally don’t see the point in compromising this for the sake of a few extra bucks for bass. Regarding your 2.5.s, if they sound aggressive they’re not set up right. And if you have ears sensitive to aggressive tweeters, I believe you most definitely would prefer the ProAc over the Totem.
I have not compared these two, but I have compared (at length) ProAc Response Two's to the Totem Ones. Really the Totems are very good; for a lot more money, the ProAc's are in a different class. More of everything, and a bit easier to drive.
If you can swing the price, I would suggest Silversmith Audio cables with your ProAc's. The sound stage will suddenly appear; to the degree, that it was non-existant before.
I have ProAc Response 1sc's with Cardas Golden Cross Biwire speaker cable and think they work great together. I recently retubed my VTL ST 150 and everything has improved. I also use a Modulus 3 with Seimens gold pin tubes throughout, two Vandersteen 2w's, Michel Gyrodec, Morch arm and Benz 2H Wood cartridge. The system sounds a bit dark due to my current interconnect between pre and amp. I want to replace a 2 metre run of MIT Shotgun with Cardas Golden Reference. Is this a good choice? If not what would work best?