Typical midrange cone drivers have a hard time with classical music. Electrostatic or planar speakers are the way to go.
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The problem is the state of most classical recordings. They usually have flaws on the harsh, overloaded side (big dynamic range of classical, especially orchestral, strings are hard to record well, horns, crescendos) so a cool speaker is likely going to be fatiguing. Are you buying new? What price range?
Monitor Audio speakers use metal dome tweeters and metal cone woofers which in my experience don't self damp well enough to be true to (classical) instrumental timbres. Put another way...the drivers ring (like bells) and color the sound in unacceptable ways.
Ideally you want drivers that self-damp well i.e. fabric dome tweeters and plastic or paper woofers.
I think Spendor and Dynaudio complete speakers sound excellent with classical. Both lines have the type of drivers that I described (as working well with classical).
Having had various Maggies for over 30 yrs they do most everything required for Classical well.
The glaring exception is they lack the dynamic range to reproduce a symphony, classical music in general is much more dynamic than rock.
I am reminded that they just don't "breathe" everytime I listen to the KEF Ref. 3.2's in my bedroom.
My aerial 10's use metal dome tweeters that do not ring like bells. I consider them very well balanced and natural speakers that are not ideally perfect but almost OK for classical music.
for classical music the only monitor i can think of is actually headphones otherwise large speakers are encouraged.
Which model of Monitor Audio speakers are you referring to? There is huge difference amongst them.
I have a pair of RS-6s and I enjoy them a lot for listening to jazz, classical and Opera. Dynamics, imaging and sound staging are all fantastic. They outperform most, if not all speakers in their price range.
I am using them in a small space that is acoustically treated with all tube gear. The speakers are easy to drive, I am using 40watt quicksilver mid monos with kt88's.
The RX series is the updated version of the RS so they remain similar, you can check the reviews by Stereophile of both series of speakers.
As for the GX300 they have a ribbon tweeter, I have not had chance to really audition them, I have heard them on a couple of occasions, once at the Montreal audio show. But the room was so badly laid out you could not really hear anything.
I also heard them at a shop, but it was quick listen, they played some random demo CD and the speakers were driven by some mid-fi HT gear, so I wasn't impressed but I think it had more to do with electronics than the speakers themselves.
From a cost perspective MA is hard to beat.
One note regarding listening to classical music, before I built my system I was never really drawn to classical music. My father always listened to it, so I was familiar with it. Once my system was built and as it evolved, my appreciation for classical and opera grew. The systems ability to recreate the dynamic swings of the crescendos as well the emotion expressed in the subtle details of the quite passages portrayed the music as it should be heard, or almost. It not quite the same as hearing a live orchestra.
The older RS series had a reputation for being forward and bright. The Stereophile review of the Silver RX-6 states that the new series solves that altogether.
I have auditioned both the Silver RX-6s and RX-8s, and there's no glare or harshness to be heard. In fact, when it comes to classical music I'd put them on the short list at their price range. They are good all-rounders, which would give you bass extension and dynamics for large orchestral pieces, a linear tonal balance that doesn't draw attention to itself, good imaging, large soundstage, and good speed, ambience, and inner detail.
They may not have the speed and inner detail of planars or minimonitors, but they are not slow and dull either, and they have better dynamics and bass extension than similarly priced planars, let alone minimonitors.
They can also be tuned to the room and optimized for speaker placement better than most: They have both front and rear-firing ports and foam plugs for both. This gives you four different bass damping options.
There are a couple other speakers I'd consider in this price range: the GoldenEar Aon3, which is $998/pair but stand-mounted. Even so, the bass extension and clarity is competitive with small floorstanders. All GoldenEar models also benefit from Heil-type folded ribbon tweeters that are devoid of overshoot and ringing.
Second, GoldenEar is releasing a new, smaller floorstander called the Triton Seven in June. It has an MTM array on its narrow baffle front and two side-firing passive radiators near the bottom. Target retail price is $1400/pair.
Having heard both the flagship Triton Two's and Aon 3's, I suspect the Triton Sevens will be a serious contender at that price point.
You say you're looking for speakers in the $2K range, but have a long-term budget of $10K. Does this mean you're looking for $2K speakers to anchor a $10K system, and the other $8K will go to electronics, cables, possibly a sub, etc.?
I suspect you're trying to figure out whether to put your money into something close to a full-range floorstander or put the money into a faster, smoother tweeter, such as a ribbon or beryllium and use your upgrade money later to fill in the bottom octave of bass.
When shopping electronics, I suggest you look at the Marantz Reference series of integrated amps. Even the entry-level one, the $999 PM8004, is natural, neutral, fast, and detailed with a -125 dB noise floor. I heard one powering a pair of $10K Sonus Faber Cremona Ms and the amp was in complete command of those speakers, showing speed, linearity, grainless transparent midrange, and clarity and control over the bass that you don't expect from a $1K integrated amp.
The PM8004 and Monitor Audio Silver RX6 or RX8 would be a tremendous combination. It would also power the GoldenEar Aon3 or Triton Two or Three very well. Remember, the GoldenEars have excellent motion transformer ribbon tweeters and very fast, transparent midranges.
Another approach would be to spend the $2K on a pair of Magnepan 1.7s and use some of your upgrade money for a good subwoofer. This would expand the soundstage and dynamic range.
I was not too clear, I have a short and mid term plan, start out with say a $2000 model of X, and in a year or so upgrade, hopefully in the same speaker, if I like it. This is based on my financial situation. Right now I have a Parasound setup, but I really want to head over to Mcintosh ($$$) at some point. I do like Marantz, I have a Marantz SACD player which I really enjoy. The RX8 sounds great, thanks for your expertise
First of all the latest Gold even uses a ribbon tweeter. The new Platinum uses a different technique in ribbon tweeter.
In sound realims it is the best tweeter I ever auditioned. Beside the sound I never auditioned a speaker what is able to create such a deep and wide soundstage.
The authority and control it has in the high frequencies is of a level most people never experienced. A client of mine received his PL-200 set this week. He only listens to classical music.
Before this he owned the Wilson Audio Sasha loudspeakers. Which is not a great speaker for classical music. He was never happy with it. He also visits regular classical live concerts.
The sound of violins was not as he hears it live. He said: this speaker is able to creat a much more realistic sound as I experience during live concerts. I can hear things which I never could hear with the Sasha.
More layers in the middle frecuencies he said and also a much deeper and wider stage compared to the Sasha. In the past I had the Wilson Audio Sophia 2 for over 4 week. I compared it with the old PL-300. Also in this shootout the stage of the Pl-300 was so much deeper and wider compared to the Sophia 2.
I own the Pl-500 and it brought me to a level most people only can dream of. I never auditoned a speaker who is able to let you hear so easily the differences in height of instruments and voices.
I also love classical music. In the past I owned the B&W 800S. But this speaker is superior in each part you judge sound for. I auditoned the new B&W 800D3 and Platinum Pl-500 at the same day. The 800 is a hifi stereo speaker with stage depth of 1 metre. The Pl-500 is a highend speaker with one of the most exciting 3 dimensional holographic stage. Beside this it owns a physical appearance of voices and instruments just as tangible and intimate as in real.
The realism and physical appearance of voices and instruments is of a level to die for. The Magico and Wilson Audio speakers are not able to create such a deep and wide stage either.
The thing what makes it unique is that the new tweeter is able to give an instrument a 3 dimensional shape. Beside the huge deep and wide stage it can create much more space also in front of the loudspeakers.
When you listen to Miles Davis So What in DSD by the Lumin S1 you go back to 1959. The piano played by Evans plays full loose of the left speaker. The drumms on the right plays also loose from the right speaker. And the height of the high hats is a lot higher compared to the same recording with highend speakers with a dome tweeter.
You also can hear much more easy the space of the room. The trumpet fills the room in reverb but still is very tangible.
Miles stand about 2 metres to the back. The space the Pl-500 can create is stunning and so much bigger than the best highend loudspeakers I auditioned in over 18 years of time.
It is an addictive sound. The timing is even better than the S series of Magico. In realism the Pl-500 is superior to the clinical sounding Magico speakers.
When you know how classical music sounds in real you never would buy a Magico or Wilson Audio loudspeaker.
Anthor client of mine is selling his Sasha 2 loudspeaker also based on the fact that he never was satisfied with the speaker.
I would never buy a highend speaker with a dome tweeter. In the last 3 years I met several new cleints with highend speaker who all had the same dome tweeter issues.
Even the best highend dome loudspeakers are not able to place an instrument fully free infront and beside the loudspeaker. They are able to build an instrument beside the loudspeaker.But not in front and free form the speaker. A dome tweeter is not able to build such a big stage.
But with the Pl-500 it can play beside and in front of the loudspeaker. I call it highend ++. This makes you smile all the time. And it gives the instrument much more a 3D shape. This brings music much more a life than ever before.
Instruments like a trumpet sound more real with the Pl-500 than with any other dome tweeter speaker. Read the review of the Pl-500 in the outcomming Absolute Sound of September.
Having measured a pair of smaller Radius speakers, and lived with Silver 6s, they Radius are quite neutral. The ceramic/metal composite tweeters are very smooth and do not audibly ring unlike say all of Focal’s metal tweeters, nor do they have the jagged response of the B&W diamonds. If they ring at all it is quite far out of the audio band.
As for the mids and woofers, there are some VERY good metal cone drivers out there. The speaker designer MUST carefully integrate them but they can play with the very best, and within their usable frequency, may have very low stored energy.
While I can understand the biases of cheap, poorly integrated metal drivers, Monitor Audio does not suffer any of those issues.
I have not listened to their ribbon tweeters. Also, earlier MA speakers were a little more rock/jazz biased.
As with anything else, listen for yourself as YMMV. Make your own wallet happy.