I had Innersound Eros and switched to Acoustic Zen Adagio. This was because the Innersounds were too "beamy" (very small sweet spot) for my taste.
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Tough moving from Sound Lab to conventional speaker since they do things so differently.
I went from Sound Lab U1 to Dali Megaline because the Megaline is a fast cone system with dipole ribbon tweeter.
That made the transition much easier and Dali image is huge, much like the U1. The only negatives, Dali require four channels of amplification are fairly expensive, even used.
Since your Sound Lab M2 is slightly smaller than my transition from the U1, the Magneplanar 20.1 or even a smaller model might be perfect.
Maggies are quick, low distortion and good bandwidth and if set up correctly image very nice. Then there is cost. Magneplanar are the biggest bargain in high end speakers, in my opinion.
I've had good luck with both ESL's and dynamic driver's. Ultimately, your personal taste is going to be the deciding factor, but one speaker I recommend you consider is Vandersteen. I find them to be as coherent as any speaker I've ever heard regardless of design. Not only that, you should also look forward to what a dynamic speaker can do that ESL's usually can't. It's very likely you will find that you are upgrading the sound of your system in certain areas.
That said, the most important thing to keep in mind, I feel, is to consider what the entire system will be, and not just speaker A vs Speaker B. All the other components are every bit as important as the speakers. (I'm sure you already know this but I still think its worth mentioning.)
You didn't mention price point. But I just moved from the Dynaudio C1 sig to the Raidho D1. The Raidho to me sounds more like an electrostatic speaker but with better dynamics. I never heard the 'C' series but read they are pretty close for a lot less money (especially since the diamond series was released).
Good Luck ;)
I had ESLs for nearly 8 years. Started with ML Odyssey, but found the sweet spot way too narrow. Moved to a pair of Quad 2905s with a pair of REL subs and was convinced I could never go back to a conventional box speaker with cones. The Rockport Aviors I have had for over a year are superior to the Quads in every conceivable parameter. Of course a lot depends on the room and the associated gear.
Xti16 I think my price point will be near 15k and less.My system right now has audiovalve challenger monoblocks with kt88's and I also have a pair of roland model 6 monoblocks so I can go either way but maybe leaning to going back to solid state.
I always find myself recommending Merlin speakers to people so it will probally be one I will be considering as well as
Aerial,YG Acoustics,Focal,Wilson,Nola,Von Schweikert and Verity.
Many compare electrostatic speakers with good horn dittos (the latter with better dynamics, certainly macro-wise), and though I've yet to audition them I'd recommend you look into the Oswalds Mill Audio Mini's:
They're healthily priced I must add (~$20k pair), and a sub is necessary if one is to expect sub-like information with true weight, but they are very interesting nonetheless.
My reason for recommending them is also that they share some similar traits, perhaps more or less vaguely so, to my own speakers, which have often been compared to panel-speakers of some sort.
First and foremost though Mr. Weiss' endeavor with OMA is highly intriguing in how it breaks with the more established hifi-approach - unfortunately more exclusively for the ones to savor with their pockets filled...
I have old Stax phones still that I use regularly and just added a set of Sennheiser Momentum phones, which deliver the expected Sennheiser sound out of a more portable and easy to drive package than some other Senns.
Sennheiser and Stax are two different beasts with two different sounds for sure, but I do enjoy each on their own terms in that each is VERY GOOD, but in different ways.
Headphones are interesting in that no two probably sound exactly the same, yet so many can be quite enjoyable. REinforces to me what I already believe in that there is no absolute sound. Just like there is no absolute wine, ice cream, car, woman, etc. But with headphones, there is a huge # of very good ones to choose from these days, geared towards different users.
I think my price point will be near 15k and less.My system right now has audiovalve challenger monoblocks with kt88's and I also have a pair of roland model 6 monoblocks so I can go either way but maybe leaning to going back to solid state. I always find myself recommending Merlin speakers to people so it will probally be one I will be considering as well as Aerial, YG Acoustics, Focal, Wilson, Nola, Von Schweikert and Verity.I would recommend that you also consider the Daedalus Ulysses, which I believe is presently just slightly above the price point you indicated. Or, if the Ulysses is too large for the space or more expensive than you would prefer, consider the smaller Athena model.
The Daedalus speakers manage to combine a rich, full-bodied, natural and unfatiguing tonal character with speed and resolution that I don't think you would be disappointed with. They would also be compatible matches with pretty much any well-designed amplifier known to mankind other than very low power SETs, although the two models you have are most likely more powerful than necessary (the Ulysses are 98 db/1W/1m; the Athena 96 db).
I've never had electrostatic speakers in my system, but I regularly use a pair of older Stax electrostatic headphones. Obviously their presentation is very different than that of my Ulysses, and each has its strong points and weak points relative to the other, but when I listen to the speakers it's rare that I find myself missing the speed, resolution, clean transient response, etc., of the headphones to a significant degree.
Stats do things that no other speaker design on the planet can do. The maggies are nice but don't have that incredible micro inner detail that makes you tingle. I don't think you can get the sound out of a box that you do our of a stat panel - for anywhere near the amount of money. I agree on the Raidho's and I feel that you would need to spend much more than $15k to approach the stat sound out of a pair of cabinets.
Rleff, here is another option for your consideration - the Janszen zA2.1.
This is a seamless hybrid with electrostatic panels above 500 Hz and dual woofers below. I suggest this for several reasons.
First I have a pair and believe they are the best speakers I ever owned. They will provide the detail and clarity you are likely accustomed to with your M2s. But they have a smaller footprint and can be placed closer to the front wall than dipoles because the rear wave is fully damped (closed cabinet). Yet they are spacious. They will play as loud as almost any listener would want and are surprisingly full range with measured in-room response into the low 30s. Lastly they are roughly half your budget limit.
Roscoeiii, Yes, that is correct; I have finished my review and it is undergoing the process of editing, technical corrections if any, etc. prior to publication.
The Nimbus White is a remarkable speaker; to my ear they have the same level of cleanness/definition of an ESL but with a focused soundstage. Whereas the Sound Lab and King Sound King III (reviewed for Dagogo.com - that one is published) "atomize" the performers, diffusing them over a widespread soundstage, the Nimbus White is laser sharp but still generously sized soundstage. The Legacy Whisper DSW Clarity Edition splits the difference in that regard as it acts like a line source but is concentrated with the multiplicity of Mid/Treble drivers in the center of the speaker. They all are capable of stunning vividness and realism, but achieve it in different ways.
For a person who has owned the grandness of a Sound Lab it would be a shame to move to a speaker which was physically incapable of replicating both he scale and dynamic impact of the performance. I'm guessing the OP is acutely aware of this, but perhaps not. If budget is foremost in his mind he may be wishful that quality of the sought speaker may provide enough of these other aspects of performance, but I caution that it will not. :)
After living with Acoustats, Quad ESL-63's, and ML-CLS2z for over ten years I finally was able to move in with a dynamic speaker. It wasn't until I heard Avalons that I was able to do so. Everything else, and I mean everything, sounded like a collection of drivers in boxes, albeit nice looking expensive ones. Even highly respected speakers that had rave reviews from Verity, Wilson, Vandersteen couldn't match the cohesiveness, transparency, and level of detail I took for granted with the ESL's.
Avalon had all the qualities of the ESL and enough dynamic expression to make me switch. They made other box speakers I listened to sound disjointed and slow on their feet.
Pair them with tube electronics of commensurate quality and the ability to drive them, careful set-up in a appropriate size room for the model you choose, and they will sing music.
If you are in NJ I would suggest you listen to newest Vandersteen Carbon Quattro CTs and Five A CT.
Having also enjoyed Sound Labs, I think you'll find the
Carbon drivers a true breakthrough.
We have had an overwhelming positive response and these smaller designs are probably right what you are looking for
without the compromise in performance. Besides the tidy in room bass response adjustability,high Pass options, these designs make in room set up easy hence allowing you to feel like you are at the venue.
JohnnyR Audio Connection Vandersteen dealer
At your 15K price point I was very impressed with the Martin Django's. No, I don't own them, still using my Apogees, but for a cone speaker the Django's had all the slam you would expect (and generally miss in a planer) plus a transparency and soundstaging that didn't have me missing my Duetta Sig's much at all.
Rleff, I sold my Soundlab M1 speakers and while I do miss them at times I found there could be audio life after SL speakers. I purchased a speaker from a little known company named Lahave Audio. A simple two way floor stander that images so fine. It is a different perspective on the music and I like it.
The SL were a pain in some ways. Very big. Fussy on amplification. Could make stay panel noises that drove me crazy at times. But they sure sounded awesome!
Ralph do you know of anyone running any of your amps with a nola speaker?
I've heard of it but not heard the combination myself. I do know though that most of the Nola's have dual woofer arrays, expecting the amp to double its power into the lower impedance. Makes it tricky for a tube amp to sound right, but if I recall right, our customers using the Nolas are also using a set of ZEROs to help tame that.