I think the speakers you describe are the aerial 8's, they are dynamic on ht, can even be used without sub with their 10" side subs, and are very sweet on vocals, I have tried B&w,Dyn,and revel, then I went to aerials some time ago andhave been very satisfied, good luck
I'm using Snell B Minors for my fronts, with Snells all around. I picked them all up used, except for the center, which I've had. The B Minors, if you can find them, are about $1600 used (I payed $1700). The are an incredibly musical speaker with tremendous bass and dynamics. I'm using an Anthem MCA-5 amp.
They give my Thiel 3.6's and Levinson 27 a run for the money. Sometimes I wonder why I'm running both. (I'm sure some others here can answer that question . . . )
B&W Nautilus 803, 90db efficient; New $5000, Used under $4k.
I use a pair of Vandersteen 3A Signatures (supplemented with a pair of 2Wq subs), and they do an excellent job with both music and HT. Several months ago, Widescreen Review did a long article on a Vandersteen 3A Signature system for HT, and gave it outstanding marks. The Vandy 3A Sig retails new for $3500, but contains drivers and crossover components that are among the best available at any price. If the Vandy 3A Sig's had cabinetry with a fancy veneer exterior, they'd sell for at least twice their price. As such, the manufacturing cost of the Vandy 3A Sig goes toward performance, rather than appearance.
You can get a pair of used 3A Sig's for around $2200, which leaves you enough money to also buy a pair of 2Wq subs. For this total, you'll have one hell of a good system for both music and HT.
REVEL ULTIMA GEM!!
A true gem they are!
Thiels CS2.3 are a favorite of mine, but if you wnat to do HT with them you will need a sub. Other speakers to consider are the Snells and Mirage OM-5.
Meadowlark Audio Heron-i...beautifully musical speakers will work very well in HT set up.
Check our Meadowlarkaudio.com for info on these well built (by hand)speakers. Amazingly transparent and dynamic...they truly "disappear"!
In the very near future I will be upgrading to their "Blue Heron" model.
My Heron-i were $5500 new. If you are interested in this model, I would be willing to work a sale in your price range when I make the move to the new model.
If you have the opportunity, I recommend finding a Meadowlark dealer for an audition. Meadowlark's speakers are a fantastic value and performer.
I'd take a good look and listen to ACI's new Talismans. They're not even shipping yet, but they look to be absolute killer. They have ACI's new powered parametric EQ woofer system for the ability to really fine tune to your system and room. IMHO very attractively styled and a bargain at $3500 pair.
Thanks for the speaker recommendations. Unfortunately, there are no ACI or Meadowlark dealers in my area. I'll check out the reviews online though. Barrelchief and jd79: how do these speakers sound compared to revel and thiel?
Draw - just to let you know ACI is a factory direct outfit (great reputation and reviews) and I believe offers a 30 day trial. Might be worth waiting...
I am delighted with my Paradigm Active 40s, (with active center, surrounds, and Servo 15 sub) dirven by Antheum AVM2 preamp.
I was in the same boat as you...no Meadowlark dealer here. I actually flew to NYC (because of Meadowlark's reputation) to seek out the perfect loudspeaker for me.
I compared the Meadowlark's to Revel's F-30 ($3500) and their models that were near $5000 and $7500 (at the time.)
The F-30 (which was brand new at the time) lacked so much in comparison to the Meadowlark's performance that I instantly ruled them out of the relm of options.
The more expemnsive Revels sounded good but did not reproduce the same natural mids and bass extension as the Meadowlarks.
The realism in the separation between the musical instruments in Meadowlark is incredibly life like and they truly "diappear."
The model that I have also has adjustments for better integration with different size rooms.
Even if you do not buy this brand, ck out the web site. I have yet to find music lovers as dedicated to quality and amazing engineering...all crossover components are completely isolated from other speaker components so that they are not affected by any resonnance...Check'm out!!!
Approximately where are you located?
Forget the Amps and Speakers route. I'm almost finished selling my entire Aerial HT system (8bs, CC5, SR3) and Bryston 500Watt Monoblocks for ATC. Check them out. www.atc.gb.net as stereophile voted them system of the year for 2001. Go with the Active 20 Pros.
A pair new will run $6,900. I've seen used pairs on
here once in a while. Research and you won't regret.
Draw, ACI has sold direct for 25 years. In fact, they are probably the leader in direct audio sales. Their reputation is as good as it gets. I've owned a number of their models and heard others, they've all been first rate. Generally their models offer performance and quality that you can spend twice as much for, because they are sold direct. The new Talisman look like it will follow that tradition. For $3500 you have a full range, beautifully built system with integrated amplification for the woofers. One of the things I really like is there new Adaptive Bass system. With built in parametric EQ you should be able to adjust the in-room bass response to be extremely accurate.
I would characterize the ACI "sound" as just a tad on the warm side of absolute neutral. Every Thiel I've heard has had some fantastic qualities but always was a bit to tipped up on the high end for me. The ACI's have the detail, but they don't throw it at you. The balance and overall presentation is much closer to what I've heard from the various Revel demos I've heard. Never had a pair of Revels at home so can't say for sure.
I myself would never buy a speaker that I couldn't home demo for a significant period of time. They never sound the same at home as at the store. Have fun in your search!
Westlake Audio speakers will deliver all that you are asking for. They have been builiding speakers for studios for 30 years. In this application (studio) dynamics,tonal accuracy, and midrange clarity are paramount. Engineers and producers hear the actual voice or instrument live in the recording room and then through high grade microphones (usually anyway) in the studio monitors. If the dynamics and tonal accuracy are not spot on, the producer and/or engineer will notice. Westlake has survived in this tough environment for a long time.
Also, see Mike Fremer's review in the Nov. stereophile for additional information on one of Westlake's hi-fi minimonitors. Trust me, once you've heard a favorite DVD on Westlake's, other home theater speakers sound lifeless - no matter the pedigree or the cost.
Use your ears - not the reviews, and you will find a great speaker (Westlakes or another brand of your liking). Don't buy something just because it is well reviewed or popular. Work with good dealers in your area and listen to various products and price ranges. Always use material you are familiar with - and don't assume that you "know" what the material is supposed to sound like. Once you listen to enough speakers, you will start to zero in on the best from the various sets of compromises inherant in every speaker design. Hopefully, you will find a speaker that gives you the fewest compromises and the best sound. Keep in mind that what sounds best to you, may be different than what the dealer likes best or what certain reviewers like best. If you can, take along a female friend. They (females) tend to have better hearing and may pick up on major flaws. If you are a female - take a friend to help you confirm your observations. Anyway...enjoy
Thanks for the recommendations. I'll look into ACI and Meadowlark. I'm in Dayton, OH so there isn't much available to demo. I'll look into Cincinnati, Columbus and Indianapolis.