Wilson Sophia ll
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At the risk of a loathsome "here's what I have" post, if barking up the Verity tree, you can swing Parsifals for < $10k used (nice looking pair up now @$7.5, which is a no-brainer, ask me. I'd likely buy 'em myself if I hadn't just spent more for a pair.) May not be the answer for you, but I'd definitely put'em on the "must hear" short list. Scary imaging, and punch way above their weight class in the bass department, for such a modest footprint. That said, in a larger room at that price point, you can definitely entertain gear that will move a whole lot more air than their pair of 8 inch woofers (although not sure you'll find a sweeter midrange -- ain't compromise a bitch?).
MBL 111s can sometimes be found in the $11K-$12K used. They stage/image like nothing else. To be clear, these omnis sound different (tho, not necessarily better, to every ear) than speakers with other dispersion patterns. Some folks (including me, tho I use the much less expensive Ohms) find this presentation irresistable, and you should check 'em out to see if you're a true believer.
The Revel Ultima Salon2 are currently listed for $12,500 on Audiogon. They are $22,000 retail. With a little negotiation, you might be able to get to your $10,000 price range. They have been listed for over 30 days. I have no affiliation to the seller. I personally own these speakers and they sound absolutely amazing!
You arent going to find speakers that image and soundstage better than the Salk SoundScapes for $10K. They also have tight flat bass to 22Hz or so. They are about as clean and transparent a speaker as I have heard for any price. As with all Accuton based speakers, they arent a warm speaker though. With a tube preamp and running them in the open baffle mode they can warm up. As with any speaker, I recommend hearing them first!
A third strong recommendation for Daedalus!
You'll have to stretch your budget a little, though, for the top of the line Ulysses model, especially if you opt for the upgraded all-poly crossover, which by all accounts significantly improves an already outstanding speaker.
Also, if by "good low end response" you mean frequency response flatness that extends to the low 20's, you won't get that. But if you mean bass that is accurate and well defined, and extends low enough to encompass the frequency range of the great majority of recordings, you will certainly get that, as well as pretty much anything else you might ask for in that price range, including exceptional versatility with respect to amplifier selection.
When I did the speaker shopping thing a couple years ago, the most impressive to me were Aerial, Vandersteen, and the PSB Synchrony Ones, though admittedly, the Synchronys didn't really impress me until they were hooked up to a really good amp (a BAT VK-600, though I doubt they need something quite that monstrous to wake them up.)
I was not impressed with any of the under $10k B&Ws.
I ended up with Vandersteen Quatros (cloth).
Another vote for Daedalus speakers. They're great with either quality solid state or tube amps, and they are almost as beautiful to look at as they are to listen to--almost. They do come up used once in a great while. I bought mine used about a year ago, but I haven't seen a single pair for sale since. Most people that get them tend to keep and enjoy them!
Good luck with your search.
Since no-one mentioned them I will. You might also want to consider big Soundlabs. They can be had used for well under $10k and can sound incredible with the right amplification. Need enough room though to sound their best.
Some really like Atma-Sphere amps with them, and Viva. Others use big Rowlands or something like that.
Those Avalons look like they're 6-8ft out into the room, though thats a guess on my part. I've heard no better soundstage or pristine imaging than from Audio Physic. To show their virtues they prefer to be out into the room somewhat in a near-field setup. New Virgos are probably a touch south of $10k. Otherwise, consider speakers with a narrow baffle.
I think the easy to drive Coincident Technogy Super Victory II speakers at $10,000 are excellent speakers. They will play excellently in any rooms below 4,000 cubic feet. If you have a larger room, you may waqnt to consider the larger Coincident Technology Total Victory V's, but at a more robut $15,000/pr.
Well a 4th or is it 5th for Daedalus and the DA-RMa monitors give little away to the Ulysses in a much smaller package, well below $10000, including the Poly Crossovers. As I understand it, the very low direct from the manufacturers pricing, won't last forever.
I spent quite a while looking in the price range and only a few speakers got near to the Daedalus quality and driveabilty. You have to factor in that too. Watts cost money and you rarely hear a low output amp beaten for sound quality over a similarly priced 200watter.
The 2 others are really liked, the Devore Fidelity Gibbon 9 and Silverline Bolero. The latter is more than $10000 used now. I wanted to like the Coincident Victory, I just did'nt, maybe it was the audition system.
Hi Ron hope you are doing well
((May consider adding a good quality sub and some good quality NOS tube in my pre, that should really free up my speakers.))
The problem when you add just one sub is that we cant turn it low enough to not murk up our already good mid range
also when you add a sub you will be doubling up in the same bass area that your main speakers produce causing more of the same confusion or unnatural bass spotlighting
Possible Solution for you would be to add a pair of Vandersteen 2WQs and the X5 battery high pass units
this would clean up the transition of your main speakers
by high passing to the 2 subs clean transition and you would be able to adjust for just the correct amount of bass tightness without harming the integrity of you midrange
as well as unloading your main amp allowing it to play well above its normal ability
Of course a pair of Five as and Quatros already does this with the High pass units and adds in room compensation to boot.
please let me know if you have any questions
Best John Rutan
973 239 1799
There are several suggestions above that would not likely have you wanting for a sub (I can speak first hand for Daedalus and Coincident). If you are going to go that direction I'd second the suggestion you go with more than one sub, and would add to your short list of speakers to audition, AudioKinesis, who do offer a wonderful implementation of multiple subs (Duke's "Swarm" system) in some of their speaker offerings. Outstanding and seamless integration of low frequencies via multiple subs, assuming that's what you are after. To keep it simple, with fewer boxes, some of the suggestions above are able to reproduce fairly low with control and integration. Right at your stated budget a Daedalus Ulysses would make a sub mostly redundant, but for the most demanding bass heads.