My M20s were humbled

Well, this weekend I got to listen, quite extensively to the new JMlab Micro Utopias. As much as I love my M20s the wind has come out of my sails. I compared (M20s) them to most of the other monitors out there, before and, even, after, my Revel purchase. Never looked back; until now. Yeah, they cost 3x as much: $5700-ouch! No they're not 3x better, but the Micro Utopias are in a class all to themselves, for my ears. This is one killer monitor. Beautiful bottom to top. Midrange, highs (ooh la la) and sweeping deep soundstage to die for. Everything. Still needs a sub, but what monitor doesn't. I'm really quite excited by this ear popping, tympanic tittalating audition. Now, where am I circumlocuting to?--Harmonic Precision Caravelles. Got my order in for a pair of these babies, and now I'm more excited than ever. Why is that? Reliable ears have indicated to me, (quite humbly), that I will do better, for a fair comparison, to compare these new Caravelles to speakers a notch or two higher than the Micro Utopias. I'll keep you guys posted when the deed is done. Also: no subwoofer needed. Monitor speakers that don't require a sub? This is exciting stuff. Probably another month before this happens. Can't talk from experience, now. Just literal hear say. But good hear say.
peace, warren
P.S. You can get more specs on the Caravelles from their website.
My understanding is that with all speakers there is a tradeoff between sensitivity, size, and bass extension. To adjust any one of them is to change the others. I'd be interested to see if a small box can really do 39 Hz at +-1.5dB and maintain 87 dB sensitivity! That is not quite subwoofer territory yet even with the claim of a transmission line (which cannot be all that long due to the size of the enclosure unless it is a BOSE:)). I remember ProAc has a small monitor that will do real low bass but it is not very sensitive. You can also do what infinity has done and just power the crap out of the woofer! Keep us posted. That kind of money will also buy some very nice towers.
Warren I have heard the HPs and I agree they are incredible for monitor speakers. It is not a fair comparison for the M20s with the JMlabs even though I love the M20s. I think a better head to head would be with the Revel Ultima Gems which believe hold their own with any monitor speaker. I didn't have an opportunity to a/b the gems with the HPs, but when I heard the HPs for less money I pretty wowed by the soundstage. I would still want a sub even though the HPs had a pretty darn good low end.
Warrenh, were the Micro Utopias the new Be model with the beryllium tweeter? I too own M20s (among other speakers) and am still looking around for the perfect monitor, and have thought about the Micro Bes.

A recent issue of Hi Fi Choice said the MU Be's were really transparent, but said they were just a bit lacking in dynamics. They still awarded them a 90% rating, which is very good. What did you think of the dynamics of the MUs that you listened to?
"...Still needs a sub, but what monitor doesn't..."

Totem Mani-2
They were incredibly dynamic to my ears. They did require a sub. Hey let's face it, not only monitors, but many claim-to-be- full range speakers could use a sub. I heard them with a Rel sub, as well. Ecstasy. Calanctus, those HPs will be coming out soon. You may not need to go to $5700. The Caravelles cost $3500. Not small change, but neither is the sound. They'll be here soon enough. I'm psyched. peace, warren
Other than reduced baffle area, what advantage does using a smaller stand mounted speaker give you over a larger floor stander with greater bass potential ? If they both take up the same appr amount of floor space and the monitor and stands cost as much or more, why would anyone want to throw away the bottom end extension that a full sized cabinet offers ? This is NOT meant to attack anyone, but is a legit question. Sean
Sean: various authorities including J Gordon Holt say that optimum bass response and optimum soundstage/imaging usually require different positions in the room. Having the mid and treble drivers on a monitor allows you to position them for the best stage, and having the sub in a separate box allows you to position it for the best bass, at least according to this theory.
The smaller cabinet is stiffer and less prone to lower midrange resonances.
Caravelle prototype I heard many months ago was the most tonally intergrated speaker I had ever heard.. Must have to do with that series crossover? Much texture, bass down to 40hz. or so, with impact and weight..Would play Loud and remain dynamically coherent..Tom
Calanctus: I agree with your comments. Then again, if one is using a monitor or smaller speaker on a stand without additional bass reinforcement, that in itself is more of a sacrifice to me. After all, you can't have efficiency, extension and spl in a small box. Sean
It is easier (and that's still a tough assignment) to get two drivers to work together, rather than three or more. Cabinet resonances/CROSSOVERS are a very big deal. True the bass extension is compromised a tad, but isn't it on most speakers? There is no panacea here, of course, but monitors can become addicting. True, the footprint, in the end can be just about the same given the stand and all. It's probably a wash in that sense. A world class monitor's, (other than bass) midrange and highs can stay with the biggest boys, still in a relatively smaller space, given the use of a sub. A monitor on a quality stand, (visually we're talking, now) has a airier look. More space under the speaker (perceived, because of openess) has, to me, a nicer eye appeal. Everthing is a trade off in this audiophoolish world. I think you can attain greatness with a killer monitor, sub, and stand, less expensively and easier (if you will), than you can with a floor stander.
peace, warren
But you can stay with a two-way design, just get more bass extension by buidling it into a larger cabinet, can't you? And what do you give up?

Warren, why do you say they can become addicting?
I don't know if addicting is appropriate. Perhaps it's the intimacy, soundstaging, that I love. Monitors (great ones) are very revealing, and when the recording is right they're awesome.
Another mini you may want to check out (supposedly outstanding) is the Earthworks Audio Sigma 6.2. You can check them out at
Absolutely agree with Warrenh on his comment on stand mount monitors! They are 'addictive'--sitting in a sofa, watching them just give me an undescribable joy to my eyes and my soul! Floorstanders aren't even close in this category. This is purely personal, I guess, like 'beauty is in the eyes of the beholder'.....

I'd go monitor + sub route any day.

Not to sidetrack the thread, but how sucessful have people been in adding subs to monitor systems? I've always felt that if I can't get it to integrate perfectly, and if I'm always going to be tempted to tweak the level and x-over frequency for each recording, then no thanks. But it sounds like many of you use subs with great success. Or do you forego them and just live without the bottom octave or two?
I usually use quality sub with monitors. The proper crossover freq really is one time setting that won't need to change once set, but the volume level of sub I do change slightly depending what music I play. Rock music which usually has pumped up bass anyway gets lower setting and classical music gets higher setting..........I find this a very useful/flexible feature of monitor/sub speaker set-ups.

With large full range speaker you are locked into single bass level response which sometimes is not ideal balance and can overpower the midrange for instance.
Ideally, I like (that's why I love the M20s) a monitor that has great bass extension to begin with. I let the monitor run full range, and let the sub (in this case, I crossover at 40 Hz) do the rest. Hey, we're going tangential. 'tis the nature of the beast, I suppose....
Warrenh- Caravelles look very interesting. Another interesting stand mounted two-way is the Wilson Benesch ARC.
Different approach to the cabinet materials.
Nothing images like a well-designed monitor...
The first time I heard the Micro Utopias (not Be), I was amazed as well. I thought it was the expensive vinyl source that was silky but a Rega CDP still sounded fantastic. I have never forgotten those little speakers.... I will look for auditioning HPs next! Arthur
Just hear:
Be micro utopia side by side with dynaudio S3.4.
Dynaudio has more details and bigger soundstage.
For $500~1K more, why not get the fuller range dyn's.
Add one good stand, they are the same price, plus you probably don't need a sub for S3.4.
Micro uptopia definitely needs a sub, low to ~50Hz only.
New dyn's are easier to drive compared to old models also.
JMLab, micro and mini, looks better to me though.
Phasecorrect: Nothing produces a soundstage like a point source radiator that dispurses 360* horizontally. I've got monitors with time aligned stepped baffles that are treated with damping material and there's NO comparison between the two. Sean
Since I started this thread (and I appreciate everyone staying with the theme) I'm just going to go a bit tangential. I was talking to an Audiogon buddy, last night, and we were talking about how many killer monitors are, probably, out there (as good, if not better than the Jmlab Micros) that will NEVER get the press nor have the advertising budget to happen. How many of us (and I include myself, big time) are confident enough (and humble enough not to make a $$ statement etc. etc. you know the deal) to trust our ears and go with the virtual unknown/no track, in the press, speaker. There are apeaker manufacturers out there, creating killer stuff, that I don't even condsider, because I haven't heard of them. Maybe this is the reason I should brave the crowds and go to the next Audio exhibition, when it comes around in NYC. Probably the best place to hear what I would never give a thought to check out. I am going with the HPs over the Micros, and they are not ubiquitous name droppers, in the high end world, like Jmlabs, or the like. This is growth. Just something to throw out there. Love to hear your take on this. Thanks for your feedback, guys. peace, warren
You'll hear a lot more of the lesser-knowns at CES than at the HE show in NYC, though you should go there too. Hearing what's out there is a real problem, you are correct.