Check out the Reference 3A Royal Master II. You can get a used pair for about $2500. This monitors are the best! I have the La Suprema set ( Roayl Masters II with the Le Subs ). This speaker will blow your mind...I guarantee it! Good luck in your search.
As far as I'm concerned there is one monitor that stands above the rest: the AV Reality Studio. I've been in high end audio for over 20 years and have never seen such a value. This monitor has the same driver compliment as the $9500 Krell monitor, but also has seriously expensive diffraction control material, and a brand new crossover design that was introduced to the world just today! Everything about this monitor is "top of the line". The woofers are Scan Speak's best, the tweeter is the most recently designed tweeter and that crossover is a genius child design. Here's the best part: The cost for the premium version of the AV Reality Studio (with deluxe terminals, Mundorf Supreme Caps and AWG 12 Coils) is only $1999! I don't know how this designer brings such a speaker to market at this price. This monitor makes all other expensive monitors look like a joke, for what you get for your money.
BTW: If you are on a tighter budget than $2000 a pair, the AV Reality Avinci One model is available for $1100. It is the second best monitor by AV Reality and is just as good as a value (if not better) than the Studio. It uses the smaller 5.5" Revelator woofer with a Hiquphon tweeter with the brand new crossover design. Currently I own these myself. After 400 hours of break-in, they re-defined what I thought you could get for around $1000. This weekend, I took them over to my buddy's house, who is a reviewer for one of the "big" high end magazines. He was so impressed that he is trying to reserve a review spot for these speakers. I should note that I am so impressed by this company's products that I have now ordered a pair of the Studios also. I guess I feel like I struck the high end speaker "pot of gold". My search for a great monitor speaker company, that does everything right, with the best of the best driver materials and crossover implementations (yet doesn't cost an arm, leg and an ear) is finally over!
The JM 906 alternatives are certainly Totem Tabu or Totem Mani whichever is affordable. Great monitors for a buck. Tabu-s are certainly better performers than 906 imo.
You can't go wrong with the Talon Khite. Another excellent monitor is the B&W Nautilus 805. Either pair should make you happy, but expect a long break-in period with both.
Get a pair of used Proac Tablette 50 Signatures (if you can find them)
In your price range take a listen to ACI's Jaguars. I haven't heard them myself, but I do own a pair of their Sapphire III LE which were a significant improvement over my Sonus Concertos. I have recently compared them in a friend's setup to a pair of B&W 805s, and the consensus was that it was fairly close, but the winner was the Sapphire III LE. This is what they do for $1200, I can imagine how good the Jaguars are. I'm saving my pennies.
I've received quite a few emails today from others wanting to know AV Reality's website address. Here it is:
Hi 84audio, I own the Bel Canto DAC 1.1, and also once owned a Simaudio Moon I-5. These two components were coupled together for about 6 months. During that time I also had both Sonus Faber Concertinos and ProAc Tablette 50 Signatures.
Personally, I can vouch for 74impala's recommendation of the ProAcs, however, not with the Moon I-5. The I-5 and the ProAcs both soundstage tremendously, but the lean balance of the Simaudio I feel didn't allow the ProAcs to truly shine. In you're room you may experience something entirely different from me, but while the Concertinos didn't image anywhere nearly as well as the Tab 50s, they counteracted the slightly thin sound of the Moon I-5 with their midrange bloat. I don't mean to slam the I-5 because it is a great piece, but not what I was looking for sonically. If you decide to buy it I would recommend auditioning the speakers you want with it.
As for the ProAcs. I tried them with the Moon I-5, then with an Electrocomapniet ECI-3. The ECI-3 had all the soundstaging strengths of the I-5, but without the tipped up treble. Tophats amd percussion were better with the I-5, but voices and acoustic instruments were fuller and more natural with the ECI-3. If you haven't made an integrated purchase yet, I would definitely give the Electrocompaniet pieces a listen. I feel the ProAcs are best mated to tube equipment, and the Blue Circle Audio separates I'm using now are far more to my liking than the two integrateds I've mentioned.
Good luck, and happy hunting!
Just to be clear to everyone sending me emails, I do not own AV Reality Studios at this tome. (Please re-read my thread, it's very clear). I currently own the AV Reality "Avinci One" monitors, and am so damn impressed by them, that I have no problem recommending the "Studios" (which is AV Reality's "top of the line" monitor). My Studio order should be completed in a couple weeks, and after another couple weeks of break-in, I will then be able to comment on the Studios'capabilites.
Go with the ATC A10's. THey're $2500/pair new and include the internal amps (bi-amped)! I own 3 of the 100's, also internally powered. Check them out at www.atc.gb.net
ATC took home the Stereophile Mag system of the year for 2001. Almost no one's ever heard of them as they're brits that only did Pro audio for YEARS. If Stereophile says they're the best, it's worth a hard look!
I just sold my BOSS on the A10's for his home theater. How's THAT for confidence that he'll love them!!!
Write if you want the name of the place that I bought mine from.
Check out a pair of Sonus Faber Elector amators. You will not be dissapointed
Well it stretches the budget a bit, but the Cliffhanger Bulldogs do some things that I haven't heard anything else their size do.
The Bulldogs are a 3-way where most of their competition is 2-way. So the woofer is better optimized for low bass. The midrange is a nice metal dome unit, which in turn allows a high enough crossover for a ribbon tweeter to be used. All of this would mean nothing if the design wasn't well executed and voiced, which it is.
Now, one thing the Bulldogs can do that the others cannot is give you a smooth reverberant field response. You see, your basic 6.5" two-way is going to have a ragged reverberant field response because the woofer is going to be beaming by the time it gets up to the crossover point. The Bulldogs' woofer only goes up to 900 Hz, so it is crossed over well before beaming sets in. The 2" midrange has a nice, wide radiation pattern, then the narrow ribon has excellent horizontal dispersion.
The reason this matters is because the ears derive timbre not only from the first arrival sound, but also from the reverberant field. The Bulldogs are pretty much unique in their category as far as getting this right. As a result, the Bulldogs are quite relaxing and enjoyable to listen to long-term.
The Bulldogs are voiced reminiscent of the Original Quads - sweet and with an up-front, vivid presentation - but with better dynamics and impact. That ribbon tweeter on top is very sweet, and makes it hard to go back to a regular dome.
The Bulldogs prefer to be out in the room a bit, and their bass tuning is optimized for good transient response rather than maximum extension. I can't stand boxy colorations, and the Bulldog's metal braced cabinets do an excellent job of suppressing boxiness.
I chose to carry the Bulldogs not for all these neat-o reasons, but because they were the only speaker I've heard at CES that actually brought tears to my eyes.
The Bulldogs are a relatively unheard of speaker (though they've been reviewed twice at www.soundstage.com), and are hard to find. I'd be more than happy to provide an in-home demo for 84audio (or anyone else), because that is the only way to really know if a speaker is right for you.
Best wishes to you on your quest!
New version of a great speaker (I own the current ones). I love the ones I have, but I really like the look of the new ones. These babies have some dynamic guts! When you want to upgrade, just replace your stands with the LFM active woofers.