Need Help finding Speakers Budget 20,000 US

Hi All

Firstly let me give my room Specification:

8 Meters by 8 Meters. Height of the room is 3.2 Meters.

Acoustic Panels everywhere around the room. Its pretty dead.


Clayton M300 Mono Blocks
Bob Carver Black Beauty

Purity Audio Ultra 2 Series
DAC (Need to get one)
CD Player Oppo 95 Modified.

Budget 20,000 US.

I don’t live in USA so difficult to try out some of the US brands.

I am interested in:

Salk Sound Scape 12
Tannoy Kingdom Royal
B&W 800 or 802 N
Evolution Acoustics not sure which model as the company never responds to emails nor does there dealers.
Daedalus Audio

Any other recommendation to go by?

I listen to Allot of Movie Sound Tracks, Classical Epic Music, Sometimes Pop Rock And hip hop. Down tempo, Chill out and Jazz.
Tannoy Kingdom Royal cost around 50.000 US. thats twice your budget.
If you are looking at Salk, Daedalus, and Evolution. I highly recommend you take a look at Vapor audio as well, the Joule would fit right into that range as well. A lot higher quality drivers and cabinet construction than most of the others in that price range.
Seems you could eliminate Evolution based on what you said
Great components too
Hello Dragon Vibe

I can comment on some of your choices.

We are very familiar with the Purity Audio Design, Bob Carver and Daedalus arrangement. I have had the Daedalus Ulysses for over a year and we have shown with them at shows a few times. We have also provided Purity preamps for every show Bob Carver did since the new company started.
My favorite aspect of the Daedalus is the dynamic impact. They are very smooth and accurate speakers. Lou Hinkley is a great guy to deal with.

I havent heard the Ushers speakers in our systems for a while but can say that they are a great value. The upper end is very articulate and extended on their upper end models and they like a lot of power.

I would say that either would be a good choice but they do have very different characteristics. I would do some research on what other's have said about these speakers to help decide which would be better suited for your taste.

I wish I could hear (or better yet own) a pair of Tannoy Royal Kingdom speakers to pair with our Ultra 300B amplifiers.
I like my Soundscape 10s. I wouldn’t want to trade them in for any of the other speakers you mentioned. The Soundscapes are the most neutral speakers in your list. If you got the Soundscapes then you might need a warmer 6SN7 tubes. Your Sophia 6SN7 tubes might be the cats meow with the Daedalus or Tannoy speakers, but they may be too neutral for the Soundscapes.

A speaker is a personal matter. Another person never can choose for you. Because they dod not know your preference. Take your time and listen to many speakers. At the end you will find one what fits best to you. It is that simple!!
While the Tannoy Kingdom Royal lists for $55,000, the Canterbury SE's list right around $21,000 and will probably thrill you!
B&W 800D

JBL S4700
If you can stretch your budget and can live with the ultra modern sleek styling...KEF Blade....I have LS50's a very small monitor based on same technology and it is disturbingly good.(Your electronics are VASTLY better than I will EVER afford unless I hit the lottery) Another choice...Vandersteen 5A Carbon(About 25k brand new), Legacy Alexia, or the Wilson Sophia. All which are VERY mesmerizing choices at that price point. Sasha's or Watt Puppy 8's would be fantastic choices used...if you are lucky enough to find them. Vivid Audio B1's are also really cool too. All of these designs I could easily live with the rest of my useful listening life.
Another vote for Daedalus, they are easy to drive, fast and dynamic, detailed but not etched or bright. I have had my speakers for 4 years and they are staying till one of us pegs out, probably me, as I am not made from seasoned hardwood.

I agree with Bo1972 though. You are talking a lot of money here, you have to listen to the speakers first. Lou at Daedalus has a group of owners happy to demo there speakers. If you are interested, give him a call, he is always helpful. I personally prefer this type of Dem over a shop, where time is money. It does'nt really matter which you listen to, as there seems to be a "house sound". Good luck and report back your experience please.
Dragon Vibe, I'm associated with Vapor Audio and if you want full range sound with unlimited dynamic capacity in a gorgeous cabinet, have a look at this.
Look here too :-)

Stereophile THE Show Newport 2013

Good Listening

I'm gonna say something controversial, so here goes. Imo, it's better to go with bigger companies or companies who have been in the business a long time rather than upstart or companies that have only been around for 5-10years. More financially stable, better R&D, higher tech, and better qc for the most part (although all audio equipment can certainly fail no matter who the company is)

Just something to consider...I would go for the B&Ws or Tannoys myself.

Every one has an opinion, agreed that large companies like the ones that you mention have almost unlimited R&D funds, however the large business model is driven by numbers ONLY, if the profit is not there that division gets nixed. Even if the company is large it too can fail, GM rings a bell ?

Now consider the fact that If you buy from a smaller company you buy product that is made with passion, not by an hourly worker that's thinking about what to do after work or next weekend. We too of course have workers, but the owner usually is hands on all the way making sure that the product that goes out the door is A+1 because it has his name on it.

A few years back I was quoting a very large system to a local customer via my local dealer. I got part of the bid but not all, the client went with a different make of amplifier that the one we make, reason given was exactly the one yo state, large company that was not likely to go out of business any time soon and that if repairs were needed in the future then the network would be there to facilitate such.

Fast forward a year or so, the amplifier company had almost failed but been saved by the bell with a buy out form a investment company, also 3 of the 5 amplifiers had failed and were in need of a new power supply board - guess whom stepped in to help with the repairs upon request from my local dealer to avoid the substantial shipping cost of 3 ea 200 lbs amps to the east coast plus a downtime of several weeks ?

You get my point I'm sure.

Good Listening

Nice point there Peter. Assuming that the big guys offer more/better technology, better R&D, better quality, is really an unfounded generality.

We offer arguably the best woofer on the planet in the Nimbus that John Atkinson found to be one of his favorites at the Newport Beach Audio show. We offer arguably the best tweeter on the planet in the RAAL 70-20XR. And as we discovered through actual measurements in the room from Steve Nugent's calibrated mic and ARTA, the flattest response he's ever measured in a room at a show, with no speaker EQ at all.

Where would guys like Salk Sound, Zu, Tyler Acoustics, etc., be if everyone went with the "big guys" over and over? Where would the innovation be if there were no little guys nipping at the heels of the big guys?

There are plenty of great companies not bound by the structures of a corporate philosophy that stifles innovation. The smaller companies can work with the buyer to develop a more custom approach to fit their desires. And because they don't spend gobs of money advertising and supporting a large dealer network, in many cases, they can offer much more value for the money than the B&Ws and Tannoy's of the world.
The B&W 802s don't hold a candle to the 800s. Your Claytons certainly allow you to consider Revel Salons, as well as most other speakers as long as they don't have a major/ rediculously low impedance dip. I would also consider used Rockports.
Peter, I agree with you, but there is one thing- a resale value. You can easily sell second hand Sonus Faber, B&W, Focal, Tannoys etc for reasonable price. But I have seen so many BIG speakers from SMALL companies with discount more than 70% of MSRP with no luck over years..
06-19-13: Dave_72
I'm gonna say something controversial, so here goes. Imo, it's better to go with bigger companies or companies who have been in the business a long time rather than upstart or companies that have only been around for 5-10years. More financially stable, better R&D, higher tech, and better qc for the most part (although all audio equipment can certainly fail no matter who the company is)
I buy what sounds the best and from a company with a good reputation. Don't care about size, R&D ... meaningless if it doesn't sound good.

06-20-13: Ren_audio
Peter, I agree with you, but there is one thing- a resale value. You can easily sell second hand Sonus Faber, B&W, Focal, Tannoys etc for reasonable price. But I have seen so many BIG speakers from SMALL companies with discount more than 70% of MSRP with no luck over years..
It all DEPENDS on the small or large company and the products they produce.

That's the power of advertising, it's also easier to sell the hyped up brands in the first place, when they are new. Then the question that has to be asked is: Are you buying the product for the purpose of reselling it or are you buying it to enjoy music?

Good Listening,

Check out Vivid audio. Nothing but good reviews.
@ Peter: I do see your point. There are certainly advantages to smaller companies such as yours, and you highlighted them, so no need to repeat that.

Not all smaller companies are bad. You guys make killer products from what I can tell. I like other smaller companies such as FM Acoustics in Switzerland. They have been around for 40 years and are financially stable. And I take it a lot of their money goes into R&D, which it should at their prices. And the resale value is very high. The same goes for companies like Pass Labs (22 years,) Accuphase (40 years,) and German companies like Burmester and Symphonic Line.

However, I still stand by what I said here. It's just my preference. Take a company like TAD with unlimited resources from the parent company, Pioneer. They arguably make some of the best equipment on the planet. And it's not too much of a secret as to why that is. It's not cheap, but it is a wise investment, imo. If I had the money, I would strongly consider it.
@ Pbn,
We too of course have workers, but the owner usually is hands on all the way making sure that the product that goes out the door is A+1 because it has his name on it.

You haven't seen my Vapor speakers have you? Not good!
What are the costs of say a Wilson Speaker. You are paying for an expensive R and D department, a massive marketing budget, distributor and dealers profits. I wonder what percentage of a Sonus Faber or Wilson speaker is actual labour amd material costs, I don't know, but I would be suprised if it is more than 25%

You take the small guy like Daedalus, Fritz. They have both been in the business for decades, no marketing, no dealers, no R and D department. I can also assure you, if and it's a rare if, a Daedalus speaker comes up second hand, it usually sells pretty quickly

TAD definitely is a very nice product and probably one I would own my self if i did not make my own. Have now for almost 22 years, PBN Audio was founded April 1992.


Manufacturing in the US is very expensive, only surpassed by Northern Europe. It cost a lot of money to run a operation like the typical Loudspeaker / Amplifier producer we are talking about here. Parts cost, if one is to run a profitable operation is typically 20% of retail. Where does the rest go ? If one sells international distributors in foreign countries are typically invoiced with a 60% discount to allow for their costs of distribution. The foreign dealer need to make money too to cover the cost of their operation.

Before the internet with its transparency products could carry a much higher cost abroad to cover the associated costs, but nowadays its very easy for a, lets say Frenchman, to find the retail price of a product in its home land and he typically will not accept to pay a much higher price there. The only way to get around that issue is to make a global price for a product, therefor the product in its homeland becomes more expensive.

Domestic dealers typically are invoiced with a 40 to 50% discount of retail, they too need to cover costs of operations


No I have not , but why take that up with me ? Luvs2listen seems to be the one to handle your concerns regarding this.

Good Listening

Pbn, you said if the owner is involved he will more than likely make sure the product is A1. This was not the case in my pair. Just the opposite actually.
Pbnaudio, my comments were'nt a criticism, but an observation on the break down of pricing in HiFi companies. If you want to get a good bang for your buck, then the one man operation, selling direct to the customer, is a good way to go. Particularly if they have a good reputation and offer home trials, as both Fritz and Daedalus do.
"Take a company like TAD with unlimited resources from the parent company, Pioneer."

I am the happy owner of three Pioneer Kuro plasma TV displays, which are still considered by many to be the best flat panels ever made.

Pioneer lost so much money making making them that they stopped all plasma production in 2009. The moral of the story? No one is too big to fail.
@ Peter: Thanks for the detailed response. Again, I do appreciate certain smaller companies too. You certainly have proven yourself in this business. I respect that. I'll check you guys out at the next CES.
"No one is too big to fail"

Of course not! I won't deny that.
Interesting thread!, Great Read!, No comment on eanything here mentioned other than the JBLs and TADs, my tast is their better to me than whats talked about here, @ the op, The JBL and TAD are worth looking into for the money you are willing to spend!, Good luck!, and formost, Happy Listening!

Here's my take on your quest in spending 20K.

1. Buy a pair of Sonus Faber - used but mint, for 5K or less.

2. Buy a few bottles of wine - the good stuff. All speakers sound GREAT after 3 glasses anyway - even a Bose Soundwave system.

3. Buy 2 round-trip plane tickets (for you and significant other) to a European destination - Paris sounds nice- and attend a live concert there plus a restaurant or two.

You should have enough money left to purchase music (downloads - vinyls - cd's whatever) or take in a few local concerts.

When all is done, you might even get used to the beautifull looks and sound (subjective of course) of those Italian speakers - if not you, your significant other will for sure.

All joking aside, I more or less followed this scenario (minus the Bose part) and dont regret a thing!
In the 15 years that I am in this business there is one big mistake what I see or maybe better say I hear often:

People buy expensive speakers and they do not have the quality in equipment and cables to get the best out of the speaker. In Always use % to explain it. There are enough people who get about 30% out of there speakers. That is why I often demonstrate different amps and cables to let people hear how big the difference is. Many shops are only interested in selling expensive speakers. They will not tell you that you do not have the quality to get at least 80% out of the speaker. Often they do not have the knowledge to give customers they right information.

In the past I met these kind of people more than these days. They had one thing in common. They werre not happy with the end results. I used other amps and cables to let them hear what the reason was.
I haven't heard them all but of those I've heard the speakers on your short list are all over the map sonically. We might be able to guide you better if you tell us what you are after sonically in addition to your music preferences. Have you auditioned any/many of the speakers on your list or is it based primarily on what you have read about these models here and elsewhere? As someone said above, speakers are such a personal preference since we all hear differently, respond differently to sound, have different rooms, equipment etc. If you are going to lay out that kind of money you really need to do some listening to get down to a few models that really float your boat. Of course, you already have some very fine equipment so maybe I'm not telling you something you don't already know.....Beyond that, the only comment I would venture has to do with your room--it is big, it is square and it is damped. Big suggests a larger speaker system that will have no difficulty filling and pressurizing the void. So, something like the Daedalus Ulysses or Argos with Lou's BOW system would likely do the trick. Your room is also square, which can present some problems. You may want to explore something that gives you some adjustment capability in the bass to account for standing wave and other issues that can occur in a square room--the Vandersteen 5A comes to mind. As for all the damping--is this really necessary? What are you using currently that has caused you to apply so much acoustical treatment? Are you looking to address the squareness issue? The reason I ask is that if you are wedded to the acoustical treatments then this absolutely mandates an in home audition of any speaker you are considering, since it is highly unlikely that the speaker will sound the same as it did during your store or show demo and you may be disappointed once you get your final choice set up in your room. Again, Daedalus (and probably some others) will provide a trial purchase so that may be of importance to you.

Best of luck with your search.
Bo1972, you're exactly right. Which is why I'd like to upgrade myself. :) High quality amps and cables *do* make a difference!
well I decided to go with the Legacy Whisper XD, the room correction system and its active crossovers will provide better flexibility in using Tube and SS amps to drive the Speakers.
I hope you enjoy them, they have a good reputation. Please report back your impressions of them
I will do. The internal wiring has been upgraded with Solid Copper Core and Silver Core purchased from VH Audio. Also added in Vcap Bypass tweeters and Clarity caps for the rest of the drivers. Will post soon.
Cool, sounds good, and congrats. Great speakers,imo.
Bo1972-Great Post!-Dragon vibe-Hope the Legacy speakers meet your needs.
An I-pod with the huge 5 way headphones.