I am a relative newb when it comes to this high-end world of audio. I purchased most of my equipment last year and then got involved in a home renovation project that zapped much of my funds ($500K...ouch). The renovation is concluding and I should have about $15K to throw at speakers to complete my system.
Here is what I have purchased so far: *Contstellation Audio Inspiration Amp/Preamp *PS Audio Direct Stream DAC with board *PS Audio Power Station *Oppo 105D *Parasound JC3+ phono preamp *Pro-ject Xpression Turntable with unknown cartridge *Blinn Super Wide Audio Rack
I was all set to buy Raidho D1.1 last years and then had to cancel the order at the last minute due to the funding requirements of our renovation :/. I attended RMAF in 2014 and heard the Raidho’s and couldn’t get their sound out of my head. It was the best system I heard at the show. They were using Constellation electronics so hence the reason I bought the same brand. I didn’t have the funds to buy the expensive Constellation stuff but I was hoping for a similar sound. I also chose the JC3+ because I read that John Curl designed the preamp. He also designs for Constellation. Expectation is some trickle down in the technology and sound. Who knows but so far so good.
My room is 14’ x 22’ with 6’8" ceilings (crappy, i know). The room is in the basement and is all new drywall with new carpet over hardwoods. I like to listen to all kinds of great music including jazz, classical, industrial, pop to country.
So that leaves me with my dilemma, what speakers to buy? I plan to attend RMAF in October to listen to other speakers but would like a list of suggestions based on my requirements/restrictions. RMAF is overwhelming with all the choices and I don’t have time to listen to everything.
The brands I have heard that I have enjoyed include: *Raidho *Wilson Audio *Nola *There are others but these come to mind first.
Please let me know your recommendations on new or used speakers within my budget.
RMAF is the best show in USA, but show conditions often aren't great. Do you live near many dealers and/or other audio enthusiasts where you can listen to some stuff in less stressful situations? IMHE, gear that impresses during short listening sessions often does so because of easy to quantify criteria (e.g. tons of detail, or large soundstage). Some other stuff such as purity of timbre and realistic dynamic shifts sometimes take longer auditions with a greater variety of music you know well to evaluate. It's funny, my impression of the 3 brands you mention is that they are more different than the same in "house sound", design preferences etc. Have you considered used speakers that would allow you to make a change down the road if you choose without a huge depreciation hit? It's a buyer's market right now, as I unfortunately know firsthand. There are bargains to be had. Cheers, Spencer
I listened to the Raidho's three different days with different music playing and in different locations in the room. Denver sadly doesn't have too many choices for listening to the brands I am considering.
I agree the brands I mentioned above are different sounding, however, each of the rooms for the above mentioned brands sounded really good to my ears over numerous visits for my 3 days in 2014 to RMAF.
As I said in my initial post, I am definitely open to used equipment. Any brands or specific models you would suggest?
I'm wondering how your room will interact with any of the speakers you have in mind. With your apparent availability of resources, I would have Rives Audio do a workup on your room, and follow their suggestions.
That will ensure any speaker you decide on will be able to deliver its best in your particular situation.
Infection, I understand how you may have taken my comment about how much I spent on the renovation. It was intended as a commentary on how ridiculous costs have risen for construction, nothing more. I will edit my original and remove the reference as I see how this could be construed.
Set aside some money for acoustic treatment! Contact GIK Acoustics for in depth advice and great panels. Great acoustics makes for a more flexible choice of speakers as well as better sounding and easier to manage bass.
Are you thinking full range, or stand plus subs? The latter can produce some great results if integrated right. How about the smaller Avantgarde?
I am definitely planning on room treatments due to the low ceilings.
I am open to monitors or full range. I cannot use a sub with my Constellation setup. I considered a REL but after looking through my manuals and calling REL they don’t recommend it with Constellation amps.
I do like to listen to music at somewhat high levels, not crazy volume but sometimes it is fun to feel the music. I thought about horns, however, my research showed they do better in very large rooms???
Thank you for all the suggestions. I will put all of these on my list of manufacturers to visit at RMAF.
Just read your owner’s manual. As mentioned in the manual, you can still hook up a sub via the Pre amp outputs, no problem. Some trade-offs would occur either way that in the end won’t matter. It’s speaker level subwoofer connections that should be avoided, and I dislike those anyway.
Also, since this is a small room, you’d be surprised how much bass you can get from smaller when properly treated. You don’t have to try to shoe-horn in a large Wilson or Nola.
Treat the room first. Get a very high quality two or two and a half way and THEN evaluate the need for a sub.
No one ever takes my advice though. They try to get the largest speaker they can physically accommodate and then suffer muddy bass.
When you go to your next show, pay attention to rooms that sound great while you are still in the hall. You'll notice they are the one's that have better room treatment.
I agree with Erik that connecting a REL or other sub to outputs of the Constellation preamp should work fine. And despite what REL may have told you connecting a sub or subs that accept speaker-level inputs to the amp should also be possible.
Since the amp has balanced outputs the sub's ground wire (the black wire in a REL speaker-level cable) should not be connected to any of the output terminals of the amp, and instead should be connected to a circuit ground point of the amp. With some designs connecting to a chassis screw will serve that purpose, although a loud hum might result in some cases. But what should almost certainly work well would be soldering the black wire from the sub to the ground sleeve of an RCA plug, leaving the plug's center pin unconnected, and inserting that plug into an unused RCA input connector of the amp. That would establish a suitable connection between the sub's circuit ground and the amp's circuit ground.
If one sub is used the red wire from the sub would then be connected to the amp's positive output terminal for one channel, and the yellow wire to the positive output terminal for the other channel. If two subs are used the red and yellow wires of the left channel sub would both be connected to the left channel positive output terminal of the amp, and the red and yellow wires of the right channel sub would both be connected to the right channel positive output terminal of the amp.
JBL K2 S9900. Guaranteed to knock your socks off! Heard them recently at T.H.E. Show in Newport. Big, clean, rich sound. Might need to bolt down your listening chair for safety. Incredible macro-dynamics & micro-detail. Recently, saw a used pair for $15K.
Don't under estimate Rockport Loudspeakers their new line is Exceptional. You owe it to yourself to at least listen to them. One thing yo mention why no vacuum tubes in Anything they give a realism th stolid state cannot duplicate in several areas. If you have the funds the Lampizator Vacuum tube days are better then turn tables in several areas . thst is another topic .Hear the Rockports !!
The new jbl synthesis studio 590 tower speaker’s will best anything that is new in the $15,000.00 class of speaker's, man, you owe it to your self to go listen to these speaker's, I warn you though, you will come home with a pair!
Although I agree with others that show conditions have tons of variables, the fact that you couldn't get the sound of the Raidhos out of your head I think carries a lot of weight. That said, in your price range there are lots of other great options, many of which have already been mentioned above. I'd add the Joseph Audio Perspectives to your list. Relatively small footprint towers that might work well in your room, and they'll certainly allow you to "feel" more of the music more than most monitors as they will dig deeper into the lower octaves. Best of luck.
@czarivey Thanks for mentioning Nola Viper Reference as I have mine which are the final version of them for sale due to financial issues, well within the budget mentioned. I was reluctant to hawk my ad but have to agree with those posting that a medium sized speaker like the Nola (potentially with sub if preferred) would yield better results in OP's moderately sized room. Most of my other faves suggested in the replies are really large and require a large room(e.g. Rockports). The Tidals are nice but over the budget even used. OP, see my ad or PM me if any interest or you'd like to demo @ 19803. Cheers, Spencer
These are what booted me off the equipment merry-go-round. Unfortunately, they lack the look of modern shiny automotive paint jobs or billet aluminum anodizing. On the other hand the thick veneer work is stunning.
When my wife first saw them positioned well out into the first third of the room with less than a quarter inch of toe-in she asked, "is that really where they're going?" I asked her to have a listen and then tell me. It's been over five years and the subject has never come up.
My inexperience with listening and their retail price kept me from taking the Eidolons seriously at shows and stores but in the first ten minutes with them at home, I was a goner.
You bought all the equipment before choosing speakers? It is rarely done and only when you just must have particular amps. Is this the case? Also, your source is weak. There are probably hundreds of speakers in this price range. How can we advise?
inna, as I stated in my original post I heard Raidho with Constellation at RMAF and that was what I was planning to buy and still may do so unless I hear something else that wows me more in October at RMAF. I delayed the speaker purchase because of a much higher than expected bid on a home renovation, also stated in first post. Not sure what you mean by "source is weak". The turntable was purchased many years ago and is not a long-term solution. I also don't listen to a ton of cd's, however, I read very good reviews about the Oppo. The PS Dac for streaming is considered one of the best on the market, in some people's views and that is what I use most often. Ultimately I would like to upgrade the TT but that is going to be after the speakers.
Lastly, yes, there are many speakers in this price range. That is what makes it so difficult to choose. The reason I posted was for some advice on speaker recommendations to narrow down my search since I don't have unlimited time to search. My plan is to attend RMAF and seek out a dozen or so suggested speakers and make an educated decision.
Yes, I meant mostly the turntable. You need to listen to speakers in your room or at the very least in a well set-up dealer's room. $15k is enough to get excellent speakers even new let alone used. Some high end speaker manufacturers now have the cabinets and perhaps some other parts made in China. Do you want it? Ask them, anyway. What if the speakers that you like most don't work well with the amps that you already have? Cables matter too, big time. You can get lucky with this speakers last approach, but it's very tricky. I would never do it. Well..since I want Lamm amps I actually might, but it would be a pain. As I understand it, you don't care whether it is Constellation or something else. As a very general direction - if the speakers look pretty they are either very expensive or not good enough. Most great speakers are quite ugly. I'll add two names to your list without knowing your amps and taste: Kharma and Dynaudio.
No, I live in Denver bache. I will seek out listening sessions in October at RMAF and make a decision.
inna, I am sure you didn't intend to make me out to be an A$$ by buying my amp and preamp in advance of my speakers. I actually recall a conversation with the rep at Wilson Audio at RMAF and he recommended buying the amp/preamp BEFORE the speakers. I know, what an idiot. Anyway, I will continue on to stumble forward in my stupidity and hopefully end up with something that my dumb fuc$ ears and brain will like.
That's a strange approach by the Wilson representative. Good modern solid state amps should work reasonably well with many speakers, so it's unlikely that you will end up with a bad match. It just might be the difference between an acceptable match and excellent match.
If you want a set of speakers you'll never want to replace AND be well under your budget, build yourself a set of Linkwitz LX521 or the Linkwitz Orion. If you don't feel like it, even within your budget, you can get them delivered to your doorstep well within your price range.
My room dimensions cause great limitation also. 10 x 24 x 7' high. I have a pair of Used demo YG Carmel for $7500. $18,000 msrp. Handle any kind of room acoustic problems. Most resolving revealing speaker I have ever owned. 2 way aluminum closed cabinet. They have no mercy for mediocre recording quality though. The rest of my system is price matched with the msrp. Including cables. Check them out.
I went to the Newport Beach Audio show in June and the best speakers I heard were the Raidho and Nola's so it is interesting that you have picked those speakers out as your favorites. Unfortunately, the speakers they had on display were beyond my budget. If you have the money to get either of those speakers you will be super happy. I ended up buying a used pair of 4 month old Wilson Audio Duette 2's. One other speaker I liked was the Magnepan 3.7i. Great value and very musical. I heard at least 60 different speakers at the Newport show. They all sounded pretty amazing.
Take stake a listen to the Spendor D9... (Or D7 for that matter.) Listen to the MAGICO s3 or s5 . Listen to Avalon diamonds ( purchase pre owned if possible) . When all is set an done... By a pair of back up or reference checks; quad 63 or Spendor BC1 for midrange) As an audiophile you will probably be changing speakers throughout your journeys. As a music lover, the last two speakers may ultimately be with you till the end!!
Harbeth Monitor 40.2. Just bought a pair new under $15,000. I have purchased lots of new gear over the years and this is the best and most easily noticeable upgrade I have ever acquired. They are not sexy looking like some of the trendy stuff...these are all about the sound and representing the music as it was recorded. Voiced for vocals and easy to listen to. Definitely my last speaker purchase.
You might want to consider speakers with controlled dispersion, which will reduce (not eliminate) trouble from the low ceiling. I have a basement room of similar dimensions, and Janszen zA2.1 work well there. Other panel speakers could be good. Of course, if that’s not the kind of sound you want, so be it.
I have used a lot of acoustic treatments, too, which helps a lot.
I was thinking of Harbeth 30 or 40 models and tried the M30.1 in my room, which is soundproofed and thus well sealed. The ported bass was uncontrollable in the room, even with extensive bass trapping. Though your room may be less sound-tight than mine, you still may have some walls backed up by the foundation. That may affect your ultimate choice of speaker, and you may need to use some equalization to get reasonably even bass.
Since you like the Raidho’s Diamond series check out the XT series. Not quite as good as the Diamonds but pretty close. Maybe send a pm to coda audio and ask what models they will be showing since they haven't responded to my question earlier in this thread
No question... the one’s that get the best reviews... and the one’s I’d choose in this order are:
1. Linkwitz LX521’s (agree with above post) 2. Linkwitz Orion’s (agree with above post) 3. PureAudio Project’s (probably my first choice) 4. Nola’s 5. Gamut’s 6. Maggies w subs, or bass panels
I’ve got the Orion’s and Maggies - the Orion’s edge them out (greater dynamics and bass). But, I’m likely going to get the PureAudio Project’s, because they’re simpler to drive than the Linkwitz’s - which require an amp for each channel and a ASP or DSP (pretty complicated, but effective).
Most of these are dipole / open baffle speakers - which nothing can match, except possibly other open baffle speakers.
Once you’ve had them, nothing else will suffice.
Unfortunately, the Nola’s and Gamut’s (not open baffle, but incredible) are just too dam’n expensive and don’t sound any better than the other’s mentioned. But, you might try the Nola Brio Trio - if you must have a "big name" - also, superb sound... and... at a bargain price.
Though... for an average size room... I’d have to admit... the inexpensive WaveTouch Audio GT monitors can pretty well hang with all of these... at a bargain price! Hard to believe, but true (I have them also).