Dunlavy SC4a. Can't go wrong if you have the room. Except for their size they do everything very well. Most of the competition do things well too but not as evenly balanced in my opinion or are a lot more expensive.
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My first thought is, I like your taste in amps! The Pass Alephs (may they rest in peace) are among my favorite amplifiers.
My second thought is, that's a mighty big room you got there.
Also, I think your decision to replace rather than upgrade your present speakers is a wise one. If I might ask, what specific areas would you like to improve over what the B&W's do now?
Before indulging in making a recommendation or two, I'd like to get a better feel for what you're looking for in a loudspeaker.
Here's a list of loudspeaker qualities. The list is arbitrary; I made it up. If you want to play along, pick out the qualities that matter most to you, and feel free to add your own requirements to your personal list.
1. Good timbre (the natural sound of voices and instruments).
2. Good inner harmonic texture & nuance (you can hear all the tiniest details).
3. Good clarity and articulation (you can readily understand the lyrics, and easily pick out and follow a single voice or instrument).
4. Good dynamic contrast (liveliness).
5. Superb soundstaging for a single listener.
6. Good soundstaging over a wide listening area.
7. Rich, lush sense of hall ambience and spaciousness.
8. Natural-sounding bass.
9. Extreme deep bass extension.
10. Unobtrusive size and/or visual appeal.
11. Sounds great at low volumes.
12. Sounds great at medium volumes.
13. Sounds great at high volumes.
14. Forgiving of less-than-ideal recordings and sources.
15. Ruthlessly accurate and revealing.
16. Freedom from colorations that remind you you're listening to boxes, not live music.
17. Works well in less-than-optimum room or location.
18. Non-fatiguing over long listening sessions.
19. Gives a good jazz club/front-of-the-hall presentation.
20. Gives a good middle-of-the-hall presentation.
Some of these qualities tend to be mutually exclusive, but don't worry about that. The idea here is for us to get an idea of what things matter most to you, so that our recommendations are more likely to be in the ballpark.
Most of us would trade our left, ah, loudspeaker for a room the size of yours. Your budget gives you plenty of flexiblity, so by the time you're done, you should have an excellent system.
Best of luck to you in your quest!
AUDIOKINESIS--thank you for taking the time to put together your response. it might be easier to say which areas of concern are less important to me. the dunlevy 4a's are too large for my room--which is my living room. i first heard the aleph1.2's paired w/ 4's. Great combination--like real music--a good compromise on the detailed vs. sweetness issue. i don't want highly analytical speakers--but i crave detail and subtile sound staging details. my room is large enough for deep bass. that's nice, but tighter tuneful bass
is more important than significant energy below 35htz.i want the bass fast enough to drive jazz and rock. my current b&w metal tweeter[read: bright] is something i could live without. in miami, home demo is nonexistant & nothing sounds like the pass aleph's. from reading my demo list might include all the usual players: 802 nautilus, revel studio or performa[likely too bright, but worth trying esp w/ the aleph's], mezzo utopia's, avanti III, mahlers, cremonias, the dynaudio 3.3 or the older contour 5's. suggestions are welcome
where is the PIEGA dealer in florida. does piega have a website? address? there was a listing for new piega 10's for $7000. the cables salesman--who sells the german cables-- had purchased the piegas in europe. everything i've read about the piega 10's describes them as a dream come true.
they might be great for me, if a could demo & find a used pair within my price range. can i buy something like the piegas from a german dealer and import them myself??
BACK TO REALITY___any suggestions??? bob
lol how come EVERYONE here knows the "cable salesman--who sells the german cables"
Kidding aside I have heard nothing bad about the piega p10, in fact if they had a better looking finish I would consider them myself. A member who uses the moniker Calloway has P10's and loves them, contact him and ask what he thinks-nothing but praise I assure you!! ~Tim
Given your preferences and room I think the Silverline Sonatas would be a very good choice. Large 3D soundstage, dynamic, transparent, deep and tuneful bass(but not overbearing), and nicely detailed without brightness(silk dome tweet). They also disappear in a room sonically better than most speakers I've heard. If the Sonatas are too big the smaller Sonatina will get you most of the way there.
If you can find them used you might also consider the LaFolia, which is the next model up and is really quite something. Best of luck.
Piega comes in several finishes.A satin finish has a 9995.00 retail.One of ,if not the finest polyester laqure available graces the p-10 at 12,125.00 in white or black. Hey tireguy have you seen this one?There is a dealer in Clearwater who specializes in home theater using Piega or you can visit the Sanibel Dealer Showroom near the causeway in Sanibel.
Bob52r, based on your 6/29 post I believe that Piega, Avalon, and Audio Physic speakers could match your taste. Another option to consider is a stat (a medium-sized Soundlab perhaps?). I have never listened to the speakers above with your amps, so I'm just extrapolating. But Alephs are great machines! Good luck!
Thanks for replying above. Your criteria are reasonable and well thought-out.
The Audio Physic suggestion sounds like a good one to me. My impression is that the line has a sweet, warmish balance, and there is a definite sonic family resemblance up and down the line. I mention this in case you get a chance to hear one of their models - you can fairly reliably extrapolate up & down the line.
Used Talon Chorus X is another possibility, as are the Piegas. I don't sell any of these, but at one time or another they were each on my short-list.
I have gravitated towards speakers that have extremely low levels of boxy coloration, perhaps because of my attraction to big, full-range electrostats. Models I have which fall within your criteria are the Gradient Revolution and Buggtussel Lemniscus. I'm quite comfortable offering in-home auditions.
Hififarm- Please except my apology, allow me to elaborate... First of all they are just boxes and lack any sense of style(a major no no for me), secondly as far as finishes go I was aware of the upgraded painted finishes, but I am spoiled having seen the likes of Avalon premium finishes(which when I get rid of my current avalons is a must on the next pair), Verity premium finish(though these are pretty much boxes as well), and of course the Talon Khorus X- a great finish in the burl wood- I am sure there are many others that I am leaving out but these are what comes to mind. The idea of paying a few thousand to get premium paint just seems foolish, I can send them out to be painted-any color I want- for much less. ~Tim
audiokinises--how would i arrange home demo's of the lines you suggest. local dealers hold up a cross when they hear the words: "home demo" i am in miami, fl 33133. i would not feal comfortable w/o a local "in shop demo" first; and after i kick some tires first, then i'm ready to talk about home demo's before a final decision. i respect the time and the investment that an audio salon has in its business and would not want to put someone out w/o me being relatively sure about what i'm doing. i don't demo speakers for a hobby. music is what helps me keep my sanity in this crazy, streesful world. good sound works much more effectively than recreational controled substances--unfortuneately the are both very expensive.
I understand your desire to kick the tires first, via an in-store audition. That makes a lot of sense, and I'd want the same thing.
Since I'm in New Orleans and the commute from Miami just isn't practical, what I think would make sense is for you and I to get to know each other over the phone first. I'm e-mailing you my phone number. From this point, once I get a better feel for what would fit your needs, and you get a better feel for what I have to offer, IF we both think I have something extremely promising to offer, we can arrange for you to audition the speaker in-home, splitting the shipping on some equitable basis. I can tell that you wouldn't want to waste my time, nor would I want to waste yours, so if we don't conclude that I have something extremely promising, hopefully we'll count ourselves the richer for having gotten to know a fellow audiophile, and save each other time & money by not going through with the demo. And for my part, if something I don't sell seems to me to be a potentially equal or better match than what I do sell, I'll let you know. I pride myself on being a hobbyist first and a dealer second.
My website is a bit out of date, but you can go there and get a little better feel for my approach. www.audiokinesis.com.
One last thing - you wrote that "music is what helps me keep my sanity in this crazy, stressful world." Yesss! Music can completely change the energy in a room or a home, and music well reproduced can go beyond entertaining and become transformational. You mentioned recreational controlled substances - another analogy would be deep meditation, which takes a great deal of mental discipline. Music can take you to the same place, but it does so effortlessly.
One other possibility occurs to me - with those powerful amps, you could drive a pair of Sound Lab Millennium-3 full-range electrostats. This is Sound Lab's smallest full-range model. The only issue would be the size of the speakers, but Sound Labs are legendary for their world-class inner harmonic detail and natural timbre.
Since the Sound Labs approximate a line source rather than a point source, they have a certain characteristic that makes them especially well suited for large rooms: The sound pressure level falls off more gradually with distance than it does for a conventional speaker. This sets up a sound-field that just "feels" more like what one experiences at a concert. In my room, for example, a point-source loudspeaker's output falls off by 11 dB as you move back from 1 meter to 8 meters, but the output of the Sound Labs only falls off by 4 dB over the same distance.
Now, if you're looking for very high volume levels, the Sound Labs aren't for you - they're definitely a finesse speaker, a quality-over-quantity speaker. But they do some things probably better than anything else out there, and some of those things just happen to be among your priorities.
These smaller Sound Labs are easier to ship than their big brothers, and in a week or two I'd be able to offer you an in-home audition on a pair.
Make certain you audition the Piega before buying any other speakers. I'll agree some of the planars are wonderful in some applications but I challange any to compare with the ribbon technology offered in the Piega. This is truly an all around speaker not limited to certain types of amps, rooms ,or music. 19 hz bass and extension to 47.5 k. Listen and compare. I believe if Duke Laguine from Audiokinesis,one of our old customers, heard the Piega set up in his system he would agree. What say you Duke?
Yes I bought some very nice gear from Hifi Farm back in the 90's. I'm now a dealer for two of the lines whose products I bought on your recommendation (Clayton & Gradient), so I hope that tells you a little about the high regard I have for your ears and your advice.
I've sort of developed a philosophy about loudspeakers, based mainly on my experiences as an amateur speaker builder but supported by my "real-world" observations. The models I've chosen to carry all more or less fit in with that philosophy.
I feel honored that you'd think of me in connection with the Piegas, since you obviously believe in them wholeheartedly. Just for the record let me state that another dealer whose ears I have a great deal of respect for, Jonathan Tinn, is also a Piega dealer. For the time being I'm barking up other trees, but I thank you for thinking of me.
CALLING DUKE< PLEASE COME TO THE INFORMATION BOOTH
as i've nosing around, i read w/ great interest the knowledgible and honest explanations of a member on audioassylum explaning planar speakers[maggies and sound labs] to the members on the assylum. this is our own audiokinesis a/k/a DUKE.
i have zero exp w/ planars--would a maggie 3.6 or 20; or a soundlabs M-2/M-3 or A-2/A-3 fit my criteria including rockn' roll, duke ellington & mahler @110dbs in my large room. i know that the string quartets would be spooky.
thanks for any info that you might provide---BOB
First of all, thanks for your kind words! Yes you've uncovered my alias - I'm "AudioKinesis" here, and "Duke" at the Asylum. You see, at the Asylum, industry members aren't supposed to use the name of their business in their moniker, which is fine with me.
I'm afraid 110 dB is beyond the capability of most full-range planars, and at the edge of the envelope for the few that might be able to do it. It would require far more powerful amplification than even what you have.
It's a tradeoff: we full-range planar lovers trade off levels over 100 dB for being able to do lesser volume levels with superb clarity. I do have a couple of Sound Lab customers who approach 110 dB peaks with their systems, but they have spent much more than $4K - $6k.
If we throw that 110 dB in a large room requirement into the mix, our choices narrow considerably. I would estimate you'd need conventional (point-source) speakers of 96 dB efficiency to give you a clean 110 dB of music at the listening position. Here's how I figure it: Starting out with 96 dB for 1 watt input, halfway across your room a single speaker would be doing about 87 dB. Add the second speaker, and we're back to 93 dB. Add 200 watts to that, and we're at 116 dB (ignoring dynamic compression, which would be minimal in a speaker of this efficiency). We'd want 6 dB of headroom to be able to handle instantaneous peaks, so that brings our clean music SPL down to 110 dB.
Now, if you're only talking about 110 dB maximum instantaneous peak capability, and maximum average levels of more like 104 dB, then 90 dB efficient speakers would theoretically suffice.
I'm sorry to muddy the waters, but it's all about tradeoffs, and that 110 dB requirement changes the picture significantly. And, do you mean 110 dB maximum peaks, or 110 dB sustained music?
my pass aleph 1.2 will put out a clean 105db on the rat shack meter thru b&w 802 serIII which aren't that efficient.
i guess i'm leaning more towards peaks, but it's not comfortable to listen to the hi db for long time periods--more than ten minutes or much, much less time.
duke, you are far more knowledgable than I. its great to feel like the stones, tito puente or the radiators are in my home!! i can't get a feel of the compromises that you are suggesting w/ the sound labs and the big maggies. if i cannot ressurect ray brown by feeling his bass in my gut, it's not life-like jazz. do the piega 8 or 10 involve the same compromise in sound level and dynamics?