Nuetrality be Damned...

I am looking for a WARM and MUSICAL speaker, that is more emotive than analytical. I want to be drawn into the music. If the speaker is capable of creating warmth, but is still considered a "hi-fi" speaker, I would very much like to know about it...Please Help. Some of the speakers that I have heard that might fit this bill are: Voce Divina, Swans, JM Reynaud, JM Labs...
The two standouts are the RB5 II monitor and RF7 floorstanders which I own. Have your cake and eat it too. If you want to be 'drawn' into the music than this just might be the ticket for you. Don't confuse these speakers with the earbleeders of yesteryear - they are in a different class altogether.
I would include Vandersteen 3A/3Asigs and Proac 2.5/3.8s. And I agree with your thread title. Cheers. Craig
Accuracy be damned. Give me nice and toasty any day.
sonus faber...they have soul !!
Well if it's warmth you want, have you considered a pair of refurbished Quad 57's? You might go so far as to bob the feet so they sit down closer to the floor, which warms them up even more. Mmmmmmm.

Maggies are beloved by many for their musical, engaging, open sound - and deservedly so. Dynamics is not their strong point, and here amplifier matching plays a critical role. Their freedom from boxy colorations is quite refreshing.

I have an extremely low tolerance for boxiness, so while there are a a number of box speakers that I'd call warm (Spendors and Vandersteens come to mind), there aren't many I would recommend.

The dipole Gradient Revolutions are non-boxy, and are a bit on the warm side, and very much on the musical side. They trade off some efficiency and bottom end extension for superb pitch definition. Incidentally, designer Jorma Salmi used Quads as his reference speakers.

The Heil Kitharas are another warm and musical speaker, with higher efficiency and deeper bass than either the Gradients or Quads, but they trade off some pitch definition in the bottom end with their ported woofer.

The Audio Physic line is also voiced warm and sweet. There is a distinct family resemblance up and down the line, so if you've heard one model you can reliably extrapolate.

If you want to explore up into the big buck speaker range, the MBL line is rather warm sounding (in particular the megabuck Radialstrahlers), as are Sound Lab electrostats. The Classic Audio Reproduction T-1's are rather warm sounding for a high efficiency speaker.

Disclaimer - I sell Sound Labs and Gradients.

Best of luck to you in your quest!
Well this is an interesting point. Certainly the "neutral" ear bleeders of yesteryear have been improved upon but some still remain. I have owned warm forgiving speakers and would pick them any day over neutral if that term in the context you use connotates etchy with a focus on a tipped up treble to realize more apparent detail in the music.

I currently am listening to Merlin VSM-M. These speakers are NOT by definition warm and forgiving. But they can be if the music is. They are just truth tellers. Some don't want too much truth and that is a valid choice. But with proper set-up these speakers are non fatiguing, emotive and can make well recorded music come alive in the listening room. I believe Bobby P, the designer also is a big Quad fan as well. So am I.
Well, whatever you buy, I hope your pushing them with tubes.

I remain,
I think the Spendor SP-100s - or the older S-100s - would fit your criteria very well. Nice, warm, laid back type of presentation without being mushy. Oh, by the way, there pretty detailed too. :-) I can't recommend any others in the Spendor line, though. Make sure you get the dedicated stands for the SP-100s, and toe them in just a little to your listening area if you have a "sweet spot" on your couch where you like to sit. Otherwise, set them up straight ahead and they'll provide a fairly wide listening area with decent imaging. Good Luck!
JM Labs is musical. But If you're looking for something a little more laid back, Vandersteen 3A sigs or Von Schweikert VR-4 Gen IIIs fit the bill. The VR-4 is a little dark sounding, and has excellent low bass, in it's price range.
Spendor 1/2s...neutral but warm sounding as well. Spendor 2/3s...a bit warmer and a touch less neutral. Both need heavy duty stands to sound their best. A good compromise between neutrality and warmth.
Good Luck!
Why not consider the Dunlavy's and get both. Nuetrality with high end rolled off just the right amount to get you accurate, warm, musical non-fatiguing sound. Don't know your budget and room size, but IV/A and up would be my recommendation for full-range. If not II or III's will get you same sound except the last 30-20 hz respectively, which could be supplemented by a good subwoofer (Rel comes to mind)
Newform Research. The hands-down best buy in high-end audio period.
Vandersteen 3a signatures or the 5's depending on budget.

Find them, you won't be disappointed.... I currently use Apogees but my other love is the Vandy 5's. The 3a sigs. use the same top end as the 5's just don't have the built-in sub... By far, the best bang for the buck IMHO!

Hook them up to Pass gear and I promise you will be blown away!

Good luck,


My Rogers LS3/5As just cleanly took out a pair of $2,000 JM Labs for openess and general musicality. No they cannot play loudly, fill a large room or provide thunderous bass, but what they do they do very well. Colored, warm and still quite involving. It is still the champ in many ways.
Nothing like coming inside from the cold outdoors and warming your hands and basking in the glow from your speakers.
Some good advice, if I may,Select all nuetral gear with the exception of your amps. Let your amps be your color(flavor). It's a lot easier to change an amp out in a hurry, than anthing else!
Harbeth Compact 7ES [$2500US], or if you want something larger than a monitor, the Harbeth M40 [$6000 US.] Thank me later. Really. Good luck, Charlie
Well. The Harbeths Charlie mentions are naturally warm and still considered "hifi" speakers, as requested above. But they are also accurate. My Compact 7's are only warmer than accurate because I have them too close to the wall behind them and fireplace between them. My discontinued Harbeth K6's, otoh, are really warm, perfect for a cold wet day.
The higher-end JM Labs are not warm but rather intensely accurate. As someone noted a few posts back, too accurate for some tastes.

For warm and musical I would agree with Anne: Sonus Faber.

Besides which, you get that gorgeous cabinetry.
You have to listen to Vienna Acoustics, any model. I will guarantee that even if you don't buy them they will be one of the finalist on your list,
Nuetrality be damned, I am sorry, but i don't understand what you mean. Is nuetrality something not wanted? Maybe something else in your system is the problem. I don't understand how nuetrality can be damned. kind of like a beautiful woman be damned. Dosen't make since to this this ignorant ol' boy. Damn that nuetrality, who could possibly want nuetrality in their system. Nuetrality IMO, is such a stupid word to describe music. I always walk away after listening to a concert muttering to myself how neutral that concert sounded. Yea babeeeee, wasn't that a neutrual sounding band? No wonder I can't keep a girlfriend. BTW, I am completely neutrual in all things.
Can something be more nuetrual than nuetrual?
A lot of what passes these days as "neutral" is actually mean 'n lean IMHO...I have never left a concert that sounded like "neutral" speakers...Try:
Spendors (any of the Classic Series esp 2/3, 1/2, SP100)
Vandersteen (esp 3A) Solid citizen.
Pro Ac (2.5 ESP. sounds detailed yet still inviting)
Small speakers:
LS3/5 (used) or Spendor 3/5 (a little miracle)
Or for Classic old-time ultimate warmth:
Quad 57 midrange ahhhhhh especially on smaller scale stuff
Old Spendors (esp BC1) they must have had a pair of Quad's in the back room for reference...
Tannoy 15 in Gold (esp GRF cabs) King of voluptuous warm large sound...efficient only need 10 watts or so Classical Orchestral sound to drool over.
As y'all know, there's a school of thought that contends that the key to audio satisfaction is the selection of equipment that introduces the kind of distortion that the buyer finds agreeable.
NESTOROVIC LABS makes one of the most musical speakers in the industry. Give them a listen

We could purchase a really accurate speaker that sounds like real music and set it on fire! All kidding aside, a speaker with a 2 or 3 decibel boost in the 100HZ to 300HZ region and very rolled off upper register will give you "neutrality be damned". Surprisingly, there probably are models that fit this bill. On the other hand, there are accurate designs that capture the warmth of real music. Some of the candidates have been already mentioned.

Best regards,

Mike C.
I'd like to thank you all for your advice, humor and good natured teasing...