Oh brother, am I in desperate need of help! 8)


OK, I've been addicted to audio equipment since I was 15 years old.  Marantz receivers and ESS speakers were my first foray into high end.  Suffice it to say, I've been at this for over 40 years.  I've been to the CES show more times than I can count, and listened to more equipment that I can count.  I've owned everything from Magenepan's, to Martin Logan's, to Thiels, to Von Schweikert's to, well, you get the picture. And I've powered them with everything from from tubes to solid state.

So, here's my quandary.  I just sold what was my dream speaker, a custom Altec 604 system that I spent a fortune building.  They were simply too big for my current home, and I know I'll regret selling them for the rest of my life.  I think my favorite pair of speakers that I've ever owned was a pair of Altec Model 19's.  I believe (I think) that I've moved beyond needing/wanting a system that can play at concert level volumes, but I do want something with a little "get-up-and-go" for those occasions I might want to let the system breathe.  I'm considering going back to a pair of panels.  Today I listened to a pair of Magnapan 1.7's.  I was mightily impressed, but I'm afraid they'll lack the visceral impact and "potency" of a more conventional, high efficiency, cone design.

I really haven't had my head in the game for the last 10 years, so there's a lot of new stuff out there.  I read about a company called Teckton, and despite the positive reviews, I'm hesitant.  There's also the Zu's in the same price range (around $2K/pr.), but I'm torn.  I don't need subterranean bass, as Both Altec systems rolled off at 40hz, and I wasn't really wanting for much.

What are some real stand-out's in the $2,000-$2,500 range (new or used) that I might look out for?  I want a floor standing speaker, not a monitor.  I was actually surprised at the presentation/impact of drums with the Magenepan 1.7's, and the timber of cymbals was eerily realistic, but they definitely compressed when the volume was turned up.  I did make the mistake of listening to a pair of B&W 802's, which were quite impressive, but way out of my price range.

As you can see, I'm in a blender, so any direction would be most appreciated...I'll likely be powering the system with a 150wpc solid state amplifier.

Thanks!
seadweller
sounds like you'll be starting all over...  I'm a fan of Paradigm... I using the Studio v5 series....  Good bass and midrange... Top end good too but may get bright sounding when turned up loud..  Their Signature is even better (no brightness) but may be out of your price range for floor standers.. Dynaudio discontinuing their Focus line so you'll be able to find a deal...   Have fun
Have you considered Vandersteen? 2CE Sigs might do it for you. Phase and time coherent designs. I’m a Thief fan (own CS6 and CS2.4) but I miss those Vandys.
I agree with stevecham.....talk to John at AudioConnection in New Jersey....it would really be worth a phone call.
This will be out at the end of the month... ELAC Uni-Fi F5. My sister pre ordered the Uni-Fi B5 which I can't wait to hear them. I'm hoping she'll let me burn them in.

You might be surprised what the Maggie's will do in your home compared to a dealers showroom. For the money 1.7 is a tough speaker to beat. Owned the Vandy 2Ci which was a nice speaker but it's no 1.7. For the money the Paradigns, Monitor Audio's are very good but not sure I'd take a similar priced model home over the 1.7's. 

If you have the room for the Magnepans and a strong amp try the 1.7's at home before you rule them out. I listen to the 1.7's all the time at one of the local shops and have compared them against the other lines I've mentioned above that they carry and there's no contest. You need the room for them. Other speakers in their price range in my opinion cant keep up with the 1.7's as you move up to higher cost, more revealing equipment; you have to spend a lot to outclass the 1.7's honestly.

Good luck.
Tekton Pendragons or Spatial M3 Turbo

Sonus Faber Venere 2.5. Great speaker.
Here's your choices

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Loudspeaker_manufacturers
Maggies take a bit of driving to get the very best out of them as ADG101 points out - you need a good amp to bring the bass out and articulate the music.

You could try the ProAc floor standing models

If space is a premium the floor standing KUDOS speakers are detailed and very articulate and provide good bass performance for such a small speaker

I have Gershmann Acoustics Sonogram's that you can pick up for around $2400 - I am finding them hard to beat by anything below $15k - and my NAIM amp is only 50 watts, so they are pretty easy to drive.


Hope that helps
HAVE you listened to B&W Matrix speakers?- the ones prior to the Nautilus models?  They can be had in your price range- the 802's are nearly impossible to damage even at high volumes. -And with a Pass SE amp they sing at ANY volume you care to choose. The amp will tame any hashiness from the metal-dome tweeters. Just make SURE you get a pair with Sound Anchor stands and tip-toes to mechanically ground the speakers to your floor.  the only (ok, a big) drawback is that they need excellent sounding components and great recordings to reach their full potential.
Seadweller, what's going to be driving these?  Makes a huge difference if you only have 20 watts vs 200...
My first serious speaker was an Altec 604 coax in a cabinet I built from Altec plans.  Viewed from the top it was a pentigon designed to be placed in a corner.

My 20 year old KEF Reference 107/2s are among the best sounding speakers I've ever heard.  Detailed yet very sweet, they extend below 20 Hz, and they continue to sound superb even at low volume.  Although rated at 90 dB sensitivity, they seem to thrive on the current the 800 watt into 4Ω Parasound JC 1s provide.  If you can find a pair, I highly recommend them. 
GoldenEar Triton Three or Silverline Prelude Plus are in your price range new and may be worth considering. 

I second Spatial Audio M-3 they will work in any room and sound like a planer on steroids, I drive mine with a 8 watt set amp
The Altec 19s are affordable, even  restored to the max and not that big as you know. If they were your favorite why not stick with them? I'll be in receipt of a blinged out pair shortly (currently being restored). Personally I like the etter than most of the speakers listed here. Amongst others I own several pairs of Tekton speakers. I'll be matching the Altec's with 300B tubes as well as some other vintage gear. Best of luck, Rob

Also second Spatial Audio M3 or M4.

ProAc Studio 200 or Response 2.5 are both worthy contenders. The Studio 200 is easy to drive, loves tubes and just darn musical; maybe not the most neutral but who cares. Plays all types of music nicely and poor recordings don't sound as bad on them as on more neutral speakers. The Response 2.5 needs a little more power, more accurate but not as musical on most recordings and equipment. Both are very nice speakers and today prices are nice but hard to find. Almost never see Studio 200's for sale... wonder why?
Call Eric at Tekton.  I am buying the Pendragons for my theater room.  After talking to Eric your mind will be made up much easier.  I know you can't judge a speaker on You Tube, but you may just want to give the Pendragons a try just to get a sense of what they can do.  In that price range they blow away Golden Ear, B&W, Paradigm and Kef.....but then again that is just my opinion

WOW this is easy! Find a pair of Marten Logan Vantages, they sell used for your price range. Hands down the most sound for the money. If you can find a pair. good luck.

Matt M
I have a pair of Proac Response 2.5 in near mint condition.  Burr Oak finish.  Might consider selling if you are near Nashville.

Thanks everyone!  I'll be driving the speakers with a Parasound A23 and matching pre-amp that I have sitting new in the box.  Of course, my Altec 604 system didn't need that kind of power, so I've been using a Parasound Z-Amp (40/wpc) and Z-Pre for many years.

Altec 19's are going for quite a bit of money these days.  They're a big speaker that takes up a lot of real estate, and they just don't have a high WAF.  I may very well own another pair someday, but now's not the time.

On the heels of my Altec 19's, I owned a pair of Magnepan 1.6's, and shortly after that, a pair of Martin Logan Sequel II's, but missed the way the 19's sounded.  The Sequel II's were far too "polite" for my taste, and the Maggie's just didn't have the "punch" I desire, particularly in the lower registers. I play drums, so I'm very sensitive to having the proper impact and weight in that area.  I'm also a Stanley Clarke fan, so bass is very important as well.

My prior Von Schweikert VR-4's (the originals) were not too bad, but I found that I could only sit down and listen to them for so long without losing interest.  There was just something missing.

I will admit, the Maggie 1.7's were quite the surprise when it comes to speed, and they actually represented drums about as good as anything I've heard in recent years, plus cymbals were amazing.  Again, my concern is the "weight" of the lower registers.  I don't know why, but I'm having a hard time warming up to a tower speaker like 100 companies are making (tall, slim, with a stack of drivers), as they just seem, well, typical.

I'd love a pair of Avantegarde horns, but don't want to make that kind of an investment, which is why I've limited myself to a $2,500 max.  I also don't want to buy a 5+ year old pair of speakers.

Lots of fine speakers listed here and I've had experience with some of them, however IMHO I don't think most of them will do what he is asking. Seadweller, since you play drums along with the very positive experience using the Altecs, I think anything other than a high sensitivity speaker will be disappointing. You should look further at the Tektons or Zu. I have heard a pair of Tektons and a few pair of Zu. All of them will "get-up-and-go" and give you plenty of punch. Both companies have a 60 day return policy, and Zu will even pay return shipping and arrange for a pick up as long as you keep them at least 45 days.

Ubiq Model One

http://www.monoandstereo.com/2015/08/ubiq-audio-model-one-speakers-review.html
Fellow drummer here. I know exactly what you’re talking about with regard to impact and weight. IME cone drivers are better able to convey the density, thrust, etc. that I feel when sitting behind a kit. Stats and ribbons sound great, but to my ears they nail the spatial and detail elements but just can’t propel the weightier dynamics into the room as well as better cone drivers can. If you haven’t already and given what you’re looking for you really need to hear some ATC speakers.  As a drummer, the dynamics, drive, and clarity of their dome midrange I have no doubt will bring a big, wide grin to your face like nothing else. Truly unique and special, and the bass and treble provide a great supporting cast.  Also a big fan of stand-up bass, and you won't be disappointed there either.  Anyway, hope this helps and best of luck in your search.

Maybe I'll do a little more research into the Zu speakers...I'd absolutely love to have a pair of ATC, PMC or Westlake Audio speakers, but I'd have to sell my car!
Sell the car.  Uber baby. 

Another drummer here as well. I use and recommend Aerial Acoustics 7b's. Great speaker but you need a big amp to get them to come alive. On the used market they're very affordable compared to their original price, but can't stress enough they need power.
Did you try listening to the latest Vandersteen 2Ce's with new drivers and crossovers? Never was into Vandersteen in the past, but the newest incarnations at any price point really blew me away. extremely musical and dynamic. IMO
I would agree with Mr_m. I own a pair of Vandersteen 2CE Sig II and I like them a lot. I would audition a pair. Another thing you could do is get the 1.7s and add a fast powered sub like rel or GR research. That would do the trick. The other speaker I know gets much attention is Salk sound.
In that price range why don't you look into the Monitor Audio Silver 10's.   I think they sound great.
I'll second the Monitor Audio Silver 10s and add the MA Silver 8s. Also check out the B&W 683 S2. You get a lot of the B&W sound you liked from the 802 in a beautifully made great sounding affordable speaker. Good luck with your speaker search.

Cheers,

Scott
Thanks gang!  What about the Dynaudio Focus 260?  Seems to have gotten rave reviews at it's original $5K price point, and now they can be had for under $3K/pr. new, which is over my planned budget.  My only concern is their diminutive size.
You may want to sell in future?  You need to factor that in the equation also.
Get a finish that is not blah....
I'd go with Speaker Art. The engineer is Bob Groose,
Bob has been a speaker builder for 
40 years, his specialty is. 4th. order
crossovers where lows frequencies are
not compromised.
Speaker Art
(805) 772-8405
fax: (805). 772-8671

Best of luck,

Xavier
Excellent suggestion Xavier I have a pair myself and would of suggested them but was not sure if Bob is making speakers these days.

I’ll check them out...Thanks! What about the Revel Performa 206?

I'm sure the Dynaudio Focus 260 is a fine speaker, however being a 4 ohm with 87db sensitivity, IMHO, I seriously doubt it will have the punch and "get-up-and-go" you are looking for even with your larger amp. In comparison the Magnepan 1.7 is a 4 ohm speaker with 86db sensitivity. Since both of these are 4 ohm speakers, that sensitivity rating @ 2.83v is using 2 watts. The 1 watt rating will be 3db less. The Revel Performa 206 is an 8 ohm speaker with 88db sensitivity so it should be better than the 260 or 1.7, but again I doubt it will come close to the punch of the Altecs. That punch and "get-up-and-go" of the Altecs is mainly due to their high sensitivity, close to a 100db from what I read. Again, IMHO, I think you should be looking at speakers with at least a sensitivity in the mid 90's. Anything less and I would definitely listen before making a commitment to buy. Remember every 3db difference is a double or half power depending on whether you are going up or down.
 

After having several of the speakers you mentioned, I am a big fan of the Holograms, having the M4's.  Similarly-price Maggie's will not have nearly the visceral impact of the Holograms and to wit, mine sound great just 2-3' from the rear wall.  I have run them with both SS and tube amps and prefer them with a tube amp, but they sound fabulous with my tube preamp and CJ MF-80 amp.  My sense is that the upgrade to the Turbo S model is money well spent, but I did not hear the stock version so this conclusion comes from other folks and from Clayton Shaw.  $2K for the M4's and $2.5K for the M3 (the former go to 45z and the latter to 32hz) makes these, in my view, the best bargain in audio speaker around.  And, oh boy, have I had a lot of speakers to compare them to over the years.... They look great, too.  

Revel Concerta 2 F-36 ..... Seems to have all the qualities for which you're searching in a new speaker.  $ 2000 / pair and perhaps one of the most under the radar audiophile speaker bargains on the planet.  Give them an audition and you may be very impressed.