You may have room modes at 40-50hz and worse around 80hz. Don’t know if you really need to go to monitors or more likely just smaller floorstanders. The world is your oyster at your budget if you want to lop off LF. Raidho X1 is an option. It has no bass. Joseph makes new lines for smaller spaces. Heard them near field at axpona...really nice. Not fatiguing. Audio kinesics is now in Texas and has the prisma speaker. Also reference 3a has time aligned speakers that you can try in home manf direct.
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I was heavily auditioning speakers for the past year and was listening to everything ~ 6K or so. I just wasn't happy with what I was hearing- KEF, Harbeth (except the SuperHL5), GoldenEar, Dali, etc.
Then while at my dealer I wandered into their back room where the Joseph Audio Pulsars were being driven by a Rogue Audio RP-5 and Stereo 100 amplifier.
It was quite literally a revelation. I sat down and listened for an afternoon, the dealer associate and myself just listening to music and talking audio.
The clearest, most transparent, cleanest open resolute sound I had ever heard, and plenty of bass as well. I am not exaggerating when I say everything else sucked by comparison.
The last speakers you should ever want.
Now- about your amplifier- I am not a Hegel fan. They have a very closed sound IMHO and are somewhat bass heavy if not bass relentless. While the JAs will still sound good, you will not be getting your money's worth with that amp. I would recommend a tube amp at some point in the near future.
I also heard the Joseph audio Profile recently (floorstander ~ $7K). To me the Pulsars sound much better.
If you are thinking Harbeth- Super HL5, etc- be warned that the combo with the Hegel amp and small room- bass will be excruciatingly overbearing.
Pulsars are amazing and worth whatever you need to do to get them.
Same size room, same Hegel 360....speakers ATC SCM19. Disclosure, I'm an ATC dealer in Canada, but maybe someone near you in Texas carries them. Sounds like the perfect solution for you. Being sealed, it is way more room friendly in this smaller room than most speakers. I should know as my room is 11.5 X 14.5 X 8, so almost identical. I think some of the other options you mention will excite the room modes from 40-50Hz more. The ATC SCM19 has some rolloff at these frequencies, so it works quite well. But, the rolloff is gradual, so you still get some bass response from them in this size room down to 30Hz. I've had trouble with a lot of speakers working well in this room and this has probably worked out the best for me over the years. I'm now also augmenting with the matching ATC sub, but the SCM19's work great on their own.
You can check out the full system here if you like:
Thanks for all the responses thus far. Sounds for sure like I will have to find somewhere to hear the JA Pulsars. Still very curious about the Dynaudio and Totem Element Fires as well. Many of the other brands are even smaller dealer network, may be hard to hear, but maybe I will get lucky. Can anyone recommend a dealer that may have more than one of the models we are discussing in the same place? Would really save me time and money. I don't really have much vacation with my new job and my daughter is going back to college so I really have to watch the budget. Thanks again for your opinions, keep 'em coming.
They aren't on your list, but I would encourage you to consider Vandersteen Quatro's. My room is 15' x 11.25' x 8' and I used them for six years very happily, because I took some well-spent time tuning them into the room via their 11 band bass equilizer capability in their self-powered subwoofers. They were not too powerful for the room, and I was able to smooth them out beautifully. They do just disappear as a sound source, and I found them to deliver the right harmonic richness and timbre of live instruments, as well as rock out nicely. Just a suggestion that certainly fits within your budget when purchased used.
I own a pair of Totem Fire monitors and compared them to the Dynaudio C1's, liked the C1's a lot, but in the end felt that they sounded "different" than the Fire's, but not "better". Same result from comparing them to the Sonus Faber Guarneri monitors. I have not had the pleasure of auditioning any of the Joseph Audio models (no dealer near me).
My Totems have been boxed up for several months, since moving my system to a much larger room and buying a set of large floor standing units. I have them for sale now on Audiogon. They are in excellent condition.
Pulsar is the "overall" monitor champ IMO. The ATC recommendation is also a good one.
Pulsar is a great combination of in-room presence and soundstage accuracy, as are the ATC. The ATC with the right electronics may be a bit superior with regards to image focus, but they are NOT a forgiving speaker.
I have heard the ATC paired with Limma gear, and it blew my mind.
A nice, used pair of Sonus faber Cremona Auditor Ms can be had for $3000 (retailed for $7000 with the stands). A very nice, all-around monitor with great midrange. A sub is not required for the lower notes, but does help to infill the lowest notes. The newer model, Olympica I, is not as 'real' in the midrange IMHO. My room is 12 x 15 x 8 and equipment is McIntosh.