Please help with speaker choices

Hi all,
Well the room and time has lead me down the road to upgrading speakers. A most exciting time, but alas, filled with choices and no possible auditioning for me.

So I must relie on this communities suggestions and help!!

First the current system:
Nick Doshi Preamp
Nick Doshi modded Lectron JH50
Amazon Referenze TT
Triplanar Tonearm
CDP-Don't have one yet
Focal 1007 Be Monitors-current speakers

Room Size:
21 by 13 with 8ft cellings

I listen to pretty much everything. Sorry for being so general. In one listening session I may move from Coltrane, to Cannonball Adderly, to Muddy Waters and Johnny Lee Hooker to Lucinda Williams and electric/folk Neil Young. Throw in some Dylan and then move onto the White Stripes, Beck, if I'm real rowdy maybe some Ramones or AC/DC, then come down with some Edith Piaf and a sip of 12 year single malt.

Reason for wantng change:
One is I find this a hobby. For me that means having fun with experimentation. So far I have only owned the Focals.
Two is now that I moved my system against the short wall and facing out to the long part of the room, the monitors seems lacking, like they are too small to fill the space, like it is too much effort. Three is I have nerver had a floorstanding speaker and the prospect excites me. Four is, sitting wise, I can only get about 9 feet near to the Focals. To place them closer puts them right in the middle of the living room. Not really acceptable. At 9 feet, the monitors just not presenting the soundstage I desire. At that distance with monitors, I am just not in the heart of the music.

Also something important to note is I like listening loud, but do not always have that option as my system is in the living room and out of respect for others cannot always listen loud so I must have speakers that offer low volume detail.

My choices so far (more of course welcome)
Sonus Faber Cremona floorstanders
Merlin VSM-Mxe
Verity Fidelio Encore
ATC 20's passive

At the higher end(only consider if HIGHLY recommended)
Verity Parsifal ovation
Sonus Faber Amati Homage

Monitors I might consider
Focal Mini-Utopia Be
Sonus Guarnari Homage

OK, sorry for rambling so much. Obviously I am putting a lot of thought into this. Any input much appreciated!

Since you are in a mid to far field listening position and you like loud then I'd go with a three way of your choice (may present amp challenges however) although from personal experience the SCM 20's can go extremely loud compared to other two ways but 50 Watts will not make them sing....I'd go at least 150 watts.

If you want to stick to your 50 Watt tube and want loud then I'd forget ATC and the others and go with horns or a nice two way supplemented with an active subwoofer.

The two speakers you selected at higher end. I would not highly recommend either due to impedance load consideration on one and a dip in the upper mid range response on the other.
Stating a budget would be helpful. Barring that, I am going to recommend my (obviously bised) choice: Gallo Reference 3 - floorstanding (but with very small footprint), excellent with ALL types of music, easy to drive and can play loud when desired.

Try to find a local dealer who will allow you to do an in-home demo to see how they work in your setup/environment...

Yes, budget will be in the 5 to 7k range (for used equipment)with the outside chance that I would forgo getting a higher quality cdp and spend more on say the parsifals or amati homage, 10-13k range. This however is an outside chance.

I should say that even if you have no expereince with my particular system or components, just getting an idea of how these listed speakers perform, i.e. if there is a "house sound" would be very useful for me.

For example, I've heard the verty's may not handle rock music so well. Info like that is very useful for me. Thanks fo rthe recommendation RW.

Thanks all,
If you want a real departure, check out the Mirage OMD-28.

This is Mirage's high end assault on 2-channel playback incorporating a much higher-spec version of their Omnipolar module.

I got married in my living room in Dec. 2004; we had musicians provide live music for the ceremony and afterward. A couple months later I got some Mirage Omnisats and a subwoofer for the living room system. The Omnisats replaced some Wharfedale Diamond floor-standers, and the improvement in the illusion of reality was uncanny. The Mirages energize the room the same way live instruments had done a couple months previously. Nothing else has sounded so live in the room as the Omnipolar units.

So a high end, full-range version with much more sophisticated drivers and cabinetry should be interesting indeed. It would eliminate the sub/sat positioning and tuning I face and significantly improve resolution, dynamics, and linearity, while maintaining a carefully tuned ratio of sound radiation based on Mirage's 20+ years of research into speaker/room interactions and psycho-acoustics.
Those look interesting Johnnyb. What room size are you listening to those in and how far away are you sitting from them? How do they handle rock?

That's an easy one for me..... Avantgarde Duo's! I have had a pair for about a year now and love em. They can can play Hip-Hop and AC/DC with enough slam that your chest will hurt, then turn right around and play Billie Holliday so beautifully you could cry..... I am like you and run the musical gammut (last night I went from Erikah Badu to Ben Webster meets Gerry Mulligan to Heifetz/Beethoven violin concerto (oh, and The Band)).... AMong others. They are incredibly efficient and can play very quietly and not give up any detail..... And no, when they are set-up correctly they don't sound honky (i.e. have horn colorations).

I am not familiar with your amp, but they do like tubes. Most people use SET's with them but you can surely use a PP design as well.

I have a couple of addenda to my previous post.

First, concerning the Mirage OMD-28s, I listen to ALL kinds of music on my Omnisats sourced from LP, and they never disappoint, whether it's solo, small group jazz or acoustic folk/pop, electronica, new age, piano, big band, or large scale orchestral. They'd probably be better off with a big, powerful SS amp though.

OTOH, something to look into to go with your 50 wpc tube amp would be the Zu Audio Druid or Definition Mk2. These speakers have a sensitivity rating of 101 dB. The Druids have a nominal impedance of 12 ohms, which would be very tube-friendly. The Definitions, unfortunately, are rated at 6 ohms.

Here's a review of the Druids which specifically mentions that they do their thing well at all volumes. That is something you're more likely to get with a highly sensitive speaker (and 101 dB is way sensitive).

All speakers I've mentioned are somewhere in or around your price range. The Mirages are $7500/pr, the Druids $2800, and the Definitions $9000. You could bridge the gap between the Druids and Definitions (and retain that amp-friendly 12-ohm load) by getting Druids plus a Zu Audio subwoofer. See Zu Audio's website.
Hi Peter.I see you have upgraded your system quite a bit since your beginning posts.Wonderful system.If you dont have a fortune invested in CD's I would put digital aside for now, possibly forever and go for the Sonus Faber.They are very sweet.If you crave dynamics with effortless flow look for
horns Tannoy comes to mind.My room is 12x21 and have similar tastes in music(if its good its good)and have enjoyed both speakers in my room.Now maybe you can advise me. How can i contact Nick Doshi.Good luck
Hi Peter,

As Nick explained to me, the Lectron was designed for horns by a horn-lover. I've recently hooked mine up to some speakers I've just build using Edgarhorn DIY Titan's. Depending on how much you're willing to take on, these can be done in your price range. I still have some work to do on the speakers but so far the match is great! The only issue that arises is LF extension. But most horn schemes make use of subs. You might be in the same boat if you went with the Merlins.

08-07-07: Mariasplunge
Those look interesting Johnnyb. What room size are you listening to those in and how far away are you sitting from them? How do they handle rock?
The living room is nominally about 16'x18', but it's in an open architecture with 15' high cathedral ceiling and an open sweep to the front hall, the dining room, and a half-flight of steps to the upstairs hall.

These omnis, even the small satellites, are particularly adept at filling large spaces with sound. I originally hit on them for my next door neighbor, who was looking for a new stereo to fill a similar space with open architecture.

And Mirages rock. I have a pair of the older full-range bipolar Mirages in my "big rig", and they're linear to 29Hz and with a good amp, deliver plenty of rock-solid thump. The OMD-28s are several generations newer, are more expensively built, and would be even faster, cleaner, and more extended. All Mirages I've encountered can rock hard, while the full-range ones scale extremely well from solo and small-group acoustic to big band and full scale orchestra and chorus at the other end.

When the original Mirage M1 Bipolars came out, they immediately became a Stereophile Class A component at about half the price of the next cheapest speaker in the category. These OMD-28s would be worlds better.
Thanks for the help folks. I've never heard horns before and have wondered about their sound. i am surprised no one has put in a vote for the verty's since they recieve such good reviews from folks here

Dan ed, where do I find out more info about the Edgarhorn? I admire your DIY attitude. How mush of a time investment is such a feat, biulding a speaker?

I'll look into the Avantegarde's Chris. Thanks for the suggestion.

How about audio physics? Any opinions there?

I can't imagine you not wanting to hear one of the Vandersteen speakers. They all are a steal at each of their price points...
Hi Peter,

I see you are interested in the Verity Fidelo Encore and the Parsifal Ovation. May I recommend the Verity Parsifal Encore? These are what I use, and I love them. I've owned them for 2 years and have no desire to upgrade.
You have to understand that the Parsifal monitor was introduced in 1995. In 1998, Verity added the bass cabinet and the Parsifal Encore was born. The Ovation came out in 2005. My pair of Parsifal Encore's were made in 2004, and you could get a pair for much less than the cost of a pair of Ovations, figure $6-8K depending on finish, age, etc. I doubt you could get a pair of Ovations for under $10K. I believe the biggest difference is Verity went to a larger woofer for the Ovation (8" vs. 6").

I know of a pair of Veritys that you could get at a good price. They are my favorite speaker and for your applicatio n they would do nicely. Pair of Fidelio Encores for between 5000 and 6000. Call Decible Audio in Chicago.
Thanks Johnny. John, how do the encores perform with rock, bigger movemnts, loudness, etc. Like I stated before, I've heard verty's are great in intimate setting but may not perform with well on the rockin' you out scene.

This of course may be ok with me but i just want to get a feel for their performance. Say, how far apart do you have yours and how far do you sit from them.

That goes for all recommendations folks, that info would be most useful to me as i figure on how to get floorstanders into my room.

Thanks for all your great sugestions all.

Oem, Nick can be contacted through Larry Marcus at paragon Sight and Sound.

As Dan_Ed said, Nick's modded Lectron is far more capable with a wide range of speakers than anyone could guess from the specs. It has the transparency to play cleanly with horns and the oomph to handle tough crossovers and efficiencies in the upper 80db range, like our B&W's.

As you probably know, Nick drives ATC monitors with a Lectron that's pretty much identical to yours. There are no problems with volume or amp stress in his system. He can rock without distortion at chest crushing SPL's, and his listening room is *much* larger than yours.

The ATC's aren't my cup of tea and I'm unfamiliar with most of your other speaker choices, but from the description of what you're seeking I'd keep them on the list. The Merlins also work really well with the Lectron. A little less weight and body than the ATC's, better for Edith Piaf and the single malt I think.

I did notice that your idea of "everything" in music was missing a little from the classical side. For real music you need real speakers, not them head bangin' ATC's or those seductive Merlins. ;-)
I got ya on that one Doug. You see, I am still musically relatively undeveloped. However, my better half, who is the actual musician, is developed. So far, she has bought three LP's with encouragement from me to buy more.
Which did she purchase you might ask? Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky.

So you see Doug, I may, with any luck, get there :-)

Thanks for your help,
Dear Maria,
I have heard the Cremona on several occasions and I don't think it is up to the quality of your other components.

I own the Guarneris and although I can assure you that with your system the midrange and treble will be wonderful, you should look into whether the Lectron could drive the Guarneri's bass adequately. I've had some difficulty finding the right amp/preamp combination to really make them sing. You may want to take a look at the Amati Homage (budget?). I also second looking at the Verity. Jeff

If you want to really 'rock the house', no, the Verity's are not for you. They play plenty loud enough for me, in my 24X15X9 room, but they are not rough and edgy. There magic is in the purity of the midrange. I mostly listen to jazz/blues/folk, for which they are fabulous. If you really want room shaking dynamics, I would suggest maybe the Focal's or ATC's from your list. Even better, try a pair of Von Schweikert VR-4SR's or Legacy Focus HD. They will 'rock your foundation'.

Right on John, that great feedback. I do not necessarily need to rock the house as well, just getting a feel for where they are at. Honestly, most of my listening falls into the same categorie as yours.

Thanks Jeff. Another positive for the verity line. Thats good.
When you look for a long term speaker replacement, its always necessary to consider a few key elements :

a) Does the tweeter irritate? Don't mistake artificially "enhanced" detail as the real thing. We often make the mistake of thinking that a speaker is more detailed, but in reality, the upper freqs are boosted in relation to the rest of the spectrum. In the long run, this will lead to listener fatigue.

b) Does the lower-mid bass mask detail? This is one of the most common faults of most speakers, because it is also due to box resonances.

c) Does the speaker communicate the music? This is probably the hardest to achieve. It really depends on your listening tastes. I would suggest that your other half also gets involved, since she has the trained ear.

With your room size, you could easily accomodate a floor stander. Speakers which I think you could consider are :

a) Cabasse Baltic/Thor - yeah I know I'm using them, and I like them. They do go loud and don't break up. They don't have box colorations and the tweeter is very clean and musical. With the sub, you can tune it to your room/music. With the concentric drivers, they are time-alined and consequently throw huge soundstages without getting confused on loud passages.

b) Dali Euphonia MS4/5 - this is a great speaker with crystaline highs. The speakers just disappear and they throw fantastic soundstages.

c) Vandersteen Quattro - a sleeper. If you want to know what's really on the recording, this is one of those speakers. Very reveiling. They thrive on power. Heard them with a 360w amp, followed by a 600w mono and the monos just took the cake.

d) Dynaudio C2/4 - very neutral mids. Require high power to get the best from them.

Of the above, (a) and (b) are easy loads and highly efficient, while (c) and (d) require more amp mussle.

The JM Lab speakers are also good, but I would recommend you go for the floorstander instead of the monitor. I'm not a fan of Sonus as I find them too colored.

the real time with DIY speakers is in the aesthetics. It just depends on how far one wants to go. There are many open baffle speaker plans that could be built in a few days that sound wonderful. They may look like something you picked up out the back door of your local Home Depot, but they do rival many high dollar speakers. Still, the DIY route is not for everyone.

It sounds to me like your tastes in music are similar to my own. Those whose listening habits run the gamut like ours do place a huge burden on speakers. I can appreciate the demands of classical music but to ask a speaker to sound great on full symphony, bluegrass, jazz, and fully electrified rock is really not fair. But, life is not fair. :)

The Lectron really does have boat-loads of punch for a 50 watts/ch PP amp. I agree that it will handle low efficiency loads but I would warn that one needs to watch for heavy impedance loads. I found that out.
Dan ed can you clarify for me what "heavy impedence loads means. This is relaitvely new terminolody for me and clarification would be much appreciated.

Cmk, thanks for the recommendations. I enjoy learning more about speakers that are out there, your a and b both being ones I have never thought of. Those Cabasse are crazy looking. Are those classfied as horns? Fantastic and no problem with me recommending speakers you use actively, Thats what I am looking for, knowledgable folks and you obviously know what your talking about if you have experienced it.

Can you give me a better description of the Dali's. Have you used them?

Hi Peter

The Cabasse are not horns but dynamic cones, made of their proprietory ? wafer composite. Very light and rigid (93db/w). The "eyes" take a bit of getting used to, but they just disappear when the music comes on. Not everyone's cup of tea.

Dali MS series is more conventional, but cleverly designed with the rear of the speaker box converging. It uses 2 tweeters, "proprietary ribbon/soft dome hybrid tweeter module" which has one of the sweetest most extended highs. The finish on them are beautiful, definitely high on the WAF.

Unfortuately I've not used them(Dali), but when deciding to buy my last speaker, my choices were down to the Cabasse or Dali. I would have been happy with either. They are a new breed of very accurate, highly efficient and musical designs which are relatively amplifier friendly, which makes it easier to fill a room with music.

Albert Porter is using the Dali Megalines, their top of the line towers. He could shed some more light on their sonics.
My 2 cents.
I've heard the Guanaries and the Veritys. Both are superb with tubes.
I'd most likely go with the Veritys (you lucky dog)!
Oregon, thanks for the input. Yes too lucky I think sometimes. How indulgent are 6-7k speakers? Crazy really.

Oregon, could you explain why you would choose the verty's?

That should probably say "low impedance". What happens on some speakers is that the impedance the amp sees falls way off when trying to reproduce LF signals. So the amp is forced to try and keep up by supplying more current. If it goes too far the amp clips and that's not good.

My Aerial 10t's are a great example of this. I believe these can fall to 2 ohms or lower and will play down below 20 Hz. You can drive them with 50 watts, but don't turn the volume up much at all. Now, hook up 200-300 watts or more from a high-current delivering amp and they sing beautifully.

It's not easy to tell from efficiency numbers, either. I'm not sure what the numbers are on Doug's B&Ws but I'm guessing they don't drop impedance too much even though they are relatively inefficient.
Just a heads-up - take a look at this.

Note the behaviour in the upper mid range from 2Khz to 5 Khz on the plots. Then look at the peak in the impedance plot and the phase behaviour in this same upper mid-range region.
Shadorne, that is interesting, but what does that tell me. I do note the behavior change but how does that relate to amp choice? Any light on that subject would be great.

Dan ed thanks for clarfying, I think Dougs BW's are 88dB. Could be wrong here though.

From what folks have said, I was under the assumption that the verity line was most commonly driven with lower powered tube amps and the results were fine. Does that graph indicate something different?

See the last few posts in this recent thread: GPA Monaco Turntable.
That sounds about right, Pete. The 10t's are about 86. The point is that there is no way to tell from this number alone what happens to the load with respect to frequency. I think the 803's are good to about 30Hz or so, not sure. Anyway, I've heard Doug's a few times and never had the impression that his Lectron was struggling in the least. In fact, it has great bass control with those speakers.
After looking at the graphs supplied by Shadorne, I am a littel worried about the lectron's ability to drive those speakers. Although, and I might be off, I think they are rated 89dB, they do have a 4 ohm woofer and from the graph it does appear that they do dip down into that region. Dan ed, think the lectron can handle it? I am wondering. maybe i should be looking at the audio physics or the merlins? I think i'll call verity and see what they say.
I don't think it's a problem since they don't seem to ever go below 4 ohms. How loud to you want to play and how big is the room?

Maybe you can schlep your Lectron down to a dealer and find out first hand?
Thanks for the vote of confidence there Dan. Really, since I do not have a dedicated room, I mostly listen at fairly causual or normal levels, like you could easily have a conversation etc. And honestly this is the level i prefer to listen at.

Sometimes, maybe when no one is home or on a saturday night, i will turn it up, real loud, but like I said, that the exception not the rule.

Unfortunately i cannot try any of these speaker first hand. I have one smaller dealer in town who is open only by appointment and he does not cary any lines I am interested in. Anyway, I am looking used and I generally feel strange going to the dealer, trying out his gear and then coming here to buy it used. Seems like taking avantage of of something.

So I have to go on others opinions, thus yours Dan, being familiar with the Lectron is valued. Thanks

You may want to add Aerial 7B's to your list. Excellent speakers, priced right on the used market.
Hello Peter. Nick Sushi, Nick Doshi, whoever, I never heard of this equipment, and I'm sure it's head, and shoulders over mine.

Since your "first system" was comprised of Jeff Rowland, I take it, you didn't take a step down!

I'm surprised no CDP, or such? You seem to be an Analog Junkie, and therefore, you do have my highest respect.
Your analog front end probably makes mine look like a $44 Garrard.

If money was no object, I'd probably be looking top of the line Dynaudio, or a pair of Wilson Audio MAXX.
There was a sweet pair this week in Mercedes Silver. All 1100 lbs for the pair! (An erroneous list by owner said 10,000lbs lol)

I don't know why it is, when many "audiophiles shun JBL as a audiophile speaker. Many would give thier right arm of a pair of 4345 JBL Monitors. Only 500 pair of these animals were made, and if you want bass slam, and authority, these speakers will hit you in the chest like Andre The Giant. They should, with 18" Drivers.

One thing I hate with Cars, Audio Equipment, or anything I buy, is walking out, and seeing them lose 50% of thier value when you walk out the door.

That's why I like Krell, Levinson for sound, but hat them for thier inherit resale value.

Downside with JBL? Is WAF. (Know what that means?) Means you'll get static from your signigicant other if you have one.

One thing about the vintage JBL (Whereever you live) They won't lose thier value.
There are those who do recognize that all hype aside, JBL made some of the best Speakers that ever were made, bar none. And they still do, such as the Everest, and the H29800. Mark
If you have Focals now and like them, you may want to give Wilson Sophia 2 a listen. Also, Dynaudio may be a candidate, both in floor standing speakers and monitors.

SF Cremonas have a very laid back type of presentation, plus they like power....I don't know how much drive your amps will have for the Cremonas.
Mark, thanks for the suggestions. As I listen to bass slam through my current system, a Bose ipod stand, I am reminded of the practical sense in all this. This Bose stand is ridiculously uninvovling. The rest of my system is in process of being built, so I have not even heard it through my current speakers. This, i know, seems ridiculous as well. How could I want to change speakers if I have not even heard my current momnitors on my current soon to be system.
Yet you must understand, change is the only constant, and so I desire more presentation, invovlment, presence. So a floorstander it is.
Therefore, I appreciate all and any considerations and truly enjoy researching them. So thanks.

Right about now, at this hour, the single malt is writing, not I. So excuse spelling, language, or any sense at all.

I am filled with options and must let the dust settle. This community is sooo knowledgable it is almost scary. Audphile, of course i must acknowledge your statements as well. I'll chwck out Dynaudio on your recommendation.

Cheers to all.
I must say, that I am not looking for a huge speaker here. It must be a medium sized floorstander. I do not want them to overpower my living room which os closed and intimate. Therefore anything too tall or too deep is out, despite the beauty of sound. Aesthestics are important to me as well. I want the speaker to disappear in the general decor. Hopefully that helps folks understand what i look for.
I also have to second your interest in Sonus Fabers. I think they're fabulous speakers and would do great things with the wide variety of music and volumes you listen to. Their tonal balance is similar to Mirage. You may even want to look into some used Sonus Faber floor-standers. There is a pair of Cremona floorstanders in the classifieds for $6500.

Or, although stand-mounted, you might want to keep an eye out for some Extremas. Those were S'phile Class A when they came out and I'm sure they still kick ass.

One thing cool about the Extremas--they have all the dynamic and frequency range of a large speaker, but they present a small front baffle, which means they'd throw an image like mini-monitors. Best of both.
Peter, reading your & others' posts and noting yr budget, I don't think you can get what you're looking for, the way you're looking for it:
* one stereo amp, driving more or less full-range speakers (you listen to music that requires mid-bass, voice and hi-freq (cymbals, etc) -- including brass, etc).
* low amplitude reproduction that is acceptable enough to envelop you in the music (or trick you to focus on the music, as it were).
* reasonably sized spkrs, compatible with a family room.

So, I believe you would be well advised to consider somewhat less conventional solutions -- such being, active speakers, for example.
In this respect, many can fit the bill, the most obvious coming to mind being Linkwitz Orions or ATC.

I think $: 7k can buy you a pair of Orions ready made (i.e. you can also purchase a kit) including the amplification required to drive them and the electronic xover.

ASAIK, the Orions' reproduction will outperform the (very good) commercial choices listed at any volume level below 110dB spl; they are not that big; they have reasonable aesthetics (go to linkwitzlab dot com); they are very versatile -- i.e. easily set up in a room.

Many would give (their) right arm (for) a pair of 4345 JBL Monitors.
Maybe; I would agree these are interesting spkrs -- but they are huge and probably aren't practicable.
gregm, I appreciate the information. The active ATC's are on my short list for sure. I've heard great things. However, the Lectron is my first tube amp and I am sticking to it for now. This is the world i have choosen for the meantime so the active speakers will have to wait for awhile.

Of course, like you voiced, i do have concerns about getting the sound I want out of this amp, but I'll try for now and have fun doing it!! At the very least, i'll achieve some sound and be able to use it as a reference for where I want to go next, if anywhere.

Johnny, thanks for the vote for the Sonus Fabers. have you expereince with the Cremona's. Very good looking. I was wondering about the small front baffle and what that sounded like. Monitor like huh? Good to know. I suppose that puts me in range of the audio physic line, which also has a small front baffel. I've entertained thoughts on the Avanti III's but wonder if they are just too much for my space? Can you give me more feedback on the Cremona sound? Thanks and cheers folks. I'll be away for a couple of days but always appreciate the time and info you guys put into this thread so keep it coming!!

Actually, Peter can do all the things you listed with this amp. If he couldn't I wouldn't have recommended it - promise! :-)

The Lectron does those things in my sytem with the relatively petite B&W floorstanders, as Dan said. (In fact, it's substantially stronger and more involving now than what Dan, Raul and other visitors heard, thanks to some recent system tweaks.) It does those things beautifully with the top of the line Merlins + BAM. It drives similar sized Audio Kharma floorstanders with a combination of power, finesse and clarity that stunned the importer of those speakers (way beyond Peter's budget, just an example to demonstrate how capable the amp is).

Your suggestions are good ones, I know several people who swear by the powered ATC's. But since he's already got the amp doesn't it makes sense to find a pair of speakers it's known (or likely) to work with? He can always move on, but at least he'd have a reference point.


Based on experiences from Nick, Dan, ourselves and other owners, speakers with the following characteristics should offer the performance you're seeking:
* ~88db or higher efficiency
* nominal 6 ohms impedance or above (dipping to ~3 is okay)
* -3db point in the low 30's or above (not subwoofer bass)

A speaker that pushed the limits in one of these areas but left some leeway on the other two might also work fine. There are probably hundreds of speakers that meet these guidelines. You just need to find the size, color and sonic flavor that most appeals.

Your short list has clearly selected some beautiful looking aesthetic speakers (Verity, Audio Physic, SF, Merlin etc.) These are all very good speakers and each has strengths and weaknesses. The one strength that they all share is that they all look really impressive (clearly expensive cabinetry).

Most recently, in your thread you state

Aesthestics are important to me as well. I want the speaker to disappear in the general decor.

Now we are getting somewhere....frankly, the ATC's stick out like a sore thumb on this list. As a purely functional box designed for acoustics with little regard to aesthetics, ATC's look quite ordinary and are the least likely to garner admiration from guests or spouse, even if you were to go with an expensive veneer. In private, ATC's may give you jaw-dropping mid range but, from personal experience, they will not even elicit a comment from casual dinner guests and the wife will probably keep them pushed well back against the wall and hidden or out the way.

My aesthetic preference is SF then Audio Physic. I like the pyramidal Verity's least and the Merlin's are a bit more conventional looking than the others ( score lower on the wow factor with guests, IMHO)

Since these are all very good speakers (nobody should be unhappy with the sound of any of these speakers), I'd go with what you will be happiest with in terms of your decor!

Perhaps others can suggest some very good sounding and aesthetic speakers such as Totem's (and not JBL's with 18" woofers) hunch is that these kind of speakers may be more appropriate for you and will not lead to regrets later on...
Looking for speakers to consider. Why not consider coming to the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, Oct. 12th.13th.and 14th. Cheap flights to Denver,$250+- round trip, Frontier or Jet Blue and others. $35 round trip shuttle to hotel. cheap room rates. Over 300 brands, over 100 rooms. Meet all the terrific people in this hobby and lots of reviewers etc, etc. This one trip could save you a tremendous amount of pain and money (mistakes are expensive)
While I agree for the most part with Shardone about aesthetics, all of these speakers are easy on the eye. I do think it's necessary to point out that they do not all sound the same. The Verity, Sonus Faber and Merlin's are all from the same side of the track. The warm, rich, full side of neutral. The Audio Physics speakers are entirely different sound, from my experiences. The AP sound is definitely on the fast, transparent side of neutral. This can make a big difference depending on what you are looking for sonically, and your auxiliary components.

You guys are great, and I am enjoying this level of help. Sometimes it seems like this all a swirl in my head. Shadorne, I have never seen the ATC's in person or any of the speakers here that we are talking about, but aesthetics is important.

I do find the ATC in rosewood quite attractive and although less adorned than the others mentioned, they seem fine enough.

Interestingly, as Doug has pointed out, the Lectron is an extrodinarily powerful 50 wats as evidence that it drives Dougs 88db Vons to his satisfaction. Well after a talk with Nick who is currently modding the lectron to his reference level, i got to asking him what he uses. He is right now running the passive ATC 20's, 83 db with two ATC active subs in a room similiarly sized to mine. Nick's listening preferences vary like mine.

I find it amazing that 50 watts could do it for such speakers but I trust Nick. And as it is well know, and shadhorne brings up, that ATC midrange is magic. Seems like with two subs backing it up it might be fantastic. Maybe a little out ok my price range, the combo new at 10k but I could forego a higher priced CDP for the combo.

Any thoughts?
Sounds real, now that there is a fantastic idea.
John, I wonder since my line up will be completely tube based, if a warm speaker will be a little too much of a good thing. I've heard this said before, and jave never expereinced it, just bringing it up as a discussion point.

Of course Doug has similar upstream components and as I know, is extermely sensitive to ant coloration so I am assuming the Doshi pre and Modded Lectron are neutral in sound.?