ProAc comparison


What are your thoughts on comparing different ProAc models? I’m currently on my 3rd pair.

I started out with the Tablette 2000, which was a superb value for the money, and a wonderfully musical speaker with surprising bass for its size. I kind of regret selling them, because I think they’d be just about the perfect bedroom system speakers. However, I always had these on hardwood floors, so I suspect they could be a bit soft in carpeted rooms.

Then I got a good deal on a pair of Response 2S, which I had been coveting since 1998. The Response 2S had better extension in both directions than the Tablette 2000, and I found them to be considerably brighter, to the point where I actually had to lay down a carpet on top of the hardwood floor of their initial room. But they certainly had all of the musicality of the Tablettes, and seemed to have no sacrifices once the tweeter was tamed. Then I moved into a bigger space. My current living room is 17’ x 17’, and carpeted. The carpet here eats high frequencies for lunch, but the Response 2S proved to be absolutely phenomenal imagers in here. They were throwing images well beyond the walls.

After hearing the Proac Studio 140, and being completely blown-away by it, I found a good deal on the Studio 140 Mk. II, and jumped on it. What I found was a trade-off from the Response 2S. I got an extra 10 Hz of bass extension, which has proved to be deeper than expected. I got better high-frequency extension, as well. The Studio 140 Mk. II are also much more dynamic, and more efficient. I can really feel the music with these speakers in a way that I couldn’t with the Response 2S. But the Response 2S were much better at imaging. They were warmer, had better bass-mid integration, and were much better at presenting vocal textures. The Studio 140 Mk. II are much better with instrumental textures. There’s no clear winner here - it really seems to be a matter of taste. For my part, I’ve decided to stick with the Studio 140 Mk. II for now, as the dynamics, clarity, and rhythmic drive of them work really well for the music I listen to. But I can really see tube lovers going for the Response 2S.

My one mythical lust object in the ProAc lineup remains the Response 2.5. I heard them in the late-’90s, and I have never heard anything else that did such an amazing job with acoustic bass texture. I really wonder how they hold up in the context of a modern system, and how they compare to newer models. I listened to the Response D25 and was not impressed. They sounded sluggish and muddy in comparison, despite the dealer telling me they had been improved.

So what are your experiences comparing different ProAc models? Which ones have really stood out to you, and which do you covet as part of your dream system?
bainbmil
I had the Studio 140's for quiet a while, but replaced them with D15's. My experience is that they were way better on the mid bass and especially good with well recorded music featuring vocals and acoustic instruments. Still a little congested with louder amplified music such as rock, Although I rarely listen to modern Drake-like music - they really can load the room with synthesized bass. 

I only listened to the floor standers recently and was wowed. Any chance you could fit those in your listening room/budget?
B
I thought the Proac Response 2.5 was superior to the Studio 140 II, Better bass and smoother high end. The Response 2.5 is, unlike most Proac speakers, a power hog requiring quite a bit of power to sound best due to the low efficiency. I have owned all of these Proac speakers as well as Proac Response 2, and a few others,

My current speaker is the Proac Response D 40r, which is better than all the prior Proac speakers I have owned. The ribbon tweeter is absolutely great.

Best Regards,

Jim Perry
I love my ProAc Studio 148. Great looking slim towers with nice mahogany finish. The downward facing port makes it flexible for placement. I have mine 12" from wall and slightly toed in using SEV 9 Soundocity outriggers which make the speaker much more stable and easier to position and level.

For sound, the mids are awesome as double reeds and strings resonate very lifelike and the tweeter is very revealing yet keeps the silk dome warmth with the right gear like my audio refinement separates or tubes. Plus they can compress the room with their deep bass.
I own the Proac Studio 140MK II as well,wonderfull speakers in every aspect, they are so good that if I want a real upgrade I need to jump to the Response D48R which cost more than triple compare the 140MKII so I can't afford it unfortunately. 
In general standmount speakers are easier to "disappear"  in space and throw away great imaging than floor standers, but floor standers are better in dynamics, low frequencies and punch.
In general I think that the 140MKII are one of the rear speakers that give you much more than their asking price and if you want to upgrade them you need to spend a lot of money for better results. 
I first started this game with Proac EBS Studios back in er ... a long time ago!. 1977??
They were driven by Meridian 101 and 105 monoblocks and the sound was great. Eventually I went totally Meridian and via numerous changes ended up with the top of the range Meridians 861 processor and 8000 speakers in a fully blown surround system.
This of course was an excellent sound but something was missing and I bought the B&W 802d v2. This was a huge improvement over the 8000s and with analogue was pretty close to perfection with my Bryston sp2 processor and excellent Linn/Tom Evans etc etc set up.
Digital however was so harsh that I just couldn't cope so I sold th 802s and bought the Proac Carbon 8s at a good price. I now have Carbon 8s at the front, D28s sides (upgraded from D15s)  (and B&W old dalek style 802s as rears totally for visual effect!) and Response horizontal centre. I have a second system in my office 
Proac 3.8 fronts, the huge 3.5s as sides and my good old EBS Studios as rears
I have just bought a pair of 2.5s to compare and maybe mix around.
Coming to a point in all of this - I was so shocked (pleasantly) when I hooked up my old EBS Studios that I wondered what all the fuss was about re being up to date. They really are superb and the older type of sound really took me back to the past. Older sound, but not necessarily worse.
For an outlay of around £100 I could get a 101 and 105 and transport myself back to my youth and have a great sound too.
Regarding point maybe number 2, I believe the new B&W 802dv3 have dealt with the harsh issues and I would say that their imagery and clarity is better than the Proacs, IF indeed that harshness really is remedied.  The Carbon 8s are precise and clean and I suppose more rounded and musical, but I can get all that from the rest of my system so it is not so imperative overall as maybe the benefits the 802dsv3 can give.
Oh and lastly ...  messing around with cables and characteristics of those at a higher end makes a HUGE difference too, so you can tweak your Proacs somewhat 

I also tried a used set of ProAc Studio 125. Overall their sound was nice but the could get boomy as I can only put my speakers 12" out from my wall. I heard them bottom out on some movies as I use my 2 ch system for AV also. Plus, I thought the mids could be a little thick with a little too much color.

My current Studio 148s go deeper with more control and handle the mids and highs better with just the right amount of ProAc magic 
The only pair of ProAcs I've heard/owned are my current response D38's that I picked up second hand for a bargain. So I can't do much of a comparison but they sound great, currently passive bi-amped with a Musical Fidelity M6i and an ATI 1202, which to me sounds considerably better than just the M6i by itself. Thinking about trying a valve amp though, so would appreciate any feedback about which amps you have found bring out the best in the ProAcs. 

Cheers, Iain
I heard before the M6i with ProAc speakers and I didn't like this amp at all ,very poor match. 
Currently I drive my Proac's with McIntosh MC152 and it is an excellent combination. 
If you are looking for valve amp I think the McIntosh MC275 could be a great option.
The most "magical" system I've ever heard was the Proac 1SC paired with some very high end Naim stuff.  I can't remember exactly what we listened to I just remember how amazed I was at what was coming out of those little things.  Second, my dad owned a pair of Proac 2s for years and years.  I think they're the reason i'm into audio still today.  I have high regard for Proac.  When I have more money (not holding my breath), my kids are more careful around my speakers (not holding my breath) and I have more money (not holding my breath) Proacs will be on the short list.
(((My current speaker is the Proac Response D 40r, which is better than all the prior Proac speakers I have owned. The ribbon tweeter is absolutely great.
Best Regards,
Jim Perry )))

Jim, Agree
 Proac Response D40R and now the new D 48R is Proacs current offering can play big, and let the tonality in a way many others fall.
One listen to Dusty Springfield's The Look of Love will convince anyone this is what was meant to be.
 Another for me was The Who Live at Leeds Townsend's guitar with its awesome tonal drive distortion blend and connect with Keith Moons percussive shots delivering all of its live feel and overtones at feisty yet satisfyingly comfortable volume levels. 
  I know you are using the Zero Feedback Aesthetix Atlas which is
 a swell pairing. If ever you can do the Eclipse level
 Atlas upgrade you may find its a great place to be.
    JohnnyR 
My odyssey with Proac speakers began with a home audition of the Tablettes back in 2002. I really liked them but thought maybe a larger speaker would serve my room better so wound up ordering a pair of Response 1SCs. These turned out to be a completely different animal, but once they found their voice (this really did take all of the 100 hours Proac recommends) they became permanent members of my system for the next 12 years. I now have a pair of Response D2s which present a much more refined image and dig deeper into the bass, and will probably grace my system for the NEXT 12 years though I'm still trying to find the right synergy with amplification. I'm open to suggestions on that one, as it's been an odyssey all its own. Began with a Hegel H-200 (magnificent amplifier but a bit bright for my room/speakers), moved to an Audio Research STi200 (a separate set of problems unrelated to its sound, which is the best so far) and am now trying out a used Modwright KWI200 (just got this one so will have to give it at least a month to see if it opens up any more--so far I'm not as in love as I expected to be).
I am a diehard Proac Response devote.  My principal speakers for the last 20 years has been Response 3 until last November.  But I always coveted Response 3.5.  For the last 5 years, I have also owned a pair of 2.5 that I swapped in and out.  Much better and more expansive bass compared to their bigger, older brothers (3) but not quite the midrange clarity and effortless extension.  Coupled with an ER1 subwoofer, the 3.0s edged out the 2.5s... Of course at twice the list price, they really ought to bury them, but they don't ($6500+$2500 compared to $4500)!  I also had a CC1 center channel, recently replaced with CC2.  I have just sold the CC1, 2.5 and 3.0 when I was fortunate enough to find a pair of Response 5.0.  Sonic nirvana!!!   Subwoofer is now only used for home theater.  I prefer the older response line to the newer D's with the ribbon tweeter.  I would not agree that one is better, it is a personal preference.  I willingly substitute a bit of high end speed and extension for what sounds more natural and musical to me.  

With all of this as groundwork, I would not hesitate in recommending a pair of 2.5s for a small or medium sized listening room.  They are just magical and for the $1500 +/-... a sonic bargain!  If your room is big and your system top end, spring for 3.5, 4 or 5 (if you can find them.  Keep in mind that all 3 of these require room around the speakers and must be away from the back wall several feet.

My current system is Linn LP12, Aurender N100, Classe Sigma SSP, Classe Amp 5 with MIT analog cabling and Nordost USB.  Previously, I had a Krell KSP 7B with Audible Illusions S-120 and EAD/Wadia 12 CD.  My next purchase will be top of the line Classe monoblocks as these speakers deserve them!  Good luck in your journey.
I have only the entry level floor standing of Proac speakers the Studio 140 MKII , my amplification & cables cost 4 times more than the Proac’s and they absolutely magical ; Huge soundstage, visceral dynamics ,absolutely neutral and natural .I never found such a superb speakers anywhere else in their price level .
By the way I heard the new version Studio 148 and I am not sure that I like them some of the magic had gone maybe because of the paper cone drivers instead of the 140's carbon drivers , I don’t know...

I’ve owned the Studio 140 mk II, Response D28, and Response D38; and I’ve listened to the Response D1 and D2 at a local dealer.

The D2 is my favorite standmount speaker of any brand, and I would use the D1 in a room too small for D2. I haven’t compared the Tablette or 1SC to the D1 or D2, so I can’t comment on how they compare.

It sounds like everyone above has a good experience with the Studio 140 mk II. My experience was that treble was bit aggressive, and I preferred my move to the D28 which has an air-cooled tweeter that is the same (or very similar) to the D2 and D38. The D28 has smoother treble IMO than the Studio 140 mk II, but still somewhat sharp in my room. Oddly, I have never had the problem with too much bass (with any ProAc), which some people experience. The D28 has a warm cabinet coloration which sounds great with acoustic bass.

I eventually moved to the D38, which feels like a significant step up the ProAc ladder. It has less cabinet coloration than the D28 (which I actually miss), deeper and tighter bass, and the treble is about perfect for me. I would say the midrange stands out a bit more but not in a bad way, perhaps due to the extra mid-bass driver or due to the height of the upper mid-bass driver. The D38 doesn’t sound compressed at higher volumes, yet has excellent resolution at lower volumes. The size of the soundstage is life-sized, and more realistic than previous models that I’ve owned (image firmness and tonality are improved upon).

For anyone contemplating ProAc, one of their strengths is imaging (very spatial, almost holographic), but they can be fussy with pairing of electronics and cables. The good thing as well as the bad thing about them is that they will show the faults of everything else in your system, but I like that characteristic. Some people may feel it’s because they’re not as balanced or neutral as other brands, but I feel it’s because they are revealing and I find that a good trait. And although they may sound warm in some respects, they can also sound forward. But I've found that I prefer this quality, because they sound good at lower volumes (the D38 also plays loud just fine).

If you like ProAc, the next question is what type of amplification and speaker cables are you using? I’ve heard that they sound their best with tubes or Class A solid state, but I haven’t tried that combination yet. I’ve been using Simaudio integrated amplifiers (I-5, i5.3, 600i, 700i). While perhaps not the best combination for ProAc, I am fond of the spacious and somewhat holographic sound of Simaudio, which shares some of the same traits as ProAc, IMO.

I have to say, and I forgot to mention this in my initial post, that I absolutely agree with the love for the Response 1SC.  That is one heck of a magical speaker.  Quite possibly the best resolution I've ever heard from a loudspeaker - only eclipsed by some very high-end headphones. But the 1SC was lacking in both bass and dynamics, compared to the 2S, and the Studio 140 Mk. II are in a completely different league in terms of those characteristics.

Since it was also mentioned above, I am driving my ProAcs, and always have been, with Naim amplification.  I've also heard them with Linn amplification, which also sounded superb.  Many people say ProAcs sound their best on tube amps, but I've never personally encountered that combination.  They do a wonderful job with solid state amplification, and I read several years ago that Stewart Tyler used a Naim NAP-250 as his reference amp for testing his speaker designs.
I use SS Macintosh amp with superb results.
I agree that Proac speakers do need good and amplification and cables to perform best and that they are viscerally revealing weak parts in your system chain.
Having recently purchased the Studio 148, I find myself spending a lot less time reading forums online.  Hoping to get a chance to hear them paired with Sugden and/or First Watt later this year.
Enjoyed reading everyone's journey with ProAc.  I'll share the last part of my journey.  I had tried the ProAc C-6, but it didn't meet my expectations for a ProAc.  I then skeptically tried the K-6 thinking there wouldn't be a noticalbe difference between the two.  Was I wrong!  The K-6 was in sound a completely different speaker from the bass up.  Completely and seemlessly coherent/balanced.  Also, I have yet to hear a speaker with a footprint as small as the K-6 that goes as deep, full and controlled in the bottom end.  The seemless transition from the ribbon tweeter to dome mid was noticably better in the K-6 over the C-6.  The soundstage is so wide and deep you can drive a car into it.  Placement and set up was also easier than the C-6's.  Dialed in easily.  My dealer was great.  He advocated for a complete custom pair in Bird's Eye, gray stain, piano gloss and no bullet holes since I don't use grills.  I've had them for three years and have yet to find a better sounding speaker even ones that are over twice the price.
If I remember correctly, the ProAc's I demoed were using Asthetics Atlas.
They were mighty fine.
B
Proac Studio 148 is no longer in production I think , it's not exist at Proac website anymore. It's very sad if it's correct.