Recommendation for a modern Duntech Sovereign 2001 replacement

After o.a. the Snells (Model A/II, B Minor), Vandys (2Ce sigII), Thiels (2.2, 3.6), I settled on Dunlavy (SC I, III, IV) and Duntech (Black Knight and Sovereign 2001). These all have 1st order xo and soft dome speakers (I have had plenty of other speakers).

I listen mostly to classical, Jazz and occasionally classic Rock. Must have superb mid range.

Looking for a modern version (closed box or electrostatic) which should be smaller and, very important, offers a higher WAF (which should not be difficult).

Any recommendations?

Jazz what is your budget, how lively is the room, what components do you have?

The Duntech was a physically large speaker and so if you really want to replicate that kind of sound you will also need a physically large speaker which is going to mean spending some good money $15k to $50k and above. 

A fantastic Duntech like speaker is the Dali Epicon 8 which is stunning looking and has a very liquid midrange and still has superb highs The Dali sounds way bigger than its size add a couple of good woofers and you will be in heaven. and the speakers are amazing looking. sleek and curved cabinets. 

Tekton Ulberchets sound like Duntechs but are hardly attractive speakers  but they are a fantastic value. 

Please feel free to reach out to us, we sold Duntech for years.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ

I like the Avantgarde range - not so sure about WAF though

Another speaker that might apeal to the WAF is Gershman Acoustics GA-P or black swan.

Haver you considered Tannoy? 

All three have smooth highs, great mid's and a very tight bass but they each excell as follows...

For looks - the GA-P or Black Swan - superb finish and articulate sound

For superb Mids, Highs and image - the Avantgarde 

For really smooth voice with a more "classic" style look at Tannoy

I have listened to all three and to my ears they sounded far more articulate and lively than both the Sonus Faber Aida and the  Focal Utopia.

Regards - Steve

@ Audio Doctor
The current room (about 30x24ft and tall enough, sloping upward) is big enough but I need to factor in a smaller room when we move in 2 years.

I am not looking to have the same sound as the Sovereign 2001s, just saying I like the way they can reproduce. Hopefully improve on the speed of the bass (guess the 12" woofers show their age).

Do the Ulfberht come with a grill? They remind me of shooting range targets...never liked speakers with an array of tweeters. How does one control phase with so many drivers?

Heard a Dali monitor before, great but but not "moved" at the time. Probably the hybrid tweeter is a lot better.

Thanks Steve for the suggestions, esp the comparison with SF Aida (was on my shortlist, I had the Cremona and Concertinos in a different setup but only kept them for a very short while) and Focal Utopia. What about the Revels?

Avantgarde may not fit the WAF bill, though I appreciate a good horn (had the Klipschorns decades ago).

Gershman Acoustics looks nice (enough) , will look into them.

Tannoy, which one?


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I am not suggesting a speaker that will sound just like them but will give you a similar feeling. The Dali Epicon 8 are unbelievably musical loudspeakers.

Tone Audio did a story on them saying you don’t need to spend $50k and above on speakers when you have something that is that musical.

There is no speaker that Gershman makes that has a similar feel to the Sovereigns other than the Black Swans,.

Avante Gardes are excellent horns but if you like the smooth laid back Duntech sound the horn colorations willl drive you crazy.

Jazz if you are on the Hudson River in NY State you may want to drive down for a visit. We have some remarkable loudspeakers that will like the Legacy Aeris has a big rich room filling sound, and the Dali’s will be right up your alley. We also have the Kef Blades which are remarkable and work really well in that size room.

We are three miles outside of NYC so we should be easy to get to you


Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor 
Charles re:  Tannoy, which one?

Ceviot or Cantebury or GRF

There are other more modern models, but those would take care of your current room size and would also work in a smaller room quite nicely

Toe-in is important, but once that is set the sound is very nice. They will handle large orchestral, rock and sound really smooth when playing Diana Krall

Hope that helps

Monitor Audio and Revels should be on your list to audition, as should perhaps some electrostatics like Sanders Sound.
How about the latest Carver Ribbon Array with its own dedicated sub's? Looks impressive! That would be my choice!
Thanks all for the (continued) suggestions!

Silhouettes like the KEF Blade, SF Olympia would suit us best.
Guess I should have mentioned earlier that aesthetics is this time important. We may end up in an apartment in Manhattan.

Also, I am thinking of going back to solid state and simple setup (something like the Devialet pizzabox I have mentioned in my threads). I have a NAD amp as backup if that experiment fails.

@williewonka  " They will handle large orchestral, rock and sound really smooth when playing Diana Krall "
Exactly what I am looking for! But the aesthetics of Ceviot or GRF may be too old fashioned for my better half. Cantebury is out because of that.

My Sovereign 2001s are reserved but not sold yet as the buyer is looking for ways to get it shipped to Canada and I have the Duntech Black Knights to console me until a new breed is introduced to the herd.
The Dali Epicon 8 looks good specs wise.

Which Revel would you recommend?  I have no experience with MA.

Thanks for your tip on Carver.
I think the Revel's depend on your space. I love the MA silver and gold lines. The Gold in particular are technically among the most advanced and accurate speakers available. Whether you like them... is another story. :) I'm just super impressed by them. 
Hi joth, that is an interesting situation.

We likely have similar tastes since I too owned Vandys, Thiels, and Duntechs.  In fact I kept my Princeses 19 years, longer than any other component I've owned.  Obviously I appreciate the 1st order crossovers as well. 

Since downsizing from them I've tried a couple other systems but replacing the Duntechs is not easy.  I ended up with the Janszen zA2.1 hybrid electrostatic, now called the Valentina.  It is available in either passive (which I have) or active versions.  They offer similar overall coherency with increased resolution and HF extension.  The bass does not have the extension of the Princess so it certainly wouldn't match your Sovereigns, but it is surprising for their size.  The powered version is said to have better bass extension but I've not auditioned them.  I believe they have higher WAF than the Duntechs.

Another obvious consideration would be a current Vandersteen model, from the Quatro to the 7, depending on your preference and budget.

Anyway, good luck with your choice.

PS - I'm a big jazz fan too.  
Pryso, we dalied with Jantzen for a while, we had the ZA 2.1 and they were great, however, they miss the scale of a much larger speaker, they were superb in terms of coherence, they were also a tad polite in the upper treble, they would not be my first choice for a big room, they are awesome speakers and are quite magical in many ways and we agree they look smashing if you like their retro 50's kind of styling. 

A Vandy Quattro is also way too small sounding, a Vandy 5 would be much closer, but still the added height of the Duntech means that you should look for a similarly large footprint speaker, taller in size.

if you are looking for a stunning looking speaker the KEF Blades look amazing and are way more transparent then the Duntechs, They also throw a huge soundstage, they also have way deeper and tighter bass.

A well setup pair of blades are awesome, we ran a set of Blades at the 2012 and 2013 New York Audio show and compared our setup vs a $107K pair of YG Sonja, and the KEF Blades were easilly just as good. 

The Legay Aeris are quite amazing, and will beat the Duntech's in every way, and as an added bonus come with a room correction processor, preamp and dac, so if the rest of your gear is older you would be gaining in essence a new preamp and dac all you would need to do would be to add your amplifier. 

One major advantage of the Aeris is the room correction feature which can work wonders if you are moving to a NYC apartment and have a less then ideal room. 

As mentioned before we are  probably  1-2 hours away from you and we have a number of speakers that would work including the Kef Blade, the Legacy Aeris and the Blade on active display. 

Contact ABF Freight they do most of our shipping and they are excellent.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ

We can also mention we were a Devialet dealer, and the form factor was amazing, the sound was a bit too mechanical for our tastes.

Today there are a number of uber integrated ampifiers that beat most high end separates, we highly recommend the T+A HV 3100 and there are a few other uber integrated amplifiers. 

The HV 3100 is a 300 watt integrated amp, based on $36,000.00 worth of separate components in one elegant box, for $23k they currently have a junior version for $18k which is very similar but not quite as good.

Here they compare the T+A to a $45k D'agastino integrated  and find the T+A to be its equil 

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
I also loved the Duntech sound (had Princesses for many years, the Sovereigns were too big for my room).  For the big sound that you are used to you could try the Maggie 20 series or the Dynaudio Evidence line of speakers (I liked the Temptations a lot, would have considered them as Princess replacements had I been able to afford them), though obviously the size of your new place will present some restrictions.  The Vandy 7s and 5s might also be up your alley (the 7s might be the best I've heard recently, and their powered bass makes them comparatively easy to work in a room).  I would suggest visiting both Audio Doctor to hear the models they mention (I especially like the Blades) and Audio Connection in Verona, NJ to hear the Vandersteen 7s (not sure if John still has the big Maggies set up)--both of those dealers have excellent setups that will give you a good idea of what the speakers can do.
joth, I'm not selling any of the recommendations I offered.

I consider my room to be of medium size (20 x17 x 11) and I have no issues with image size from the Janszens.

I agree with rcprince on the Maggie 20s, a wonderful speaker when set up properly.  I didn't include those due to size and placement requirements, not much WAF. ;^)
Thanks for your recommendations which I will look into. I have come across your comments in many other threads so I have a high regard for you.

Thanks for your recommendations. I almost bought the 5A (liked the sound very much) but I got a local deal on the Duntech Sovereign. The Kef Blade looks very nice indeed. I have fond memories of the 104/2 and 107s

Re Maggies: had the 1.6Q in another set up for a while (great for the price but not wow compared to the Black Knights) and am sure the bigger 20 is a completely different animal but Pryso is right about the perception of WAF.

My current buyer of the Sovereigns is based overseas, it is a pain in the neck to get them shipped, finding an economical way to have them shipped door to door (they are too heavy for me to haul them to a port and pack them in commercial shipping boxes that goes into a container. Any help greatly appreciated!). 

This prods me to set my new requirement to modern looking floorstanders under lbs 180 each and the pair must both fit into a standard SUV.

I know where you guys are, please be patient. I still have my current "old" gear for a while.
FYI just gathering ideas here, will start listening to candidates late summer.
As for shipping the Sovereigns, Audiotroy mentioned ABF Airfreight, you might try them; I believe that a friend of mine also uses them when he sells overseas.  As an aside, when I sold my Princesses, I didn't have boxes, so the buyer drove up from North Carolina with a friend who was delivering a boat to Long Island on a 50 foot flatbed, and we wrapped up the Princesses and put them on that for the return trip from my place in NJ.  Don't think that will work over an ocean, though.  :>( 
joth, I bought my Princess new and they were airfreighted to the US and delivered to my door.  But that was in three factory boxes strapped to a pallet.

I see only two alternatives for your situation.  One, contact a commercial shipping business to have them pack and arrange the transport.  Two, if you believe you can pack them adequately yourself and have access to the materials, contact Duntech to see who they utilize for world-wide shipping.

Good luck, hope you can find a good solution.

PS - Don't know your age but I believe it is reasonable to own speakers and amps we are still able to handle.  The Janszens being half the size of the Princess had this point in their favor.  Also, I would take exception to the Janszens being a "retro 50's kind of styling".  To me that means a wide rectangular box.  I find the Janszens with their sculpted front baffle to be quite contemporary, and they don't dominate the room (unless maybe you choose a red painted version!).  ;^)
Pryso we had the Jantzen and they do look retro 50’s with a rectangular panel in the middle with two circles on top and bottom remind people of an Emmes design especially in the wooden finish.

I would also say if someone is looking at keeping a pair of speakers for as long as this gentleman has owned his loudspeakers, he would probably want an even better speaker than the Jantzen, they are a great speaker at the price point but there are a ton of other speakers which are a bit more expensive which will better them in many ways, however, we are big fans of the Jantzen they are very, very good spakers, David Jantzen is a very nice and talented man, and the ZA 2.1 were very musical speakers with a ton of bass in a very compact design.

On our floor the Legacy’s which use an exotic Heil Super tweeter/tweeter and graphite and silk woven midrange, coupled with 2 long throw 10 woofers, sounded bigger and fuller with a bit more upper top end extension and overall for $7k were the hotter ticket, and the Paradigm Persona 3F which are just amazingly holographic loudspeakers with a more extended treble with pure Beryilium tweeters and midrange drivers, offered   a more detailed, faster presentation for $10k were also the hotter property.

As per shipping the gentleman has a few options, hire a local high end audio/custom installation dealer who may have a suitable crew, that can cut and measure carefully and cut and design with wood or find a good handyman or carpenter that does piece work that may want to tackle a day long project and has the man power to move giant heavy boxes easily.

We did this for a client with Wilson X1 the process was simple you wrap the speaker with shrink wrap. With any exposed tweeters you cover them first with pieces of thick cardboard or dense foam, then cut thick foam pink sheets from Home Depot to the size of the speaker and close up the pink sheeting with duck tape and then build a form wooden box to size, paying particular attention to the thikness of the pink sheeting which needs to be 1-2inches and then you use short think screws sunk into 1 by 4 which you put in the corners, shoot the side screws into the 1 by 4 and side by side viola custom crate.

A set of large custom crates with packing matrials will cost $500 plus for pink sheeting, plywood, screws, 1 by 4, and duck tape and labor depending on where you are and local labor rates should add another $500-750 so building custom crates can be expensive, but if you have crated the speakers well a trucking company can pick them up and they will be on their way.

I can totally agree with the wisom of your comments about reasonable size and weight, that concept of practicality can be an elusive quality when it comes to high end audio. I would say with some of the newer loudspeakers technologies you can get stunning sound with a lot less weight. 

Sorry if we were seeming over eager, sometimes people don’t get how close we are to New York state, if we can assist you in any way please let us know.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ

Thanks gents for the tips on packaging, I was also gearing towards the use of pink sheets and spraying insulation foam before closing the crate to ensure things don't rattle doing the long journey across the globe.
If the grand total shipping costs become cost prohibitive for the buyer, I will probably relist my Sovereigns again.

As for my final shortlist - and I have just started - it will be one where aesthetics, overall sound quality, transportability/handling (we will move in the future) and with a small weighting, ease of resale play a role.

E.g. my wife can live with the B&W 805 D3 and REL combo a friend has,  but I am fighting to keep the form factor to floorstanders.

Since your in the NYC area you might want to reach out to Carl at Nola in Brooklyn and see if you can visit the factory and look at the speakers from the KO Series 2 on up.  There should also be dealers in the immediate area.  Also the Devore Gibbon X also built in Brooklyn.  Both lines are attractive, reasonable weights and fairly easy amplifier loads.
joth, I would say any reference/comparison to Eames designs is a high complement.  Several of those remain in continual demand  because they are considered classics.  

I took audiotroy's "retro 50s" comment to reference speakers since that is the topic of this discussion. 

Regardless, esthetics are so personal that each of us must judge for ourselves.
Well it seems you have an affinity for 6 dB filters, at least go hear the Quattro CT - Vandersteen has been working that design principle for 37 years....
enjoy your search :-)

Thanks all for great suggestions!


I sent you a PM re Reference 3A Grand Veena

The Quattro CT "looks" indeed like a good candidate and the reviews are great.

Also worth a look is Verity Audio including the new Otello introduced at Axpona. 
“Must have superb midrange” and you are thinking to go SS and you seem to like soft dome and jazz and classic speakers - you definitely owe it to yourself to audition ATC actives - the versions with 3” super dome (50 and up).


Good point. The Duntech are quite a load (7 transducers) and as such can be dynamically constrained by the power amp.
shadorne, I'm not an engineer but I don't believe the number of transducers is the major factor in determining the necessary amp power. If that was the case then the Infinity IRS would have required something like a welding machine to drive them. ;^)

As mentioned, I owned Duntech Princess speakers for many years.  They were rated at 90 dB (with 5 transducers) but I didn't believe that.  I expect ratings can be based upon individual driver specifications, but in this case the first-order crossover was very complex.  So I believe that reduced the efficiency of the speaker overall.  In spite of the 90 dB rating John Dunlavy recommended at least 200 wpc for "optimum performance".  I tried many amps over the years, tube and SS, beginning at 100 wpc.  What I found to sound best (musical and effortless) was a pair of Parasound JC-1s rated at 800 wpc into their 4 ohm rating.

Something that may confuse the issue is that many owners of DAL speakers reported satisfaction with more modest amps.  But as far as I know the DAL line up utilized different drivers than the Duntechs.  Bottom line, I agree with shadorne that Duntechs can be constrained by amp choice but I don't believe it is because of the number of drivers.

@audiotroy have you ever heard big Duntechs or the Tekton Ulfberts?  I've owned the Moab and I can definitely say they don't touch my Duntech Crown Princes or Black Knights.  I highly doubt the Ulfbert is much different given the MUCH more attention to engineering detail that goes into a Duntech/Dunlavy speaker.




Hello. I was reading this thread from before I became a member and was curious as to which speaker you ended up choosing.